Skip navigation

Rosalind E. Krauss

Rosalind E. Krauss, University Professor at Columbia University and an editor and cofounder of October magazine, is the author of The Originality of the Avant-Garde and Other Modernist Myths (1985), The Optical Unconscious (1993), The Picasso Papers (1999), and Bachelors (1999), all published by the MIT Press, and coauthor (with Yve-Alain Bois) of Formless: A User’s Guide (Zone Books, 1997).

Titles by This Author

In Under Blue Cup, Rosalind Krauss explores the relation of aesthetic mediums to memory—her own memory having been severely tested by a ruptured aneurysm that temporarily washed away much of her short-term memory. (The title, Under Blue Cup, comes from the legend on a flash card she used as a mnemonic tool during cognitive therapy.) Krauss emphasizes the medium as a form of remembering; contemporary artists in what she terms the “post-medium” condition reject that scaffolding.

The job of an art critic is to take perpetual inventory, constantly revising her ideas about the direction of contemporary art and the significance of the work she writes about. In these essays, which span three decades of assessment and reassessment, Rosalind Krauss considers what she has come to call the “post-medium condition”—the abandonment by contemporary art of the modernist emphasis on the medium as the source of artistic significance.

The Optical Unconscious is a pointed protest against the official story of modernism and against the critical tradition that attempted to define modern art according to certain sacred commandments and self-fulfilling truths. The account of modernism presented here challenges the vaunted principle of "vision itself." And it is a very different story than we have ever read, not only because its insurgent plot and characters rise from below the calm surface of the known and law-like field of modernist painting, but because the voice is unlike anything we have heard before.

Co-founder and co-editor of October magazine, a veteran of Artforum of the 1960s and early 1970s, Rosalind Krauss has presided over and shared in the major formulation of the theory of postmodernism.

Studies major works by important sculptors since Rodin in the light of different approaches to general sculptural issues to reveal the logical progressions from nineteenth-century figurative works to the conceptual work of the present.

Titles by This Editor

The Second Decade, 1986-1996

October: The Second Decade collects examples of the innovative critical and theoretical work for which the journal October is known. A journal anthology draws a collective portrait; together, the gathered texts demonstrate the journal's ambitions and strengths. From the outset, October's aim has been to consider a range of cultural practices and to assess their place at a particular historical juncture. That task has now taken on an intensified urgency.