Category Archives: Theory

Higgie on the Faceless Woman

“She turns her back on you; this, it would seem, is her appeal. She’s been painted like this for centuries, and, more recently, photographed. Often she is naked, in a bathroom or bedroom, solitary, sleeping or day-dreaming, or at a… Continue reading

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Burton on Sherman

“In her earliest series, including “Untitled Film Still,” Sherman made repeated reference to abstract codes of representation, underscoring the ways in which identity is produced and conveyed within culture. Audiences would, for example, seem to “know” every scene and every… Continue reading

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Butler on Bodies and Power

“There appears to be a law of truth, part of the workings of the regime of knowledge, which imposes a truth upon a subject for whom there is no choice but to recognize this law of truth. But why is… Continue reading

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Jacoby on Narcissism

“What lurks behind the critique of narcissism is the authority of the “classic” bourgeois family; this family and the authoritarian family diverge in their social composition. It does not seem fortuitous that Marx’s example is drawn from the “lower mercantile… Continue reading

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One off: Jeff Wall.

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Stallabrass on Dijkstra

“This constitutes the terrible plausibility of these images, and part of the basis for their success: they do describe and also enact a world in which people are socially atomized, politically weak, and are governed by their place in the… Continue reading

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Žižek on Multiculturalism

“In the election campaigns of Jesse Helms, the racist and sexist message is not publicly acknowledged—at the public level, it is sometimes even violently disavowed—but is instead articulated in a series of double-entendres and coded allusions. This kind of self-censorship… Continue reading

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Wallis on Race and Typological Photography

“By supplying an overabundance of information, photography confuses and problematizes its message; it creates what author Roland Barthes calls a “reality effect,” a semblance of realism bound to detail. In nineteenth-century parlance, two technical words gained a certain currency to describe how “reality”was construed: the word daguerreotype was distinguished from the word stereotype. Stereotypes were originally molds for creating multiple copies of printing type; the word, therefore, came to connote generalized replication. The daguerreotype, on the… Continue reading

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Foster on the Primitive

“Historically, the primitive is articulated by the west in deprivative or supplemental terms: as a spectacle of savagery or as a state of grace, as a socius without writing or the Word, history or cultural complexity or as a site… Continue reading

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Enwezor on Africanism

“My curiosity about the origins and literary uses of this carefully observed, and carefully invented, Africanist presence has become an informal study of what I call American Africanism. It is an investigation into the ways in which non-white, African-like (or… Continue reading

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