1The Story of Art according to Jeff Wall


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1The Story of Art according to Jeff Wall

If Jeff Wall did not exist, he would have to be invented. No artist can match him when it comes to unifying the various factions of the art world, but although an astonishingly varied group of fellow artists and critics agrees that Wall has produced to one of the most crucial oeuvres of the last twenty-five years, his texts and interviews betray a continual need for self-legitimization – notably in historical terms. Unlike the writings of Dan Graham or Robert Smithson, Wall’s tend to have a rather conventional art-historical character. Smithson’s and Graham’s texts are an integral part of their work and sabotage discursiveness by luring the reader into a Borgesian labyrinth of language, as Wall himself once remarked.[1] At first sight, Wall’s essays appear to function in a more autonomous way – as essays in art history, written by an author who also happens to be an artist. Yet Wall’s artistic work always looms large in the background: since the latter half of the nineties, there is not one text in which he does not try place his own work securely in art history. Like his photographic work, Wall’s discourse is not static but subject to revisions: in recent years the way Wall uses his texts to situate his work in art history has become increasingly reductionist, and there are also signs of this development in authors who form part of what Tom Holert has called the ‘discourse society’ around Wall. [2] This is not to say that that these critics merely act as megaphones for the master’s voice, but they do tend to react to hints from the artist himself on how to interpret and contextualize his work – and this work, like his discourse, is becoming more traditionalist.

Dan Graham and Manet

Crucial to the art-historical legitimization of Wall’s practice is the art of the neo-avant-garde of around 1970, for which such critics as Benjamin Buchloh have made historical claims that could prove detrimental to Wall. In relation to such work, one could see Wall’s oeuvre as a step backwards, and Buchloh is accordingly dismissive of ‘a certain light-box photo-conceptualism’ which has succumbed to the ‘powers of spectacle culture to permeate all conventions of perception and communication’.[3] The work of Dan Graham, one of the crucial artists of the neo-avantgarde, forms a small discursive battlefield for Buchloh and Wall; it is crucial to both of them, yet their interpretations of it are poles apart. Buchloh sees Graham’s photo/text piece Homes for America (1966/1967) as a radical critique of Minimal art: by discovering the forms of Minimalism in recent housing and thus anchoring them in social reality, Graham challenges the neglect of the social dimension in the Minimalist discourse. In the eighties, Wall’s interest in Graham still led to complex deliberations on Conceptual art, although his emphasis on the failure of Conceptualism already evinced an inclination to treat it as a closed book. More recently, Wall’s focus has shifted to the role of photography and to Graham’s dialogue with Walker Evans in Homes for America. This presents Wall with an opportunity to situate himself in an art-historical (and photographic) tradition.[4]

In his 1995 essay ‘ “Marks of Indifference”: Aspects of Photography in, or as, Conceptual Art’, Wall examines how such Conceptual artists as Graham, Ed Ruscha and Robert Smithson embraced photography because an unsophisticated, amateurish use of the medium enabled them to make work that looked like non-art.[5] While Graham’s photos can be related to those of Evans in their subject matter and composition, it is clear that Graham is technically not a ‘good photographer’ according to the criteria developed by the photography scene over the decades. ‘If I really thought about photography as photography, or about photography as art pure and simple, I had to admit that Evans, Atget, and Strand were better than Smithson or Ruscha’, Wall wrote in a recent reflection on his artistic development during the seventies.[6] Yet it was the work of Graham and his colleagues that made photography into a valid medium for the artist, precisely because of their unprofessional, de-skilled approach.

Photography had been pursuing artistic status for many decades, sometimes by imitating painting (Pictorialism) and sometimes by developing its own aesthetic (Walker Evans, August Sander), but it had failed to become part of modern art, which by and large was still largely defined by painting and sculpture. In a nice dialectical twist, photography was only really admitted into the art world when Conceptual artists discovered photography as a non-aesthetic, documentary medium. According to Wall, photography disturbed the ‘purity’ of Conceptualism: ‘By dragging its heavy burden of depiction, photography could not follow pure, or linguistic, Conceptualism all the way to the frontier. It cannot provide the experience of the negation of experience, but must continue to provide the experience of depiction, of the Picture.’[7] This is the crucial point for the legitimization of Wall’s work: the traditional picture is back, although in photographic form. It was the historical role of Conceptual art to effect his return, both for Wall himself and in general. ‘In this light, it could be said that it was photography’s role and task to turn away from Conceptual art, away from its reductivism and its aggressions. Photo-conceptualism was then the last moment of the prehistory of photography as art, the end of the Ancien Régime, the most sustained and sophisticated attempt to free the medium from its peculiar distanced relationship with artistic radicalism and from its ties to the Western Picture. In its failure to do so, it revolutionized our concept of the Picture and created the conditions for the restoration of that concept as a central category of contemporary art by around 1974.’[8] In effect Wall thus reduces the importance of photography in the art of the early seventies to the fact that it made his own work possible. Prehistory is over: enter Jeff Wall.

It can indeed be argued that Conceptual art effectuated a dialectical turn – partly due to Wall himself – and restored the picture to a central place in art. However, there is a highly tendentious streak in Wall’s brilliant analysis of this development: he disregards or disparages the features of Conceptual photography that do not accord with the later work it made possible, especially his own. It is, he argues, the failure of Conceptualism’s attempt to liberate photography from its ties to the traditional Western picture that reinstated the picture in a new guise. Conceptual photography reintegrated the picture into art, but still tried to problematize it. It was not until this avant-gardist troublemaking had subsided that the classic Western picture in its photographic guise could start its triumphal march into an art world that had finally abandoned the critique of representation. The work of Graham and his generation is reduced to a moment, a turning point which has to be passed as quickly as possible.

Nonetheless Wall is unwilling to forgo avant-garde legitimization completely; his work must not appear simply as a retrogression. Thus he distances himself from the neo-avant-garde by invoking a different avant-garde, one that had not yet abandoned traditional media and modes of representation: late nineteenth-century painting. Manet’s work in particular is routinely mentioned as a model both by Wall and his exegetes, although in recent years Wall has downplayed this aspect.[9] In a recent catalogue essay, Peter Bürger, whose conception of the neo-avant-garde has only become more simplistic since his 1974 Theorie der Avantgarde, presented Wall’s The Storyteller of 1986 as the manifesto of an alternative form of contemporary art, one which criticizes the classic picture from within but leaves it substantially intact. The Storyteller is a work which, with its down-and-outs between a road and the edge of a wood, looks like a dystopian remake of Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe – as does the more recent Tattoos and Shadows (2000), with its two tattooed white youths and an Asian girl sitting in a not particularly well-maintained garden. For Bürger, such works represent a rappel à l’ordre, and a ‘return to painterly tradition’ constitutes an alternative’ to the neo-avant-garde. [10] Wall himself would not pose this alternative in such a blunt manner, but he too thinks increasingly in terms of a tradition to be perpetuated, and so in terms of continuity rather than rifts and repetitions. Art is placed at the service of a historic narrative, instead of being conceived of as an intervention that makes a difference – however small – in history.

Photography and the avant-garde

Wall increasingly presents photographers such as Walker Evans and Robert Frank as heirs to peinture de la vie moderne, and in his 2003 Artforum essay ‘Frames of Reference’ he classifies Dan Graham with Evans – despite the unpolished character of Graham’s photography – among the artists who are concerned with the ‘serious aesthetic problems’ of photography. Wall thus places Graham in the tradition of ‘serious’ photography rather than within the context of late-sixties Conceptual art. But his approach to the history of photography is also influenced by interests he shares with many Conceptual artists, especially the film d’auteur of the sixties and seventies, and Barthes’ essay on film stills: ‘That helped me focus on the fact that the techniques we normally identify with film are in fact just photographic techniques and are therefore at least theoretically available to any photographer.’[11] Accordingly, Wall developed a form of photography which parallels the work of European filmmakers of the sixties and seventies in that it combines staged and documentary material. However, the result was intended to be a more or less conventional photo, in which the image is a work in its own right. Wall disapproves of artists who integrate photography into installations and multimedia works: ‘Unfortunately, this blending of photography with other things, like painting, printmaking, or three-dimensional art forms, almost immediately led to the unconvincing hybrids that are so sadly characteristic of art since then. An equally strong argument could hence be made that escaping the confines of “photography” was a road to ruin because there were no valid criteria in the intermedia world, nor could there be any.’[12] As problematical as this may be, the bureaucratic restriction of legitimate artistic activity to a medium-specific practice is no less so; in this respect, Wall is close to Rosalind Krauss and her neo-modernism of recent years, even if he is not one of ‘her’ artists.

A more direct relation exists with another 1960s ‘Greenberger’: Michael Fried, who has honoured Wall by writing an article about his work, which Fried of course situates in relation to the struggle between ‘theatricality’ and ‘anti-theatricality’.[13] Wall is full of praise for Fried’s ‘Art and Objecthood’ (1967), the ‘great essay’ in which Fried criticized the theatricality of Minimal art, its emphasis on the physical presence of the work of art and the viewer. [14] For Wall, the important point was that Fried argued in favour of an illusionism cognate to the ‘opticality’ which according to Greenberg prevented modernist paintings from turning into an ‘arbitrary object’: ‘Fried understood “illusionism” to mean not traditional perspectival illusion but its subsequent form as the “optical” qualities of what he thought to be the best abstract painting of his time. I understood opticality to refer to both abstract painting as Fried intended as well as traditional pictorial illusionism and, as part of that, the optical character of photographs. I was fascinated to watch Fried abruptly shift his focus at the end of the ’60s from abstract art to nineteenth-century pictorial art. I intuited that there was an important affinity between his interests and mine.’ [15] Wall defends painting and its inherent illusionism because it represents a tradition to which he wishes to adhere. In the twentieth century, this tradition was continued on the one hand by painters who rejected representation but still used painterly means to suggest space, and on the other hand by photographers like Walker Evans, which whom Wall feels connected in art-history terms through Graham.

Wall’s black-and-white photos of the nineties show his increasing tendency to position his work within the history of photography, while phasing out the references to painting. However, Wall perceives the photography to which he refers as being rooted in turn in the tradition of great painting. The relation between modernist painting and photo-journalism, and their interaction in the work of artists of the sixties, is the main theme of Wall’s essay ‘Monochrome and Photojournalism in On Kawara’s Today Paintings’. Here, Wall traces how sixties artists such as On Kawara, Warhol and Gerhard Richter established links between classic black-and-white photography and modernist painting. In the work of these artists, Manet’s peinture de la vie moderne as the modern successor to history painting resurfaces in the context of modernist painting and photographic techniques. [16] Like Warhol and Richter, Wall combines the physical size of the Western canvas with images derived from or referring to photojournalism. Richter’s blurred, grey photo-based paintings are reflections on the impossibility of creating a compelling, hierarchic-organic composition comparable to those of painting from the Renaissance to the nineteenth century; by contrast, Wall wants to make this tradition seem effortlessly present, thus ennobling his pictures. While it is a quality of his work that it shows how suffused photography is by pre-existing images, an appeal to ‘the Western tradition’ undermines the dialectical relationship of Wall’s works with these images.

When Wall refers to the Western tradition and its sense of scale, he sounds like a museum trustee deflecting awkward questions by invoking eternal values: ‘I extracted two things, primarily, from the Western pictorial tradition up through the nineteenth century: a love of pictures, which I believe is at the same time a love of nature and of existence itself, and an idea of the size and scale proper to pictorial art, and so proper to the ethical feeling for the world expressed in pictorial art.’[17] Despite his admiration of Fried, Wall is generous when it comes to Minimalism: a work by Carl Andre is similar in scale to Las Meniñas, which inspires him to a rather bizarre fantasy in which he is standing on an Andre while looking at Las Meniñas.[18] Decontextualization could hardly be more extreme; the two works are reduced to props that are required only to suggest a historical continuity to which Wall can declare allegiance. In any case, Wall’s tolerance for Minimal art has its limits: its raison d’être is to help Wall conquer the scale of Great Art.

While Wall is able to annex sixties painting and even Minimal art as a precursor to his own work, he has difficulty with most neo-avant-garde art of the late sixties and the seventies. It is striking how, in the unpretentious Artforum article, the one-sided but ambitious argumentation of a text such as ‘Marks of Indifference’ makes way for complaints about the restrictions imposed by deluded ideologists: ‘I had always studied the masters and respected the art of the past. I had a bit of a hard time during the ’60s because I needed to work in and through a situation that simply assumed the art of the past was “obsolete” (to use the Leninist terminology of the time) and that the only serious possibilities lay in reinventing the avant-garde project of going beyond “bourgeois art”.’[19] What is suppressed in this account is that the rediscovery of avant-garde ideas and procedures from the 1920s and 1930s turned even the most rigid pronouncements about the proper course for art into a repetition – a thoroughly non-linear act of avant-gardism. When revolutionary pathos prevented an analysis of the differences between 1927 and 1967 such repetitions ended up being little more than radical retro chic; however, the significant artists of the neo-avant-garde of the late sixties developed a compelling dialectic between past and present. In denying this, Wall veers dangerously close to Peter Bürger’s simplistic view: ‘The avant-gardes transferred the idea of revolution onto art. Their principle is defined as the rupture, a total rupture with that which has hitherto existed.’ [20]

In his essay on Wall, Bürger takes a swipe at the over-canonization of neo-avant-gardists such as Buren by such critics as Benjamin Buchloh and Hal Foster: ‘Critics like Buchloh refuse to realize that the major societal change which the historical avant-gardes thought and acted in did not happen and that this is why the institutional critique of the neo-avantgarde has inevitably been narrowed down to a critique of the art world which it depends on at the same time.’ [21] Yet this is precisely what Buchloh, like Hal Foster, discusses in depth: he interprets the reflection on the artistic context in the work of artists like Asher, Graham, Buren and Broodthaers as a reappraisal of earlier avant-gardes in the light of a situation in which art is becoming ever more firmly integrated art into the culture industry. If Wall really wishes to avoid thinking in terms of complete rifts, he should engage in a dialogue with artists whose critical reflection on the art world has a strong historical component. Examples that spring to mind are Broodthaers and his allegorical play with the debris of the nineteenth century; Smithson and his dialogue with the picturesque; and Buren, who did indeed proclaim a revolutionary breach with the past in the late sixties, but who over the years has come to reflect explicitly on the classicist component of his work and on the role of the decorative in modern art. But a real confrontation with such art might expose the one-sided traits of Wall’s project, which relies more and more on a claim to continue the tradition of Great Art. This is why Wall either instrumentalizes neo-avant-garde artists as forerunners of a later rappel à l’ordre, or rejects their work as an aberration. Buren receives the latter treatment. There is no dialectical ruse by which Buren can be made to do Wall’s dirty work, as in the case of Graham, and therefore Wall dismisses Buren as a mere decorator: ‘All one paints is stripes, always spaced by the same distance, and always in a few selected colours. You could decorate the whole world that way – the railway station, a hill, a museum... Isn’t that an incredible restriction of what art can do? Is that where the future of art really lies?’[22]

The point that Buren reflects with visual intelligence on the contexts in which he exhibits and – through his invariably dazzling use of materials such as mirror glass – also reacts to the integration of art into the spectacle, seems to be lost on Wall. This may be attributable to his own collaboration with the culture of spectacle; aren’t his photos, mounted as they are in light-boxes, perfect pictorial commodities in limited editions of three? With their sophisticated composition and cool lighting, do they not present faultless testimony to the ‘powers of spectacle culture to permeate all conventions of perception and communication’? After all, their finish is as perfect as advertising photos and Hollywood productions, even if they try to look more like old masters. However, this is not the problematic aspect of Wall’s. Art should not try to deny its implication in spectacle, and Wall’s best works acknowledge this implication by completely subjecting themselves to the ‘conventions of perception and communication’ shaped by the culture industry. Much more questionable is another aspect, which Buchloh has criticized as well: Wall’s works exist in editions of three, which is an artificial limitation – a common one in the contemporary art world – that turns the work into an exclusive commodity, a luxury good which lays claim to attention and respect merely on the grounds of rarity. The strategy of scarcity accords with Wall’s aspiration to position his work as an heir to the great art of the past: after all, great art is unique. In the process, Wall has less and less eye for the culture within which he functions. In recent years, he has downplayed the commercial connotations of his light boxes, which he now presents as an irrelevant side issue.[23] While Buchloh condemns Wall because his work is integrated in the spectacle, Wall himself now appears to deny this state of affairs. The consequences of this attitude are beginning to become apparent in the work itself.

Pictures: Appropriating Wall

As Wall’s critical dialogue with tradition is gradually turning into a ‘return to tradition’, Peter Bürger focuses on the increasingly prominent conservative traits of his work. However, it is still possible to situate Wall in a different context, one whose importance Bürger and Wall both minimize: that of the neo-avant-garde and its resonance in the Appropriation art of the late seventies and early eighties. It is illuminating, for example, to regard Wall’s 1992 work Dead Troops Talk (A Vision After an Ambush of a Red Army Patrol Near Moqor, Afghanistan, Winter 1986), a hysterical grande machine which explodes aestheticizing war photography, as an appropriation of such photography, while the histrionic outburst of an employee in an Asian sweatshop (Outburst, 1989) recalls Oriental martial arts films – although the man’s abrupt gesture is here no doubt a response to poor labour conditions or excessive pressure of work. It is remarkable how systematically Wall avoids saying anything about the artistic practices and theories which, in the period of his first light-box works, also undertook a critical reconsideration of representation: Appropriation art and its critical and theoretical accompaniment. While this art and its discourse are not in all respects compatible with Wall’s practice, there are intriguing parallels: the fact that Douglas Crimp discusses Cindy Sherman’s photos in 1979 in terms of Barthes’ film still essay ‘The Third Meaning’, which also played an important part for Wall, is one indication of shared preoccupations in the same historical situation.[24]

Critics like Crimp and Owens presented the Appropriation artists as heirs to such figures as Broodthaers, Haacke and Graham and their critique of representation. In the view of these critics the neo-avant-garde was more than an unintentional prologue to the restoration of the great art of the past, and despite being in a certain sense a product of its time it contributed significant pointers for ways to deal with the image in an industrial image culture that perverts the visual. Appropriation art acknowledged the promiscuity and omnipresence of the medium of photography, even when it did not adopt images directly but perpetrated free variations on them, as Cindy Sherman did in her Untitled Film Stills – which are closely related to Wall’s work in this respect. Like Sherman, Wall appropriates not specific images but the conventions of certain photo and film genres, such as war photography or horror films (The Vampires’ Picnic, 1991). One could also view his use of painterly genres like landscape and his references to Manet, Courbet, Caravaggio and Hokusai as a form of appropriation, comparable to the rephotographed classics of Sherrie Levine – in as far as the references to historical art do not serve solely to increase the work’s prestige and aura. Particularly during the eighties and early nineties, Wall often staged a productive clash between traditional compositional ingredients and image fragments that conflicted with them. However, by placing himself ever more exclusively in a tradition of Great Art – a tradition in which twentieth-century photography has clearly become a more prominent component than it was in the eighties – he has allowed that historical friction to slip quietly into the background, to be replaced by a contemplative traditionalism.

Wall’s black-and-white works of recent years are not so much appropriations of classic twentieth-century photography as attempts to co-opt this photography as part of a tradition in which wall can inscribe himself – meanwhile, Wall enlarges the photos to ‘art historical’ proportions, so that they might be fittingly contemplated by a spectator standing on a Carl Andre. This has yielded the occasional successful work, such as Housekeeping (1998): the work shows a hotel room from which someone (apparently a chambermaid) is just leaving, while a reproduction of a carpet above the bed and another reproduction which appears to consisting of a white rectangle in a frame create little labyrinths and traps for the gaze. On the other hand, works like Volunteer and Citizen (both 1995) or Office Hallway, Spring St., Los Angeles (1997) come close to being Sozialkitsch, while Forest (2001) seems like an attempt to superimpose art-historical nobility on B-movie thrills. In this picture, someone is making off through the woods, walking away from a clearing in which a fire is burning. The photo has a high filmic quota and recalls a horror film like The Blair Witch Project with its generic suspense. Here, and in quite a few other recent works by Jeff Wall, the creation of ambiguity has become a rather mechanical affair. It is no coincidence that these are all black-and-white photographs; with their electrical light and multiplicity of detail, the colour-transparencies are more resistant to Walls growing traditionalism. Despite his symptomatic inclination to play down the advertising connotations of the light boxes in recent years, the bright artificial lighting still resists anything beyond partial art-historical assimilation.

Yet things also go wrong with some of the colour photos: Morning Cleaning, Mies van der Rohe Foundation, Barcelona (1999) is a genre scene blown up to monumental proportions which brings to mind some of the more conservative tendencies in nineteenth-century art. It is as though Wall has distilled a ‘humanist’ approach to the common man from classic modern photography, which has grown increasingly important to him as a continuation of classic painting. When, in The Storyteller, Wall substituted the bohemians and demi-mondaines of Manet’s Déjeuner with North American pariahs, the work could still be regarded as a second update on top of Manet’s modernization of the classic fête champêtre, even though Wall’s composition is more anecdotal. The cluster of figures with the energetically gesturing woman to the left of the picture, and the staring man on the right, give it a rhetorical eloquence that is absent from Manet’s painting. It can be effective when Wall pushes this characteristic to the extreme, as in Dead Troops Talk or, in a different register, Outburst or Man with Rifle (2000) in which a man in the street ‘shoots’ with an invisible weapon. Here the visibility and legibility of media images is disrupted by symptoms that cannot be interpreted directly or unambiguously. The slightly disturbing idyll of Tattoos and Shadows, with its silent figures and their imponderable social relations, is also a successful piece; it is not the reticence or exuberance of postures and gestures that matters here, but the extent to which a work by Wall resorts to an academic repertoire of gestures, postures and situations which Manet had already abandoned. Although some good work is still emerging, Wall’s art seems to be pulling more and more to the centre, to the juste milieu. Photos like Morning Cleaning are more reminiscent of Meissonier than of Manet. The sentimental naturalization of the past as ‘tradition’ is gaining the upper hand over a conception of the past as an anachronistic challenge to the present – as a small eruption of difference in the spectacle’s stainless representations.

 1 Jeff Wall, ‘Een architecturaal embleem van vervalste openheid: Dan Grahams Kammerspiel II’, in: Museumjournaal, no. 6 (1986), p. 368.

2 Tom Holert, ‘Interview with a Vampire: Subjectivity and Visuality in the Works of Jeff Wall’, in: exhib.cat. Jeff Wall: Photographs, Wien, Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig, 2003, pp. 128–139.

3 Benjamin H.D. Buchloh, Neo-Avantgarde and Culture Industry: Essays on European and American Art from 1955 to 1975, Cambridge (MA)/London, MIT Press, 2000, p. xxi.

4 See ‘Dan Graham’s Kammerspiel’ (1984), published in Dutch translation in Museumjournaal, no. 5, 1986, pp. 276–284; no. 6, 1986, pp. 367–371; no. 1, 1987, pp. 32–37; no. 2, 1987, pp. 94–97; no. 3, 1987, pp. 156–158.

5 Jeff Wall, ‘“Marks of Indifference”: Aspects of Photography in, or as, Conceptual Art’, in: exhib.cat. Reconsidering the Object of Art: 1965–1975 (eds. Ann Goldstein, Anne Rorimer), Los Angeles, Museum of Contemporary Art, 1995, pp. 247–267.

6 Jeff Wall, ‘Frames of Reference’, in: Artforum, vol. 42, no. 1 (September 2003), p. 189.

7 Wall, ‘“Marks of Indifference”’ , p. 266.

8 Ibid.

9 See e.g. Jeff Wall, ‘Unity and Fragmentation in Manet’ (1984), in Jeff Wall, London, Phaidon, 1996, pp. 78–89.

10 Peter Bürger, ‘On a Critique of the Neo–Avantgarde’, in Jeff Wall: Photographs, p. 170.

11 Wall, ‘Frames of Reference’, p. 192.

12 Ibid., p. 190.

13 Michael Fried, ‘Being There’, in: Artforum, vol. 43, no. 1 (September 2004), pp. 53–54.

14 Wall, ‘Frames of Reference’, p. 191.

15 Ibid.

16 Jeff Wall, ‘Monochrome and Photojournalism in On Kawara’s Today Paintings’ (1993), in: Robert Lehman Lectures on Contemporary Art (eds. Lynne Cooke and Karen Kelly), New York, Dia Center for the Arts, 1996, pp. 135–156.

17 Wall, ‘Frames of Reference’, p. 190.

18 Ibid., p. 191.

19 Ibid., p. 189.

20 Bürger, ‘On a Critique of the Neo–Avantgarde’, p. 171. For Wall’s earlier views on the neo–avant-garde and history, see ‘Zinnebeeldige procedures van versterving. Dan Graham’s Kammerspiel’, in: Museumjournaal, no. 5 (1986), pp. 277–278.

21 Bürger, ‘On a Critique of the Neo–Avantgarde’, p. 169.

22 ‘Man malt nur noch Streifen, immer im gleichen Abstand, mit wenigen, ausgewählten Farben. Damit kann man dann eigentlich die ganze Welt dekorieren, den Bahnhof, einen Hügel, ein Museum. Das ist doch eine ungeheure Beschränkung dessen, was Kunst vermag. Liegt darin wirklich die Zukunft der Kunst?’ Jeff Wall, in: Holger Liebs, ‘Jeff Wall über Inszenierung’, in: Süddeutsche Zeitung, May 14–15, 2003.

23 See Friedrich Tietjen’s interview with Wall in Camera Austria, no. 81 (2003), p. 18.

24 Douglas Crimp, ‘Pictures’ (1979), in: Art After Modernism: Rethinking Representation (ed. Brian Wallis), New York/Boston, The New Museum of Contemporary Art/David R. Godine, 1984, p. 181.

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