On the Museum's Ruins

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MIT Press, 1995 - Art - 348 pages
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"Crimp's essays comprise one of the most interesting and incisive bodies of work on practices of contemporary art in relationships to art as institution."
-- Andreas Huyssen, Columbia University

"Literate and provocative speculations about art, photography, postmodernism, homoeroticism, Rauchenberg and Mapplethorpe, museums and libraries."
-- "Interior Design"

On the Museum's Ruins presents Douglas Crimp's criticism of contemporary art, its institutions, and its politics alongside photographic works by the artist Louise Lawler to create a collaborative project that is itself an example of postmodern practice at its most provocative. Crimp elaborates the new paradigm of postmodernism through analyses of art practices broadly conceived, not only the practices of artists -- Robert Rauschenberg, Cindy Sherman, Marcel Broodthaers, Richard Serra, Sherrie Levine, and Robert Mapplethorpe -- but those of critics and curators, of international exhibitions, and of new or refurbished museums such as the Staatsgalerie in Stuttgart and the Martin-Gropius-Bau in Berlin.

The essays:
Photographs at the End of Modernism. On the Museum's Ruins. The Museum's Old, the Library's New Subject. The End of Painting. The Photographic Activity of Postmodernism. Appropriating Appropriation. Redefining Site Specificity. This is Not a Museum of Art. The Art of Exhibition. The Postmodern Museum.


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On the museum's ruins

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In this collection of essays previously appearing in the journal October or in exhibition catalogs, art historian Crimp explores the often conflicting roles of the museum, the artist, and the public ... Read full review


Photographs at the End of Modernism
Photography in the Museum
On the Museums Ruins
The Museums Old the Librarys New Subject
The End of Painting
The Photographic Activity of Postmodernism
Appropriating Appropriation
The End of Sculpture
Redefining Site Specificity
Postmodern History
This Is Not a Museum of
The Art of Exhibition
The Postmodern Museum

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About the author (1995)

Douglas Crimp is Fanny Knapp Allen Professor of Art History at the University of Rochester. He is the author of On the Museum's Ruins and Melancholia and Moralism: Essays on AIDS and Queer Politics, both published by the MIT Press.

Louise Lawler was born in Bronxville, New York, in 1947. She came to prominence in the 1980s with her own sophisticated and very postmodern brand of re-photographed artwork. She has had solo exhibitions at the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, The Museum of Modern Art in New York, The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington D.C., among others. Lawler collaborated with Douglas Crimp on the seminal book The Museum's Ruins. She lives in New York.

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