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Krauss, Rosalind E.

    Full Name: Krauss, Rosalind E.

    Other Names:

    • Rosalind Epstein Krauss

    Gender: female

    Date Born: 1940

    Place Born: Washington, DC, USA

    Home Country/ies: United States

    Career(s): art critics, educators, and publishers


    Hunter College and Columbia University professor; art critic; co-founder of October magazine. Krauss was the daughter of Matthew M. Epstein and Bertha Luber (Epstein); her father was an attorney. Krauss attended Wellesley College, receiving her B.A. in 1962; the same year she married the architect Richard I. Krauss. She moved to Harvard University where she was awarded an A. M. the following year. After two years as an instructor at Wellesley College (1965-1967), she joined the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1967 as an associate professor of art history (through 1971). Krauss began writing criticism for Artforum in 1966. She received her Ph.D. from Harvard in 1969, writing her dissertation on the work of the sculptor David Smith. She rose to full professor at MIT. During the same years she was a contributing editor of Artforum (1971-1975). In 1971 she divorced and published her first book, an expanded version of her thesis, Terminal Iron Works: The Sculpture of David Smith. Krauss was awarded a Guggenheim Foundation fellowship in 1971 as well. She won the Frank Jewett Mather, Jr., Award for Criticism from the College Art Association in 1972 moving to Princeton University as a lecturer and director of visual arts program (through 1974). The following year, 1975, she joined Hunter College of City University of New York as an associate professor. In 1975 she left Artforum to help found (and be the first editor of) October magazine. She was also professor of the Graduate Center, City University of New York (CUNY), 1977-1992. Krauss completed the catalogue raisonné on David Smith in 1977. Krauss rose through the ranks at Hunter College to full professor (and distinguished professor) through 1992. She was a fellow at CASVA (Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts) at the National Gallery of Art in Washgington, D. C., for the 1981-1982 year. She spent the 1983-1984 year as a fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton. Her collect essays, The Originality of the Avant-Garde and Other Modernist Myths appeared in 1985. In 1992 she was appointed Columbia University’s Meyer Schapiro professor of modern art and theory in the Department of Art History and Archaeology. Krauss built a reputation for feminist, deconstructionist, and psychoanalytic methodology in the 1970s and 1980s, focusing particularly on masculine aesthetics and contemporary artists responses to it. She drew inspiration in the 1980s from the essays and critical theory of Georges Bataille (1897-1962), writing a newer history of modern art which opposed the formalistic style of analysis of Clement Greenberg. Krauss used Bataille’s notion of informe in her essays on a “critical dictionary” appearing in the journal Documents. Her 1997 Formless: A User’s Guide, co-written with Yves-Alain Bois, and a later essay on Louise Bourgeois again employed informe in art-historical analysis.

    Selected Bibliography

    [dissertation:] The Sculpture of David Smith. Harvard, 1969; Terminal Iron Works: The Sculpture of David Smith. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1971; and Rowell, Margit. Joan Miro: Magnetic Fields. New York: Guggenheim Foundation, 1972; Line as Language: Six Artists Draw. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Museum, 1974; and Hunter, Sam, and Tucker, Marcia. Critical Perspectives in American Art: An Exhibition. Amherst: Fine Arts Center Gallery, University of Massachusetts/Amherst Art Gallery,1976; The Sculpture of David Smith: A Catalogue Raisonné. New York: Garland, 1977; Passages in Modern Sculpture. New York: Viking, 1977; The Originality of the Avant-Garde and Other Modernist Myths. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1985; and Livingston, Jane. L’amour fou: Photography and Surrealism. New York: Abbeville Press, 1985; Richard Serra: Sculpture. New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1986; Beverly Pepper: Sculpture in Place. New York: Abbeville Press, 1986.


    “Rosalind E. Krauss.” Challenging Art: Artforum 1962-1974. Newman, Amy, ed. New York: Soho Press, 2000, pp. 475-476; Carrier, David. Rosalind Krauss and American Philosophical Art Criticism: from Formalism to Beyond Postmodernism. Westport, CT: Praeger, 2002; Siedell, Daniel A. “Rosalind Krauss, David Carrier, and Philosophical Art Criticism.” Journal of Aesthetic Education 38 no. 2 (Summer 2004): 95-105; Shane, Robert R. “From Formalism to Informe and Back Again: Rosalind Krauss’s Use of Bataille.” Art Criticism 17 no. 2 (2002): 70-88.


    "Krauss, Rosalind E.." Dictionary of Art Historians (website).

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