Art In the Ate of the

the North Sea
Pnt-MedlulII
Exploring

Condition

the nature of the aesthetic medium has been at

the heart of much of modern art. For exponents of high mod,
emism, following the lea d of Clemem Greenberg. the essence of each medium +whar made it specific - Lay inherently in its. own particular material properties. Accordingly. the import of painting was its "Ilamess," as exemplified by the monochrome canvas - painting 50 reduced thai nothing is left but a mere iltr object. But some artists rejected this reductivist description of the ... thetic medium as inadequate, Cuing the example, of ftlm, television and video. they understood and articulated the medium as. a.ggregative. as a complex structure of interlocking .and interdependent technical supports and layered eonventions distinct from physical properties. For them. the specificity of a medium lay in its constitutive heterogeneity the fact that it alway> differ< from itself Here. Rosalind Krauss positions the work of Marcel Broodthaers within this alternative narrative. Referring [0 the Belgian anise's films, books. graphic design and museum "fietions," she presents Broodthaers as standing at, and thus sundingfor, the "complex" of the self,.differing medium. Pro .. fessor Krauss argues mac his work demonstrates that the specificity of mediums. even modernist ones, can never be simply collapsed into [he physicality of 'heir support. Moreover, she idenrifies Broodthaers's example as being fundamen .. l to those artists of today who embrace the idea of differential specifocuy; artists who understand that their task is to look beyond reductivist modernism in order to reinvent or rearticulare the in rhe age of the post-medium condmcn, RoIalind Krauss is Meyer Schapiro Professor of Modern .An and Theory at Columbia Universiry Her many books iIIdud< TIlt Optic'! Unc,,"scWus, The O'lliff.lity af the Avant, _Odrr ~I Mytlrr. The Hem. Pap'" and Bochelorr.

.....mun

45~

m. cowr. Maztd

"gig., .....

IIroodIhaen,

u. ~'I«I"""

THIS WALTER WHICH ARE

IS

THE

THIRTY'FIRST MEMORIAL ANNUALLY THE FOUNDER & HUDSON

OF

TlIE

NEURATH GIVEN

LECTURES EACH SPRING OF ON

'1\ VOYAGE ON

SUBJECTS

REFLECTING THE OF

INTERESTS

THE NORTH SEX'
ART IN THE AGE OF THE POST"MEDIUM CONDITION

THAMES

THE OF WISH TO

DIRECTORS & HUDSON THEIR TRUSTEES GALLERY, GRATITUDE OF LONDON,

THAMES

EXPRESS TO THE

THE

NATIONAL FOR

GRACIOUSLY THESE

HOSTING

LECTURES

ROSALIND

KRAUSS

THAMES

& HUDSON

PREFACE

At brs: I thought I wuld simply draw a line Imder the ward medium, bury it like so ~U!,hcriticol toxic waste, and walk away from it into a world of lexical freedom,

"Medium" seemed too contaminated, too ideolo.~ically, too dogmatically, too discursively loaded,
I wondered
Any copy of this book issued by the publisher as a paperback is sold subject ro the condition that it shall [lot by .... or trade OT otherwise be lent, resold. b ired out or 'ay otherwise: circulated without the publisher's prim consent in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition including these words being imposed Oli a subsequent purchaser,

if

I corddmake tlseof Stanley Cauell's automatism, the lerm he

had appropriated to attack th: double problem nelV medirlll1 and

of addrming}lm

as a (rdatively)
about

of

hringiflg

11110

focus what seemed 10 him unexplained

modernist painting.' The word "automatism"
it also plugged into the Surrealis:

captured for him the sense in which

The Walt~I Neurath Memorial Lectures, up
College. University

(0

199_.!., given ar Birkbeck were

part of film - the part that depends on the mechanics oj a camera - is automatic;
liSe

of London, Wh05~ Governors and Master most generously sponsored them for tweury.four years.

of "aw/omatism"

as an unconscious ref/ex

(a dangerolis allusio», but a lisiftil one, as we will see); and it contained the possible connotative riference to "autonomy," in the sense oj the resultant work's freedom

© T999 Rosalind Krauss First P" blishcd in paperback
by Thames & Hudson Ltd,
I 8IA ill

the United Kingdom in
London

:2.000

High Holborn,

ViC I V 7QX

from its maker,
Like the notion of medium an automatism
GI'

An Rigbu

Reserved. No pan of this publication may he reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanic-al. including photocopy. recording OT aflY other informanou storage and retrieval system, without prior permission in writing from the publisher.

genre unihin more traditional contexts Jar art, between a technical (or material}

would involve the relationship

support and the (MUCHtioIlS with which a particular genre operates or articulates

British Library Cataloguing ..in ..Publication Data A catalogue. record for [his book is available from the British Library
lSI3N Q''500.-".28207 ... 2

or worh on that support, What "automatism" thrusts into the foreground of this
traditiona] dtjinition of "medium," however, is the COllceptoj improvisation,

4 the

Printed

and bound

in

Italy

need to take chances in the [ace of a medium now cut Jree from the guarantees

of artistic tradition. It is this sense

cf

the improvisatory

that welcomes the word's

the rules that generate the structure itself - was (and is) Just. , , ignored. Further, that this recursive structure is something made, rather than something given, is what is latent in the traditional connection of "median: " to matters

associations with "psychic automatism "; hut the automatic reflex here is not so mucH an unconscious one as it is something like the expressive freedom that improvisation always contained, as the relation between the technical ground of a genre alld its given conventions opened up a space for release - the way the fugue makes it possible, jor example, to improvise complex marriages between its voices. The conventions in question need not be as strict as those of a fugue or a sonnet; they might be exceedingly loose or schematic. But witlwut them there would be no possibility would have

cf technique,

as when

the arts were divided up within the Academy into ateliers representing the different medi"ms - painting, sculptore, architecture - in order to be taught.4 Thus, if I have decided in the end 10 retain the word "medium," it is becausefor all the misunderstandings amI abuses attached to it, this is the term that opens onto

the discursive field that J want to aJdress. This is true at the historical level in that the [ate of this concept seems to belong chronologically to the rise modernisn: [institutional critique, site specificity)

of judging the success or failure of Slich improvisation. Expressiveness no goal, so to speak? The attraction of Cavell's on the internal plurality

cf a critical postart).

example jor me was its insistence

that in its turn has produced its of installation

of any given medium, of the impossibility

cf

thinking of

own problelllatic aftermath

(the international phenomenon

an aesthetic medium as Hothiflg more than an unworked physical support. That sucH a definition of the medillm as mere physical oiject, in all its reduaiveness and drive toward re!fication, had become common currency in the art world, and that the lIame Clement Greenberg had been attached to this defi/lition so thatJrom the '60s
Oil,

It seemed, that is, that only "medium"

would face onto this t~rn of events, Ana at that

a lexical level, it is the word "medium" and not something like "automatism," brings the issue of "spec!ficity" specificity." Although in its wake - as in the designation

"medium-

this is another, unfortunately

loaded concept - ahusively made

to utter the word "medillm" meant bwoking "Greenberg, " was the problem Ifaced.l Indeed, so pervasive uias this drive to "Greenbergize" previous approaches to its dljinition were
HOW

recast as «[arm of objectification or reification, since a medium is purportedly

the word that historically

specific by being reduced to nothing but its manifest physical properties - it is (in its nOH,abusively defined jorm) nonetheless intrinsic to allY discussion For the nature

.stripped oj their own complexity.

Maertce Denis's jarilOJiS 1890 dictum about the pictorial medium - "It is well to remember that a picture - bejore being a battle horse, a nude Ulomall,
01

of how the conventions layered into a medium might function.

some

of a recursive structure is that it must be ahle, at least in part, to specijy itself. Stuck, therefore, with the word "medium," I must thrust it equally on my

anecdote - is essentially a plane surface covered with colon assembled in a certain order" - was now being read, jor example, as merely presaging an essentialist reduction of painting to 'jlatness." rlemibing the layered, complex That this is not Dellis's point, that he is instead relationship that we could call a recursive

reader in the reflections that follow, I hope, however, that this note in the form of a prejace will have gained me some distance hetween the word itself, with its 10llg history outside the reeen t baules over 'Jormalism," amI the asmmptions about the

structure - a structure,
6

that is, some of the elements oj which will produce

term's iorruption and collapse that those battles generated.
7

With rhe canny clairvoyance of the materialist, Broodrhaers anticipated, as e3.rly as the mid- I 960s, the complete nansformaucn of artistic production into a branch of the culture industry, a phenomenon which we only now recogmze. Benjamin Buchlohs

A cover, devised by Marcel Broodthaers for a 1974 issue of Studio Inter-

national, will serve as the introduction to what I have to say here. It is
a rebus that spells out FINE ARTS, with the picture of the eagle supplying the last letter of "fine" and that of the ass functioning as the first one of "arts."> If we adopt the commonly held view that the eagle symbolizes nobility, height, imperious reach, and so forth, then its relationship to the fineness of the fine arts seems perfectly obvious. And if the ass is presumed, through the same kind of inrcllectual reflex, to presenr the lowliness of a beast of burden, then its connection to the arts is not that of the eagle's unifying movement - the separate arts raised up or subsumed under the synthetic, larger idea of Art - but rather, the stupefying particularity of individual techniques, of everything that embeds practice III the tedium of us making: "Dumb like a painter," they say. But we can also read the rebus as an eclipse of the appropriate letter of the givCl) word, and so arrive, somewhat suggestively, at fIN ARTS, or the end of art;' and this in turn would open onto a specific way that
from (,I"",,) and back (lift) <overs of
I.2

Marccl Broodrbacn,

Broodthaers often used the eagle, and thus onto a particular narrative about the end of art, or - reading his rebus more carefully - the end of the arts. There was, indeed, a narrative about this end to which Broodthaers was especially sensitive in the late I960s and early '70s. This was the story of a militantly reductive modernism that, hy narrowing painting to what was announced is the medium's essence - namely flatnesshad so contracted it that, suddenly, refracted by the prism of theory, 9

Studio il1ietnatiotlr:ll, October I974.

it had emerged irom the other side of the lens not simply upside down but transformed into its opposite. If, the story goes, Frank Stella's black canvases showed what painting would look like once materialized as uurelievcdly flat - their supposed essence understood as nothing more than an inertly physical feature - they announced to Donald Judd that painting had now become an object just like any other three-dirnensional thing. Further, he reasoned, with nothing any longer differentiating painting from sculpture, the distincmess of either a, separate mediums was over. The name that Judd gave to the hybrids that would form out of this collapse was "Specific Objects." It was Josepb Kosuth wbo quickly saw that the correct term for this paradoxical outcome of the modernist reduction was not specific bur
l 4 Joseph

Joseph Kosuth, Artas Jd~a as Idea, 1967· Kosurb, Sevffltn ImJ.t'fIi_,gl1lilln (AHa:\'

]Jetl

as ]Jeri).

1969.

gmeral.'

For if modernism was probing paiming for its essence - for practice had escaped the commodity form in which paintings and sculptures inevitably participated as they were forced to compete in a market for an that increasingly looked just like any other. In this declaration was folded yet another paradox of recent modernist history. The specific mediums - painting, sculpture, drawing - had vested their claims to purity in being autonomous, which is to say tbat in their declaration of being about nothing but their own essence, they were necessarily disengaged from everything outside their frames. The paradox was that this autonomy had proved chimerical, and that abstract art's very modes of production - its paintings being executed in serial runs, for example - seemed to carry the imprint of the industrially produced commodity object, internalizing within the field of the work its own status as inter, changeable and thus as pure exchange value. By abandoning this pretense to artistic autonomy, and by willingly assuming various forms and sites - the mass-distnbuted billboard - Conceptual printed book, for example, or the public art saw itself securing a bigber purity for Art,

what made it specific as a medium - that logic taken to its extreme had turned painting inside out and had emptied it into the generic category of Art: art-at-large, or art-in-general, And notu, Kosuth maintained, the omologicallabor of the modernist artist was to define the essence of Art itself "Being an artist now means [0 question the nature of art," he stated. "If one is questioning the nature of painting, one cannot be questioning the nature of art. That's because the word art is general and the word painting is specific." It was Kosuth's further contention that the definitions of art, which works would now make, might merely take the form of statements and thus rarefYthe physical object into the conceptual condition of language. But these statements, though be saw them resonating with the logical finality of an analytical proposition, would nonetheless be art and not, say, philosopby. Their linguistic form would merely signal the transcendence of the particular. sensuous content of a given art, like painting or photography,. and the subsumption of each by that higher aesthetic unity - Art itself - of which anyone is only a partial embodiment. Conceptual art's further claim was that by purifying art of its mate, rial dross. and by producing it as a mode of theory-about-art, its own
1O

so that in flowing through the channels of commodity distribution it would not only adopt any form it needed but would, by a kind of homeopathic defense. escape the effects of the market itself.
1I

5 (lop) Marcel Broodthacrs, 6, 7

MU:CI'U'flIoj Moden! Art, Ea,~b
MUm!ffl

Department

(D(/[Jid-IH;~rn-J,i:i(rtz ClJrirhct),1968.
11)Ih"Cm/I!ry

(l1bMitand right) Marc~] Broodrhaers,

of

ModErn

Arf.. Eri!,lf.r; Department,

Section, 1968---9.

Although by 1972 Broodrhaers had ended his lour-year enterprise called the "Museum of Modern Art, Eagles Department" - a sequence of works by which, in producing the activities of the Museum's twelve sections, he operated what he once referred to as a fictitious museum _ it is clear that one of the targets of that project carries Overonto the Studio International cover. Having explained, a few years before, that for him there was what he called an "identity of the eagle as idea and of art as idea," Broodthaers's eagle functioned more often than not as an emblem for Conceptual art .• And in this cover then, the triumph of the cagle announces not the end of A rt bur the termination of the individual arts as medlUm'specific; and it does so by enacting the form that this loss of specificity will now take. On the one hand, the eagle itself will be folded into the hybrid or imermedia condition of the rebus, in which not only language and image but high and low and any other oppositional painng one Can think of will freely mix. But on the other hand, this particular combination is not entirely random. It is specific to the site on which it occurs, which here is the cover of that organ l,f the market, an art rnagazme, where the image of the eagle does not escape the operations of rhe market
I2 S

•••
DEFENSE
A

.,,_

-""-.

850L UE

~

DE .,Qill.fl_

Marcel Btoodthaers, Mtw'um

4 MIJJer-n All,

El1t/es Dtpafimenl,

DeJf;ri"u:nfary Sf[lirm,

T969.

served by the press. Accordingly,

it becomes a form of advertising or

promotion, now promoting Conceptual art. Broodthaers made this dear in the announcement he drew up as his cover design for the maga, zine Interfunktionen, at about the same time: "View," it reads, "according to which an artistic theory will function for the artistic product in the same way as the artistic product itself functions as advertising for the order under which it is produced. There will be no other space than this view according to which, etc .... [signed] Broodthaers. "" The redoubling of art as theory, then, delivers art (and most particularly the art for which it is the theory) to exactly those sites whose function is promotion, and does so without what might be called a critical remainder. And it does so without a formal remainder, as well. In the inter, media loss of specificity to which the eagle submits the individual am, the bird', privilege is itself scattered into a multiplicity of sites - each of them now termed "specific" - in which the installations thar are can, structed will comment, often critically, on the operating conditions of the site itself To this end, they will have recourse to every material support one can imagine, from pictures to words to video to readymade objects to films. But every material support, including the site itself whether art magazine, dealer's fair booth, or museum gallery - will now be leveled, reduced to a system of pure equivalency by the homogenizing principle of commodification, the operation of pure exchange value

AVIS
U!tll

ANSICHT
f"'1!CliQ"lll~' pMU .tir.~ friilj'l!aluh~ licit ~l ibd,~ Theorf~ Ie!:!

VIEW
0211 lI~t"Ur I}(m,"l iI:! fQ~ rh!~ry lire 'w.11 b .. /lII1C. lIe/ist'" pr04!l('r

from which nothing Can escape and for which everything is transparent to the underlying market value for which it is a sign. This reduction was given manic form by Broodthaers as he affixed "figure" labels to random sets of objects, effecting their equivalence through the tags that assign them as either "Fig. I," "Fig. 2," "Fig. 0," or "Fig. [2." In the Film Section of his museum, not only did he stick these labels onto mundane objects such as mirrors, pipes, and clocks, bur the movie screen itself was riddled with figure numbers as well, so that everything in the film pro, jected Onto it - from Chaplin's image to the Palais Royale in Brusselsnow entered this compendium of Broodthaers's "Fig. "s.

'h.loJo'-;~llrti~li(i/u~ c().mme pll.blEcili
fOIlCli~Jl{l'1n1

'?II,
dllil

I~ pU~ 1~ .. r_II-'
quI'

",~ri&hqrH, !~ l'~odu"-I "~ti.". rQ"'''Il'fJ!IbUto,,~ pour Ie rifl~~ 11 11 d·.... r". ........ se/olt

rique mf

oE'slni.
It II); ~'Ii'~iJ t~lXI« ~t,"

{1/J I+'t,~""l1'" fii~ diU ~ftJll~. j>'ootlIU ",!l.triOllltrf, "'if ljI'Jlflltri~L'lIe/'Iodu.llI iml1H'r ~~I!OJF Bl, WnbLl"A'" /ii .•d<l1 1i:.eltillle {ulll"lollierf, IIlIlo!'f Jem~, mr",dll.

(h~ 14mr _." ,,' J~" 'Nlstir 1'10<1'''"1 ilsO'Jf is(li.i'lcrlo"'-"XIIJ ad ,,~nlflnt lor ,Jr~ n.l .. Pl"d,u ",Jri(1I
j"riJpn'J'(;I"ad TIt .. "", IIiIrlI b.r tha:

ttr:.. t}

E,

g;l>r J: .. i....-'I,,"'le~".. RIII"m •.tr .

d~'euA~J.(},I. (le"ZU/Q/rrell:.', •••

t'''_

.'e-"',

Ii"

{"he~rp",: .. ~1I4" ", whith

"=OMi'll

MllI'tel Bmootha,ers

9 Marcel Bwod!haelS,

front cover of Intrif,mktiol1l'R,

Fall 1974.

I5

I

Ii

ca-:OR(il-.'l

s WmL

UNV£NTlON

.1,. i~i. 'I
10

'il .' J ~ !~ A ,

DC

(r.lpP.{l5ilr, top left) Marcel Broodthacrs,

Livre t.(JM~(lIJ.

1969-70.

(top'ift) Marcel Broodth;u ..r~1Muw.m I)f Mlidcfn ugh Depanment, Film Sa/wn, 197'!-;::. Painted screen in outer room.
13

Art,

I

r (rJpP(l5iU, top

right) Marcel Brocdthaers.

II

ntitled, '4 (~lwlJ~ Marcel Broodthaers, Mumml oj Mod(:rn 110 Art, Eagles Depanment. Film Sec"u:ti-I, I97I-2. 15 (l1b(JW) Marcel Broodrbaers,
16

I966.

Marcel Broodthaers, Musmmoj Mvam1 Arr, &.gles Deportmem. Film SalirlH. T97(-2.
I2.

((Ipposi!t',btlttcffl)

BruJ:.,AT.ril, 1971.
Un Voyagl'.i Watcrltl(l

ilmudthaets

holding Sadoul's Llnvf.ntiotldu

Cinema. (Nap'};'"

(OVtrlfli_/) Marcel Broodthaers, '76g-'969). 1969.

In the Section des Figures (The Eagle from the Oilgocelle to the Present). mounted by his fictional museum, Broodthaers famously submitted more than three hundred different eagles to this principle of leveling. In this way•.the eagle itself, no longer a figure of no baity, becomes a sign of the !igure. the mark - that is - of pure exchange. Yet in this there IS a further paradox that Broodrhaers himself did not live to see. For the eagle principle, which SImultaneously implodes the idea of an aesthetic medium and turns everything equally into a rcadymade that collapses the difference between the aesrheti c and the commodified, has allowed the eagle to soar above the rubble and to achieve hegemony once agaIn." Twenty/five years later, all over the world. in every biennial and at every art fair. the eagle principle fnnctions as the new Academy. Whether it calls itself installation art or institutional cntiq ue, the international spread of the mixed/media Installation has become llbiquitOllS. Triumphantly declaring that we now inhabit a post/medium age, the pose-medic m condition of this form traces its lineage, of course, nor so much to Joseph Kosut]: as ro Marcel Broodthaers.
(left) Marcel Broodthaers, Museum
J

l7

oj MC.ldem Arf, Er:i,~ler Df'partmcNl Oligo({,lll'to the Pmmt). of the installation
~H

SUtJOfl dn Figt.lr.t'J"(1'he Eagle front the
1972.

View

the Stadtlische

Kuosrhalle, Dusseldorf
18

detail of

(ab(Jve)MOI,rrelBwodchacrs, Mus(,~tnof Moann AII~
SrctirJli des Figlffl'>

EaglrJ" Departm,ml,
Pr~.rf.llf), 1971..

(The &[[e Jrrnn lki' 01J:~(l-cem'lrJ th~

21

-

-

e:
f;'

---

-

-

-

---

.19,20, .21, 22

Edgin

{()PPosit~lIflJa~Ci!.e) arcel Brocdthaers, details of Mlis('~m 0] Modern Art, M Department, Section Jf'sFI:~~mJ (Tltl' Eciiejrcm the Ol~grJaneto the Present). 1972.

2;

At about the same time when Broodthaers was producmg this mediration on the eagle principle, another development, with undoubtedly wider reach, had entered the world of art to shatter the notion of medium,speClficity !II its own way. This was the portapak - a lightweight, cheap video camera and monitor- and thus rhe advent of video into art practice, something that demands yet another narrative. It is a story that could be told from the point of view of Anthology Film Archives, a screening room in New York', Soho, where in the lare '60s and early '70S a collection of artists, film,makers, and composers gathered night after night to view the repertory of modernist film put together by Jonas Mekas and projected in an unvarying cycle, a corpus that consisted of Soviet and French avanr-garde cinema, the British silent documentary, early versions of Amencan Independent film, as well as Chaplin and Keaton movres.v The artists who sat in the darb ness of that theater, th e win gchair-like scats of which were designed to ell! off any peripheral vision so that every drop of attention would be focused on the screen itself, artists such as Richard Serra, Robert Smithson, or Carl Andre, conld be said to be united around their deep hostility to Clement Greenberg's rigid version of modernism wirh its doctrine of Harness. Yet if tbey were gathered in Anthology Film Archives in the first place it meant that they Were committed mcdernisrs nonetheless. For Anthology both fed into and promoted the current work of structuralist film'makers such as Michael Snow or Hollis Frampton or Paul Sharits, its screenings providing the dlsclltsive ground within which this group of young artists could imagine their way into a kind of film that, focused on the nature of the cinematic medium itself, would be modernist to its core. Now, the rich satisfactions of thinking about film's specificity at that juncture derived from the medium's aggregate condition, one that led a slightly later generation of theorists to define its support with the Com, pound idea of the "apparatus" - the medium or support for film being neither the celluloid strip of the images, nor the camera that filmed them, nor the projector that brings them to life in motion, nor the beam of light that relays them to rhe screen, nor that screen itself, but all of these taken .together, including the audience's position caught between the source of the light behind it and [he image projected before its eyes." Structuralist film set itself the project of producing the unity of this diversified support in a single, sustained experience in which the utter imerdepcndence of all these things would itself be revealed as a model of how the viewer is intentionally connected to his or her world. The paIts of the apparatus would be like things that cannot touch on each other without themselves being touched; and this interdependence would figure forth the mutual emergence of a viewer and a field of Vision as a trajectory through which the sense of sight touches on what touches back. Michael Snow's Wavelength, a 45,minute, single, almost uninterrupted zoom, captures the intensity of this research into how to forge the union of such a trajectory into something both immediate and obvious. In its striving to articulare what Merleau- Panty had termed the preobjective, and thus abstract, nature of this connection, such a link could be called a "phenomenological vector. "'4 For Richard Serra, one of Anthology's denizens, a work like W@f'

length would have performed a double function. On the one hand,
25

Snow's film enacts itself as pure horizontal thrust, such that its inexorable forward movement IS able to create the abstract spatial metaphor for film's relation to time, now essentialized as the dramatic mode of sus' pense." Serra's own drive to make sculpture a condition of something like a phenomenological vector, itself the experience of horizoncality, would th us have found aesthetic confirmation in Wavelength." But more than this, in structuralist film itself Serra would have found support for a newly conceived Idea of an aesthetic medium, one that, like film's, could not be understood as reductive but again, like film's, was thor, oughly modernist. Serra', reformulated idea of what an aesthetic medium might be participated
Ii

in his generation's newly won undemanding

of Jackson

r

Pollock and a notion that if Pollock bad progressed beyond the easel picture, as Clement Greenberg had claimed, it was nor to make bigger and Ratter painungs.v Rather, it was to rotate his work out of the dimension of the pictorial object altogether and, by placing his canvases on the floor, to transform the whole project of art from making objects,
111 their increasingly reified f?rm, to articulating the vectors that connect objects to subjects.'! In understanding this vector as the horizontal field

of an event, Serra's problem was to try to find in the inner logic of events themselves the expressive possibilities or conventions that would articulate this field as a medium, For, in order to sustain artistic practice, a medium must be a supporting structure, generative of a set of conventions, some of which, in assuming the medium itself as their subject, will be wholly "specific" to it, thus producing an experience of their
own necessity.-s

sets of serial repetitions converge on a given point. The important thing
is that Serra experienced and articulated the medium in which he saw

himself to be working as aggregativc and thus distinct from the material properties of a merely physical objectlike support; and, nonetheless, he viewed himself as modernist. Tbe example of independent, scrucruralist film - itself a matter of a composite support, yet nonetheless modernist - confirmed him in this. At this Jllllcture it is important, however, to make a little detour mto the history of official, reducuvisr modernism itself, and to correct the record as it had been written by Judd's logic of specific objects. For like Serra's, Greenberg's view of Pollock had also led him eventually to jet' rison the materialist, purely reductive notion of the medium. Once he Saw the modernist logic leading to the point where, as he put it, 27

For the purposes of the argument here it is not necessary to know exactly how Serra went about this.> Suffice it to say that Serra drew these conventions from the logic of the event of the work's making, when that event
IS

understood

as a form of series, not in the sense of

stamping out identical casts as in industrial production, bur in that of the differential condition of periodic or wavelike flux In which separate
26

"the observance of merely the two [constitutive conventions or norms of painting - flatness and the delimitation of Harness - 1 is enough to create an object which can be experienced as a picture," he dissolved that object in [he fluid of what he first called "opticality" and then named "color field."> Which is to say that no sooner had Greenberg seemed to isolate the essence of paiming in flatness than he swung the axis of [he field ninety degrees to the actual picture surface to place all the import of painti ng on the vector that connects viewer and 0 bj ecr. In this he seemed to shift from the first norm - Harness - to the second - the delimitation of f1amess - and to give this latter a readi ng that was not that of [he bounding edge of the physical object bur rather the projective resonance of the optical field itself - what in "Modernist Painting" he had called the" optical third dimension" created by "the very first mark on a canvas [which

1 destroys

its literal and utter Harness."> This was the resonance

he imputed to the effulgence of pure color as he spoke of it, not only as disembodied and therefore purely optical, but also "as a [bing that opens and expands the picture plane.">' "Opticality" was thus an entirely abstract, schernatized version of the link that traditional perspective bad formerly established between viewer and object, but one tbat now transcends tbe real parameters of measurable, physical space to express the purely projective powers of a preobjective level of sight: "vision itsel("24 The most serious issue for paiming now was to understand not its objective features, such as rhe flatness of the material surface, but its specific mode of address, and to make this the source of a set of new conventions - or what Michael Fried called "a new art.""'l One such convention emerged as the sense of the oblique generated by fields that seemed alway, to be rotating away from the plane of the wall and into depth, a perspectival rush of surfaces tbat caused critics like Leo Stein berg to speak of their sense of 'peed: what he called the visual efficiency of the man in a hLUry.'6Another derived from the seriality both internal to the works 'and to their production - to which the color, field painters uniformly resorted.

25 (lift) Kenneth Noland, installation of Coarse SJIIHI(}w and Stria in the Andre Emmerich Callery.
1.6

(righr) Kenneth Noland,

Ado,

I967.

Thus it could be argued that In rhe '60S, "opricaliry" was also serving as more than just a feature of art; 1l had become a medium of an. As such it was also aggrcgative, an affront to what was officially under, stood as the reductivist logic of modernism - a logic and doctrine arrribured to this day to Greenberg himself. Neither Greenberg nor Fried theorized colorfield painting as a new medium, however; they spoke of it only as a new possibility for abstract painting. '7 Nor was process art - the term under which Serra's early work was addressed adequately theorized. And certainly the f.~ct that III both cases the specificity of a medium was being maintained even though it would now have to be seen as internally differentiated - on the order of the filmic model - was not theorized either, For in the case of that latter model, the Impulse was to tty to sublate the internal differences within the filmic apparatus into a single, indivisible, experiential unit that would serve as an ontological metaphor, a figure - like the 45,minute zoom - for the essence of the whole. In 1972, structuralist film's self description, as I have said, was mod must. Into this situation there entered the portapak, and its televisual effect was to shatter the modernist drea JIl. In the beginning, as artists began to make video works, they used video as a technologically updated can, tinuation of the mode of address organized by the new attention to the phenomenological, although It was a perverse version of this since the form it took was decidedly narcissistic: artists endlessly talking 10 themselves." To my knowledge only Serra himself immediately Ole, knowledged that video was in fact television, which means a broadcast medium, one that splinrers spatial continuity into remote sites of trans, mission and reception. His Television Delivers People (I973) displayed in a continuous crawlversions of this.
- a message

the fact of the matter is that television and video seem Hydra-headed, existing in endlessly diverse forms, spaces, and temporalities for which no single instance seems to provide a formal unity for the wbolc.v This is what Sam Webet has called television's "constitutive heterogeneity," adding that "what is perhaps most difficult to keep in mind are the ways in which what we call television also and above all differs from icself "\0 If modernist theory found itself defeated by such heterogeneity which prevented it from conceptualizing video as a medium - modernist, structuralist film was routed by video's instant success as a practice. For, even if video had a distinct technical support - its own apparatus, so to speak - it occupied a kind of discursive chaos, a heterogeneity of activities that could not be theorized as coherent ot conceived of as having something like an essence or unifying core.!' Like the eagle pnnciple, 31

and Prisoner's Dilemma (1974) were

It is this spatial separation, coupled with the temporal simultaneitv of instantaneous broadcast, that has led certain theonsrs to try to locate the essence of television in its use as closed-circuit surveillance .. Em

it proclaimed the end of medium-specificity, III the age of television, so it broadcast, we inhabit a post-medium condition.

knowledge, and thus a powerful support for interdisciplinarity And ourside the academy, in the art world - where autonomy and the notion that there was something proper or specific to a medium were already under attack - this gave a gliuering theoretical pedigree to practices of rampant impurity -like Fluxus or Situanonist detournement (subversive appropriation) - that had long since been underway. In the late 1960s and early '70S, Marcel Btoodrhaers appeared to be the knight errant of all this. In being a fantastic feat of institutional detournement, his "Museum of Modern Art" aim seemed to constitute the ultimate implosion of medium-specificity And even as it did so, it appeared to be setting forth the theoretical basis of its own project. As we have seen, for example, the affixing of figure numbers to a miscellany of objects operated as both a parody of curatorial practice and an empty' ing out of the very meaning of classification. Accordingly, the figures functioned as a set of meta-captions whose operation was theoretical, Broodthaers himself commented, ''A theory of the figures would serve only to give an image of a theory. But the Fig. as a theory of the image1"'l Yet if Broodthaers can be seen to be moving within the poststrucruralist circle of theory, we must also remember his deep ambivalence about theory itself We must recall the statement from IMlerfunktiOflen in which theories are reduced to, or perhaps revealed as, nothing more than "advertising According for the order under which [they are] produced." any theory, even if it is issued as a to this condemnation,

The third narrative, which I will set out with considerably more dis, patch, concerns the resonance between the post-medium posrsrruceuralism. position and moment, For during this same late/60s/earlY"7oS

deconstruction began famously arracking what it derisive! y referred to as the "law of genre," or the aesthetic autonomy supposedly ensured by the pictorial frame.» From the theory of grammatology to that of the
I ,I

patergon, Jacques Derrida built demonstration after demonstration to show that the idea of an interior set apart from, or uncontaminated by, an exterior was a chimera, a metaphysical fiction. Whether it be the interior of the work of art as opposed !O its context, or the interiority of a lived moment of experience as opposed to its repetition in memory or via written signs, what deconstruction was engaged in dismantling was the idea of the proper, both in the sense of the selfidentical- a, in "vision is what's proper to the visual arts" - and in the sense of the dean or purcas III "abstraction purifies painting bf all those things, like narrative or sculptural space, that are not proper [0 it." Th at nothing could be constituted as pure interiority or selridentity, that this purity was always already invaded by an outside, indeed, could itself only be constituted througb rhe very introjection of that outside, was the argument mounted to scuttle the supposed autonomy of the aesthetic experience, or the pas, sible purity of an artistic medium, or the presumed separateness of a given intellectual discipline. The self-identical was revealed as, and thus dissolved into, the self-different. In the university this, along with other poststrucruralisr analyses, such as those of Michel Foucault, proved a powerful argument for an end to the separation of academic faculties within distinct branches of
32

critique of the culture industry, will end up only as a form of promotion for that very industry. In this way, the ultimate master of detournement turns out to be capitalism itself, which can appropriate and reprogram anything to serve its own ends. Thus, if Broodchacrs did not live to see th e absolute confirmation of his entirely pessimistic "View," he bad nonetheless predicted both the eventual complicity between theory and the culture industry and the ultimate absorption of "institutional enrique" by exactly the institutions of global marketing on which snch "critique" depends for its SUccessand its support.
II

4 This leads us, however, to another story. For if capital ism is the master of aitournemfnt, absorbing every avant-garde protest in its path and turning it to its own account, Broodthaers - by some ultimate turn of the Screw - was in a strange kind of mimetic relationship to this. To put it simply, there is a way in which he conducted a form of detournement on himself. Acknowledging this III the press release issued during the [972 Documenca, where the final sections of his Museum (now renamed the "Museum of Old Master Art [Art Ancien], zoth-Cenrury Gallery: Eagles Department") were installed, namely the sections of promotion and pu blic relations, Broodthaers speaks of the "contradictory inter, views" be had given on the subject of his museum ficrions.« Indeed, Broodtha.ers's best critics have been alert to the peculiar inconsistencies that mine both the artist's explanations of his work and the unfolding of the work itself. Benjamin Buchloh has written, for example: "If any' thing, it would be his persistent sense of contradictions that could be called the most prominent feature in Broodthaers's thoughts and state, ments and, of course, in his work." 3j At one point Buchloh sees this as a species of Mague, a willful, tongue-in-cheek form of dou ble negation in which a petrified language acts to mimic the presenr-dav reificat.'on of speech itself at the hands of the consciousness industry To this effect, he quotes a Broodthaers text called "My Rhetoric," in which the artist writes: "I, I say I; I, I say L I, the Mussels King. You say you. I rautologize. I 'can it.' I sociologize, I manifestly manifest ... ," and so onY Douglas Crimp bas also fastened on this feature of contradiction, which Broodrhaers sometimes called his own "bad faith," as when he explained his decision in the early 19605 to stop being a poet and stan being an artist. The reason, he wrote, was that since he hadn't the money to collect the art objects he loved, he decided to create them instead: to become a creator, then, by default of not be; t,lg able to be a collector." 34
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Marcel Bcoodthaers,

Museum nj Modern Art, &,I(s' Department, Section
Pllblid~i. 1972.

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Marcel Broodthaers,

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In a certain sense, the whole of the museum fictions, in which Broodthaers is installed as director, enact the collecting function. But Broodrhaers also distinguishes this public form of collection from a per, sonal one in a work called Ma Collection, a work given a special aura of privacy and inwardness by (he presence, within its assembly of images, of the picture of Stephane Mallarrne. Focusing on this distinction between public and private, or institutional and personal, Crimp addresses Broodthaers's odd privileging of the personal collector through the lens of Walter Benjamin's analysis of such a nineteenth, century collector as a positive countertype not only to the bourgeois consumer bur also to the contemporary private collector who now oper, ares on the pattern of commodity consumption. Against the consumer wbo is driven to amass objects either to display them as capital or to use them up, the true collector, Benjamin says, liberates "things from the bondage of utility." What is decisive in the act of collecting, he goes on, is "that the object be dissociated from all its original functions in order to enter into the closest possible relationship with its equivalents. This is the diametric opposite of use, and stands under the curious category of cornpleteness.?»

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(tap) Marcel Broodrhaers, Ma ColiectillN, 197 \. From view. (lIbQvc) Marcel Broodrbacrs, Mf1 Col/ation, 197 r . Back view.

Here, the equivalency principle that levels objects to the measure of their exchange value, and which Broodthacrs seems to arrack in the application of "Fig." numbers within the Film Section of his museum, is valorized in the situation of the personal collection. This Broodthaers
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of commodity production, both frees the outmoded abject from the grip of utility and reveals the hollow promise of that law.4' Brcodthaers's deep attraction to the forms of the outmoded has been remarked upon by his various critics. His system of references focuses mainly on the nineteenth century, be they to the Ingres and Courbets in the first manifestation of his museum, or to the example of Baudelaire and Mallarrne for his books and exhibitions, or to the panorama and the

Biograph or S. and A.), movie production

was entirely artisanal, As

Broodthacrs began to make films in earnest 111 19157 and into the early '705 ,he cast his own production in precisely this mold. He imitated the gestures of the silent-movie comic actors, particularly Buster Keaton,
;6 Marcel Broodrhacrs, UnjardinJ!llivft,1974·

capturing the amazing sense they radiated of dogged persistence in the face of endless adversity. And he replicated the primitive look of early cinema with its Uneven exposures spliced together and its flickering gait. That the kind of spontaneous activity represented in this model would be rendered obsolete by the industrialization of cinema at the hands of the big studios in Hollywood and Europe was an issue for just [hat structuralist film being made in the late 1960s in the context of Anthology Film Archives and shown annually at the Experimental on the Belgian coast, an event that Film Festival at Knokke-le-Zoute,

winter garden as his models for social spaces. In fact, as Benjamin Buchloh has commented, this "altogether dated aura of nineteenth, century bourgeois culture that many of his works seem to bring to mind might easily seduce the viewer into dismissing his work as being obviously obsolete and not at all concerned with the presuppositions of contemporary art."
4l

But what Crimp is suggesting is that the power that Walter Benjamin invested in the outmoded should be acknowledged in Broodthacrs's usc of it - as In Ius assumption of the form of the "true" collector. This was a power that Benjamin hoped his own prospecting in the historical grounds of ninereenrh-centurv forms would be able to release. Writing of Ius own Paris Arcades project, he said: "We are here con, structing an alarm dock that awakens the kitsch of the past century into 're-collecrion.' "44 That Benjamin's archaeology was retrospective was a limcuon of the fact that he believed its view could open up only from the site of obsolescence. As he remarked: "Only in extinction is the [true J collector comprehended." 4l

Broodthaers twice atrended.r' The demonstration that it was possible to defy the system and to make film siugle-handcdly, on practically no

The true collector, however, was nor the only outmoded figure to whom Broodthaers was attracted. Another was that of the film,maker from the early moments of cinema when, as with the Lurniere Brothers or with D. W. Griffith's and Chaplin's stock-company operations (such as
37 Marcel Broodrhaers, Laplll-i~.
1969.

43

"itself" - motion both reduced to and summarized in the ulumate camera movement (Snow's zoom), or filmic illusion typified in the Ricker film's dissection of the persistence of vision (Paul Sharits's work) - one which, like any totalizing symbolic form, would be unitary; Broodthaers honored the differential condition of film: its inextricable relation between simultaneity and sequence, its layering of sound or text
38

Marcel Brccdrhaers, Cecincsereit prH titlepipe, I969-7I.

over Image. As Benjamin had predicted, nothing brings the promise encoded at the birth of a technological form to light as effectively as the fall into obsolescence of its final stages of development. And the relevisual portapak that killed American Independent Cinema was just this declaration of film's obsolescence.

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budget, and from the scraps and discards of old stock, as exemplified at Knokke by the Americans and (he Canadians, undoubtedly reinforced Broodthaers's earlier experiments in film. But though many of (he
6

Americans saw this defiance of Hollywood as a progressive, avanr-garde move, the opportunity for a modernist concentration of the disparate, ness of the Hollywood production into the single, structural vector that would reveal tbe nature of film itself, Broodthaers read it retrogressively, a return to the promesse de bonheur enfolded in cinema's beginnings. In so paning company with structuralist film's. modernism, Brood" haers was nor denying film as a medium. He was, rather, understanding this medium in the light of the openness promised by early film, an openness woven into the ve ry mesh of the image, as the Aickering irresolurion of [be illusion of movement produced the expcncuce of sight itself as dilated: a phenomenological mixture of presence and absence, immediacy and distance. If rhe medium of primitive film resisted srruc[Ural closure in this sense, it allowed Broodthaers to sec what' the structuralists did not: that the filmic apparams presents us witPa medium whose specificity is to be fonnd in its condition as self,differing. It is aggregative, a matter of interlocking supports and layered conventions. The structuralists strove to construct the ultimate synecdoche for film +4

If I am pu rsuing the example of Marcel Broodthaers in the context of the post-medium condition, it is because he stands at, and thus stands for, what I would like to see as the "complex" of this condition. For Broodthaers, the presumed spokesman for intermedia and the end of the arts, nonetheless wove for his work an internal lining that has to be called redemptive. I am taking this notion of redemption from Walter Benjamin, whose idea of the conmerrype - as the dialectical after,image of a social role now reified and corrupted under capitalism - seems to operate over parr of Broodthaers's activities as collector. And further, the analysis of photography that Benjamin constructed can be seen to for like Broodthaers, Ben, slide over Broodthacrs's practice of film. At first this may seem counter-intuitive,

jamin is famous for a deconstructive attitude toward the very idea of a medium. To this end he used photography not only as a form that erodes its own specificity - since it'forces rhe visual image 111to dependence on a written caption - but as a tool to attack the idea of specificity for all the 45

am. This is because photography's status as a multiple, a function of mechanical reproduction, restructures the condition of (he other arts. As an example, Benjamin explained that "to an ever greater degree the work of art reproduced becomes the work of art designed for repro, ducibility," And what follows from this is that, becoming prey to (he law of commodification, the separate work of art, as well as the separate mediums of art, enter the condition of general equivalency, thereby losing the uniqueness of the work - what Benjamin called its "aura"as well as the specificity of its medium. But far from being an undiluted celebration of (his state of affairs, Benjamin's contemplation of photography was also cast in the mold of his retrospective anirude, which is to say lus sense that, as a fossil of its birth, the outmoded stage of a given technological fotm might betray the redemptive obverse of that technology itself In the case of photography this other promise was encoded in the amateur, non-professionalized character of its earliest, pre/commercialized practice, as artists and writers such as julia Margaret Cameron, Victor Hugo, and Octavius Hill took picrures of their friends. It also had to do WIth the length of the
(

always seems to have contained a revelatory aspect for him; as he said of the difference between official museums and his own: "a fiction allows us to grasp reality and at the same time what it hides."
4'

What is at issue in the context of a medium, however, is not just this possibility of exploiting the fictional to unmask reality's lies, but of pro' ducing an analysis of fiction itself in relation to a specific structure of expenence. And it was just this structure of a spatial "behind" or layer, ing that was for him a metaphor for the condition of absence that is at the heart of fiction. That the novel as the technical support through which fiction was conventionalized during the nineteenth century was of particular inter, est to Broodthaers emerges not just in his statements, like the one he pID' naunced in reference to the "Theory of Figures" exhibition - where he sees the objects bearing "Fig" numbers as "taking on an illustrative character referring to a kind of novel about society."49 I.t also takes on physical shape in relation to his own practice of producing work in the form of books. One of these, Charles Baudelaire. Je hais le tnouvement qui diplacf les lignes (I 973), is a specific engagement with the revelatory power of the novel. For in its peculiar dilation of a Baudelaire poem, the book's nov, clized, sequential form is made not only to expose as self-delusory the romantic belief in poetry as a form of total Immediacy - a collapse of the difference between su bject and object - but also to open that immediacy to its real temporal destiny, in which the subject can never become identical with himself. Based on Baudelaire's early poem "La Beautc," where subjective immediacy is given voice by a sculpture vaunting the way its own self-sufficiency and simultaneous presence is able to symbol, ize the infinity of a perfect wbole ("Je suis belle, 0 mortelsl comrne un reve de pierre"), the book sets its sights on emptying out this very notion of simultaneity. Printing the poem in its entirety on the first page, which is marked "Fig. I," Broodrhaers singles out in red the line of verse through which

pose exacted by their work, during which there was a possibility of humanizing the gaze, which is to say, of the subject's escaping his or her own objectification at the hands of the machine.47 The refuge that Broodthaers took in a practice of primitive cinema betrays this same thought of the redem prive possibilities encoded at the birth of a given technical suppott. And it is this thought that [ would like one to see as acting on all of Broodd.aers's an emirely new topographical production as, like a raking light shining at a strange angle over a surface, it brings into relief structure. If I do not have space to give anything like a fnll demonstration of this here, I would nevertheless suggest that the filmic model is a subset of a larger contemplation about the nature of the medium conducted through the guise of what I think functioned as the master medium for Broodthaers, namely fiction itself, as when Broodthaers referred to his museum as "a fiction." For ficrion

47

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UN COUP DE DES jAMAI5 N'ABOLlRA

LE J-IASARD (rt:~h[) Marcel Broodthacrs, u« coup d.e dt:) jamaiJ tt'abo/,ra J~hl1sr1rd.lm~~e.1909.
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thereby transforms

(he pJ.gn into J. :;1::[ of lmage~.

the sculpture defies any temporal dilation of its perfect form, the one that reads, "I hate the movement that shifts the lines." Throughout the following pages of the book, however, Broodthaers proceeds toward just this shift or displacement, as the verse itself becomes layered into the movement of its own vanishing horizon, with each of its words con, signed to the bottom of a single page. It could be objected that, with this revision of Baudelaire's poem, Broodthaers is simply following the example of Mallarrne's Un coup de

at the source of modern art," he would explain. "He unwittingly invented modern space."> But Broodthaers's own understanding of Mallarmc's strategy runs

counter to what the Baudelaire book performs. First, the very condition of Broodthaers's "Fig." notation insists on the incomplete, or fragmentary status of the word, its resistance to the possibility of the image's ever being fully (self,)ptesent: as his question "But the Fig. as a theory of the imager' suggests, the "Fig." theorizes the image into the self-deferring and displacing status of fiction." In this sense, the "Fig." questions rather than mutates the calligrammatic status of Mallarme's pages. And second, the way sequeneializaticn works in the Baudelaire opposes its operations in Mallarme, For in Un coup de dis, the slow unfurling of the title along the bottom of the poem's pages serves more like a continuous pedal point, or like the harmonic suspensions that serve (0 transform the diachronic flow of musical sound into the heart-stopping illusion of the synchronic space of a single chord that we hear, for example, in Debussy. That the dilation we are made to experience in the Baudelaire IS something else again is reenforced by being restaged in the film that

des, in which the words of the tide ("Un coup de des jamais n'abolira le
hasard") are similarly extended along the bottom of several pages, the text of the poem itself made radically spatial by the irregularity and dis, persal of its lines on every page, sometimes even running across the gutter of the book, to transform the verses into something like an image. The argument for this parallelism might be further supported by the sprinkling of "Fig," numbers on the upper part of the pages of Broodthaers's

Baudelaire, acknowledging

the way Un coup de des trans,

forms the sequential condition of writing into the simultaneous realm of seeing in a move to which Broodthacrs frequently referred. "Mallarrne is

51

Broodthaers conceived in the same year, A Voyage on the North Sea, in which once again the gesralr of the image is narrativized (seepages 5'15). Casting its cinematic voyage in the form of a "book," the film's utterly static shots (each lasting about ten seconds) alternate intertitles, beginning with "PAGE I" and running to "PAGE IS," wirh motionless images of boats. These begin with a photograph of a distant, solitary yacht, seen four times as one progresses from page one to page four, and then shift to a ninereenth-century painting of a fishing fleet under sail, which over successive" pages" is shown in various details. The first of these, in performing the radical leap from the fu11marine scene, with its schooners and longboats, to a giant close-up of the weave of the canvas, cedes by the next "page" to such a near view of the double billow of the main sail that it takes on the look of an abstract painting, only in tnrn, after the announcement of the following "page," to yield to another view of canvas weave that parades as a kind of radical mono, chrome. This progression migbt suggest that the narrative summoned by the" book" is an art, historical one, telescoping onto rhree successive pages the story of modernism', exchange of the deep space necessary to visual narrative for an increasingly flattened surface that now refers only to its own parameters, the "reality" of the world supplanted by the reality of the pictorial givens.52 Bnt by the next "page," the monochrome detail again retreats to a Iiill-view of the schooner, as in successive moves Broodrhaers scrambles the account of a modernist progression. What we are offered in its place is the experience of a passage between several surfaces, in a layering that draws an analogy between the stacked pages of a book and the additive condition of even the most monochrome of canvases, which, however objectified it might be, must nonetheless apply paint over its underlying support. Indeed, as the book's "pages" nnfnrl, this voyage appcan to be one of a search for the work's origins, such an "origin" being suspended equally between the material, ity of the work's canvas flatbed (the modernist "origin") and the image projected on that npaqne surface as the index of the viewer's originating

desire to open up any given moment of experience to something beyond itself (rcaliry as "origin"). In both encompassing and enacting such desire, fiction is, then, the acknowledgment of this very incompleteness. It is the form that an unappeasable lack of self-sufficiency takes as it sets off in a search for its own beginnings or its own destiny as a way of imagining the possibility of achieving wholeness. It is the impossible attempt The modernist story that yielded the supposed "triumph" 'bf the monochrome believed that it had produced this totalization in an object that was utterly coextensive with its own origins: surface and suppart in an indivisible unity; the medium of painting so reduced to zero that nothing was left but an object. Broodthaers's recourse to fiction tells of the impossibility of this story in the enactment of a kind of layering that can itself stand for, or allegorize, the self-differential condition of mediums themselves. When Broodthaers refers to the novel in his definition of a "Theory of Figures," he speaks of the complexity he hopes to have achieved with the commonplace objects like pipes and mirrors that "illustrate" this work. "I would never have obtained this kind of complexity," he says, "with technological objects, whose singleness condemns the mind to monomania: minimal art, robot, compurer.?» In such a remark is folded two components of the argument I have been pursuing in this mediration on the medium, First, that the specificity of mediums, even modernist ones, must be understood as diflerential, self-differing, and thus as a layering of conventions never simply collapsed into the physicality of their support. "Singleness," as Broodrbaers says, "condemns the mind to monomania.t's- Second, rhat it is precisely the onset of higher orders of technology - "robot, com, puter" - which allows us, by rendering older techniques outmoded, to grasp the inner complexity of the mediums those techniques suppon. In Broodrhaers's hands, fiction itself became such a medium, such a form of differential specificity. 53 to transform succession into stasis, or a chain of parts into a whole.

45 Mar eel Broodth aers, A V&yl1gr. on the North S~I1. 1973-4.

7 Fredric Jameson characterizes postmodernity as the total saturation of cultural space by the image, whether at the hands of advertising, com, munications media, or cyberspace. This complete image-permeation of social and daily life means, he says, that aesthetic experience is now everywhere, in an expansion of culture that has not only made the notion of an individual work of art wholly problematic, but has also emptied out the very concept of aesthetic autonomy. In this stare in which "everything is now fully translated into the visible and the culturally familiar, [including all critiques of this situation]. .... aesthetic attention," he says, "finds itself transferred to the life of perception as such." This is what he calls a "new life of postmodern sensation," in which "the perceptual system of late capitalism" experiences everything from shopping to all forms of leisure as aesthetic, thereby rendering any' thing that could be called a properly aesthetic sphere ... obsolete. 55 One description of art within this regime of posrmodern sensation is that it mimics just this leeching of the aesthetic out into the social field in general. Within this situation, however, there are a few contemporary artists who have decided not to follow this practice, who have decided, that is, not to engage in the international fashion of installation and intermedia work, in which art essentially finds Itself cornplicit with a globalization of the image in the service of capital. These same artists have also resisted, as impossible, the retreat into etiolated forms of the traditional mediums - such as painting and sculpture. Instead, artists such as James Coleman or William Kentridge have embraced the idea of differential specificity, which is to say the medium as such, which they understand they will now have to reinvent or reaniculare.sThe example of Marcel Broodthaers, which I have been presenting here, has been fundamental to this task.
S,:;ml~y
Cavell,

NOTES
The World Vi~wJ (CdIJV
[tfen hand, to two aspects of lus own work. Oil the: one fable of

bridge, Mass.: Harvard University Pn;5~, I!il7I), pp.IOI-18.
Discomposed," (New I I ~

it performs

a

riff

on the La Fontaine

the lex and [be trow

that bad U

In ~hls regard, see Stanley Cavell, "Musil: in Mrlst Wf Mean WhCll We Sayi'
York: Scribner's, 19{i9). pp. I9g-20~. complicarec problem
[0

for hl~ exhibition
(I96?). On annotmccment

and film

served Broodrbaers C~rbe..:J,rt r if mllm! ~
[0 rhe typo in the

the other,

it alludes

This

is further

by

the the

very need

bracket

off Greenberg's

n.1mewith

for his exhibition "COllIt,C.iKmt" (1%7). in which the tjpcscrrers lef nut tnc: "h" in Broodthaem and the amn added the leuer by hand,
thereby work cr turning the mistake object into an :lutogri!-p~ic slang, marketable or, in French

I

use of ~cilre~qU{)les if] the way I have dIme in chis stnt~m:e so as to indie-ate rhar this reading of his own me of the word "medium" ilwohfCd (and
involves) a m;lllge miscoderstandiog, (Sl:f:pp. 27-),O)c text I one rhar I

''jrClma.,£e'' (money).
7 its

addfoC:;s.below
4 plural Throcghoue of

My ancruion WdS firs.t drawn to this COveT, and particular play on words, by Benjamin Buchlob
e§~ay "M.m;;d Broodrhaers. A lle ....

this

wJII

me meJillm~ as the

in his, important

medium ill ordrr (0 avoid a confusion with mrdi(j, which I am r~~CTving for the ItchnologJ-e~ of communicauon indicated by rhar LHUr term. Benjamin
Note
nOT

gories of the Avanr-Carde," (May 1930), p. 5"7.
For the prescnteucn transformation

Ariforllm. yolo X V TIT
and rhcorizarion of th:i~

Ito rhe
ill

special

H. D. Buchloh, "Introductory Brcodrhaers issue]," Omb~r,
p. 5. Benjamin reception Buchloh's cenof Broodrhaers's in

(Tom specific ro general,

see Thierry

4.2 (Fall J9~7).

de Duve, KaJlt Ajt~r Duchartlp (Cambridge. Mass.: MIT Press, I99(i), particularly !llt" chapter "The
Monochrome and th~ Blank cxplanauon Canvas." appears in Brocdrhaers's rhe two-volume

tra] role

the cririca] unfolded

work as rhat
the throughcnr

m the
of his

early 'lOS is obvious writing thai
TO

rna_n}' citations thi~

occur his nur-

q;~il.y,as ;1:'

in irs reference

Adler

Mu:st:llm. "'Der vom Oligozan hi, Heure'' (Dii~scldorf,.
calalogueof the exhjhit.ion
[0

turing acriviries
necuon with in apposition graph irude
10 to

all editor ami publisher in ronjournal Intrrjun.him1fn. placed Here" a~ an epi-

his

to this statement

Staddsche Kuusrballe, 197<:), .."01. 2. p. 19. In rhe draft of a text appareruly addressed Jurgm Harten. Broodthaers played wjtn [he conceptual.
isrs' claim ro "rbeorv" and their ambinon m lrmir it~

what follows,

I want to state my own grat~ <If and

Benjamin Buchloh for the generomy willingness [0 read rlus text in manll£cnp'
discuss it with me, in rhe open exchange

hl,~
10

an

10

apcdicric

aratements

that would prcdcce

'<definition":

of appm~

barion and disagreemenr that makes dialogue: with consistently IDe-halleD-ging and illuminating. 6 Stmh'~Intfrlllltio.lllo1l, vol. 18& (O(:[ObtT 197{). Tht hack cover is also by Broodrhae-s. It is a
him mixture of 'he same kind of children's "objecr W for disc) of le,s,son" discs watch, and

Theory Muscum
TamrheEagle

al

rht [preseuu] rime

Thou- an (be Eagle He is rhe Eagle. Wr:
arc

(Z

fin zebra,

H far picture

hnr~f.
on tach

the Eagle

with the appropriate beariog letters

Vou are [he Eagle

discs

only.

Under

the grid

Ih;:~cdiscs,
discours

Broodt!J,u;rs ne peuvent

d'orthcgrapbe

"elemenn du ran line faure cache vaut un frontage." This
has penned: servir

They

are cruel and indolenr and impulsive Lkt:

intelligent

like

lions, like remorse,

56

57

10
jamin

Inwjutlkli{)llfl"!, Buchloh,

~d!tm and publisher

garde

journal.

TlO.1T (F.1l1974).cover. Ben, of this avantcommissioned IhE cover f!'Om
work for rhc issue a "Seance,"

1 $ Aflnrttt' Michelson writes. .1\.. the camera continues UJ move steadily forward, building a tension that gtOWS 111 dimt."t ratio ro the reduction

Broodthacrs.

a, well as another

film S-C~·l"l4rio called
movie screening

in

which

J

fictitious a
m:W5

consisting

of a "short,"

broadca]t,
through

:md a full-length
images. of

Feature is set aut
was. br ackered

pirared

"S( ..nee" tII;~~

of the field, wr recognize, wirh some surprise. these horizons _;H defining (he rnnmurs of narrative, of that narrative form animated by disrcndec Icmpll~ nl.lity, nnuiug upon cognition. rewards revelation. Wait~ng for an issue, we are 'suspended' towards
-esolmion ... , Snow, in reimrcducing expectation

by

a pair

IIf lmagt5
"Racisme

palm

under

which

the

Broodt...haers's forthcoming book of the samt name, It was buchlob who rrauslared Brcodrhacrs's cover text. '1I..v~~," ireo English in collaboration with rhe
caption artist. work

vegeule' announr.:d

this linle-koown in "Broodrhacrs: Allegories (If die Avaru-Carde," 0p. cit., pp . .57 8. 11 By coining [he term "eagle principle" for that
my anenrion ro was alerted

Om:-e again,

as rhe core of film form, redefines spac( <15 being ... essentially 'a temporal notion.' Voiding the film nf rbe metaphoric proclivity of montage, Snow created a grand metaphor for narrative form." (vToward Snow. Pari I," A,ifrJmm, vol. IX Ounl':
J971), Ui

by

Bncblob,

pp. Serra

l i -z

.
of

speaks

Ihe

impcrrance

of Michael

part of B't"l){_ldthaer~>s of the eagle thar critiques me
Conccprual art and rbus a certain tum.

or

events

Snow's work for him in Annene Michelson. Richard Serra, and Clara WeyergrJ.f, "The films of Richard Serra: An Interview," O(wbrr, no. 10 (Foll '979). J7 In a series of eS~<Iys in the lare 1940S Greenberg enunciates this idea of the end ol" easel painting and die opening Df picture-making something "beyond" ir , SI:t "The Crisis of the Easel Picrure'' (April !94-8) :oLl1d "The Role of Nature in Modern Painting" (1949), in Cfonmr
[0

irs monowllY, and its whiteness manifest rbc absolute nudity of substance: it i:~ Ihe in..-lto;;:lf which is only in .... itself.. .. What I wish is thai rhis in-itself might be 1 ~OrT of emanation of myself while sull rcmaining in .... iudf. One warns to 'do something Qui of snow' - to impose a form OIl it which adhere~ so deeply m the: mawer that the mancr appe;!.rs m exist for rhe sake of the form ... To ski i~, eyond skill, rapiJjl'i, play, a way of pOS~ b 5l:5..,ingthis field. I am doing something to it. By my actiVity I am changing the IhdUI"I' and meaning of the snow" (jean-Paul $,ulrt:, Bd"1r:lilJ NIII~irlJMSS, trans. Hazel E. BaIOc~ [New York. Washington Square Press" 19s61, pp_ 742 ~). The concept {)f the "phenomenological vector" i~ precis-elyengaged with Ihis ide a of an acri v·i_ryor erganizarion and connection rhrongh which a subjecr eng.ilge~ with a w-orld as meaningful. 19 I have explored this issue in a.scr~e~ essay~; And Theil Tum Awnya' An Bss ay on james-

[O~!obt;r
however,

";1(07]). Wlw rhis reading scams, is the W'ciy Greenberg understood the eau:gQry of opricalny as a ~u'pporl -Ii), practice, and thus Ihough he never say~ this a medium. And what [his means in turn is that Cceenberg's
nwn "rnndemism' is more complex than either he
til

articulates or judd. and company wanted
stand,
II[

de Duve

cjxicality

d' a phenomenological
10

acknowledges.

Th-r quesrion vector

underof

is further

developed ill my "Tile Crisis. of the £a~d Picture, ,.
op.x
25

it.
III

relation

one ... -ersion

or mel!

rotanon,

Fried

wmes

"powerful

new

an"

[his would allow something enough 10 geneJate new conveunous, a {Michael Fried, "Shape as f-orm," in An
rhar

IJM 06jnl~",-,J

lChicago

and

London:

Chicago York:

or

Uuiver sirv Press, 1;;'91!1,p,8S) 26 Leo Steinberg, OI/I(r Critmil

(New

within the histnry of po5[WaI art, I am trying to distinguish this from the full rangc of what Brccdrhacrs meant the eagle to address, which obviously includes the political dimension (If the symbol arid more specifically wirhin Broodrhaers's
European context, irs permeation and csplonarion

Of

....

Coleman,"

Ocr"btr, no, :51 (Summer r991). pp. 5-3)~ "Rcirweming rhe Medium," Criti~,,1 }Il/flliry. no. Z5 (W-IT1tn 1999), pp. ,t):!:9-j05; and "The Crisis of the Easel P1CIure," fonhcommg in rhe second volume of the Jackson Pollock c;1.t;lloglJe. of Modern Are, New York :malysi~ is undertaken in the discus$10n of SUIa at tht:: end of my "The Crisis of rhe Basel Pjcrurc.vop, cit 1.1 Sec l<LOUl~ and Noland" (1%00) and "After Abstract Expressionism" (19(,1:). in Clam~t
The Museum
2Q

by fascism.
11.

Oxford University Press, 197~). P: 79· 1.7 Cavell's lise of rhc tcrrn <lUlolmr1tirm co ~uggcsi the idea elf a medium J.j.a~llppnrtKlr practice.opens up the beginning of such a rheorizauon. For example, ir sees the reiaricn between a givell "anromatism" and the form irs development would rake as necessarily serial in nature, each Ilwmber nf the series bci n g a new instance of the medium indf (Thr World V~'ewtJ, op, cir., pp. 103-4)
2:8 SC, my "Video t976). and Narcissism," Oilcober. no. 1 (Spring 2-9

For

a sec

discussion

of

.Aurhclogy "Gnosis Cincphili

Film

GrtfilbcI;g, ~f~e Cclhwi

EHrlY,

OIlJ

en'lidrill, vol. 2,

Such

;J.Jl

Archives. Iconoclasm;

Annette
A Cast'

Michelson, 5mdy of

and
.a ,"

OUll"ver,
13

pp. ~-18. Balldry, "The Apparatus," Co1mfr,1 Oim;flra, no. 1 (i976); and Teresa de L1uruis and S[Ephen Heath (l.:d5), The Cirrefflcllf! ApprmllfiS
See J,L (London: 14 .M:tcmjll.:m .• T980).

no. S3 (Winter 1998),

ed. John O'Brian (Cbicago and London: Universiry of Chicago Press, 1986), pp_ 224 :md 2.73-4; see also "American-Type Painting" (r955). CI~menlCru~~ag, op. cit., vol. 3, p.1.3S· 18 Ln analyzing (he lim:~ of im~mion rn,at connett subjec~ to his world, Sanrl.: spta.h m){ only of ,he roclprocicy ,af_ pojnts of view the
d

Merka.u_,.Ponly, P~e~(lmMQltlgy 4 ColinSIllilh (L(}nd(}r'I~ R{)l]dedge and Kegan Paul, 196;;:). The ~t:t:ti[)n tided '·lhe Mmrice
Prrapfi.oll, tram.

vmor

that ("tmneen my body a~ my 'point of view on Ihings with that lspen which marks 0\11 Ihe poin! of vil;W of Ihllse tbmgs Qil my body - b~lt al$(J

8ody" addrem~ tho;: mtcfCODntL"tt-Jness of the bCld~\ "back" and "from" wilhin ~ systtm Df Ih~ mrum'ngj of Ih(s( rdariornhjp~_ Tilt"$-t. giwn pre...objoctivcilly by [hI; ~p.1C-C: of the: bod~, thus functLOn a~ a prlmordial mi.ldd for meaning It:H:l[ The body a~ thc preobjec!il,'-t gmund of all e.;.:petience of tbe rdattdTIl:s~ of objem js tbe fim ~worldn explored by PllrllMffll1colrJiY of Pu(~prion.

of tboS!: mov~mtnts throllgh Ihe world which an my form of appropr1ujilg ii, through play for example. "Sport," he: wTite., "is a free tril.1lSforma~ [LOI1 of Ihe .....-orldlJo' ~nv-iTUllIn.ttU imo ,he support~ illg elem-enl of Ull';<J,ctlQn.Thi~ f;'-(I makes i[creatjvt.: like art The .;-nvjrQnment m:l.y be :t field of ~now .. 10 soet 1t 15alrcad~ to P()§~t~S it. lr represenls pllre ex(erioriIY, radical .s;patb.liIY; ii:s undiiTerentilllOn.

op. cir., voL 4, pp" 97 and I~ I. "Modernist Painting," ibid., p. 90. 2.~ "LmLis and Noland," ibid., p. ~7, 24 Thierry -de Olive's account of Gretnberg'~ reaclitlll w M.inimalis.m's tfJmmutarioll of mod~ ernist "Hame§~"' ~nlo the monochmme Glnv.as.r;l.ktn as kind of readym:lde see~ GTI;t:llberg ;,_bandon, iug nmdtmi~m and rmbr.lCiflg t[)[mJ.lis111, [he
Grt'fllbtrg,
;l.

Sianky Cavell seeks to locate this unity through rdevision 's material basi~ a..~ "a CLttl-trll si.nml~MleC''JU~ event receplion," and a t(lfm of ?er~ ception ~pt{_"ific toi[, wJ:llch hl.: c:alh '·lllmitcring" (~C(: Snnley Cavell, "The Fact of T~b·isio[)."in Vral'II
HanharJI s~op,

or

latter being all txdllSl ...ecom:lOf1l fQrthe aesthetic: as (he exercise ()f judgmem~ of fim(: (in "The MOllw chrome and the .Bbllk CJ.nvas," op. eic.,'p. l.2.2). This, uf Kwrds witb Greenberg':;. S-tlf~ de:;.criprion jfl his PO~[""1962 wrjlings ~U(:,h a~ HCmnpla.im~ of an An Critic" (Arl{orMm
(:(lliT'-'::,

Cull~He: A Crilicul InJn.stlj_.tJfim:J, ed. Juhn (Rocbemr, N.Y.: Visual Studies Work_,. <98r,). Other am:mpts: IQ aT'tlculale Ihe ~peci, ficity of television and/oI video include: Jant FeLter, "The Cuncep-I of Live Television: Ontolog~ .a~ IdooIQg)'." in Rf,tflrJilli Td~l!i.fI;m: Critical Appr,Mmrj, 00. E. Ann Kaplan (fIl;oL·rlck, Md.: Univm\ry Publicilliom of Ame;:r_ica. 1983); Mary Aw DO:l.ne, "InformJ.tjon, CJim, and Ca(astro..-

pile," in Laliuoj 1rtf~ifi(l1I:Emrr, ,i"tI, d. Pmicu Meliencamp

i~ Ol/tural

Criti....

(moomin.gton:

59

Indiana University Press, 11)90)~Fredric Jameson, "Video," P()5'tm.uim~j·,m: Or tht CUlrilfll1 Lr>gic .aJ Lair. C!'i.piflliiml [Durham, N.C.: Duke Uruvcrsuy
Press, 199T).

\,~lalker An Center, !9~9). pp. 71--91. Brocdrhaers's explan .. arion abour becoming J. "crearor" is from his ess..;_y "Ccmme dll benne dam un sandwich," Pha1!l{;mas, no. 51--61 (December in Crimp, op. cu., P. 7[. Walter Benjamin, DIl'i Pmllgm..' Werk (Frank, Main: Suhrkamp, 193.z), VQL I, P . .:1.77. <15 cited ill Crimp, op. cit., p. 7Z. 39 The "Fig." numbers in Mil CI!'Umitll"l are
l0)6j), pp . .z95--6, as cited

fnunded Film

the Peseival,

was

the bead

of the Royal

N

Samuel Weber, "Television, Set, and Screen,"
M~Jia (Pasadena, 199<1),

in MaJi M~JiQUIIl:t: Fi:Jrm, Tcrhllk.r,

38

C:;..ljL St.wford Uni\lotr~ity Prt~~,
~ I

P'

Y10

lint am

Archives in Brussels, which functioned as a repository of the same Iype of cinematic n;pcrlory privileged by Anthology Film Arcbives. 111 ~I~;:5~ay "Le Cinema Bxpenmeraal et Its fables de La Fontaine. La raison du plus fore," wrirren in relation to hi, cxhibinon "Le Ccrbeau
et le Renard," in some Brooclthacr s describes Snow's film

shor ... or sailboats taken by Broodrhaers. In an inrerview conducted 0[1 tile occ-asi-on of BIOOd[hal'T§'&1971 exhibition of his Litcrllry PlJj"l~ itlgr, 111 which Atudyse J'~nf P<:mmrt was screened, Benjamin Buchloh and Mich .a el Oppirz IjIJt.v graphic uoned the arrisr abour Buchloh the film. In his questions assumes
10

Broodrhaers,

that rhe film is an

Ftedrj(:
1II

{ameson

comments

em th-i~ resistance

of video

formarions

theotjzarion in hl~ "TransImage in Postmodtrni,y," in T~f Culfu/lll Tur~: S.tluf.:d WritilJl.l" .oil t~~ P(I.r1moJwl, !98;-lgg8(L[)rJdon: Verso, r99~) 32 SEt jacques Derrida, "The Law C1r Gtme,"

or [he

modernisr

once consecodve, unlike the random character thar Broodtbaers names as rbe principle of numbering in the "Secrious des Figures." exhibition ("The Eagle from (he Oligocene to the Present"),
fOI

derail. He rhm pur~ If in relation to Euro"srruceuralisr film," particularly S~lhtwJlIlsrf by the Germa'[) film-maker Luc Mommarrz (M4rul BrMJf~r1m' O'l"Ifml1, BarcelonaTapies
pean r997, pp. 60-1; my Gilissen for calling my attention and to Mommartz.] foundaucn, thanh to to Mana reference

Glyph, ~3

Ill).

7 (1980).

or the aleatory

qualny

of rbe sprinkling

of "Fig.

I,"

,his

inscribed on an untilled work of 197~ 4. is uself a complex statement. The first half connects to the-eagle principle', double description
This, of the way th~Qr;e~ are Ih~m~1~1
POWI1,I 10

"Fig, z,""Fig. A,·' 40 41

etc.

Ibid., p- 73. Thl~i, from Walter Benjamin, Cturtes &MJt.~

47 Walter SL'TIJamm, ''A Shorr Hi~lory of Phorograpbv'' in "011( liv.!y Stmt" mJd Othfl Wr'iW!J's,
trans. EdmLJnd jcphcort and Kjngsky Sboner

corn-

ThlJdifl(:ation and or die facttbar tbc subsncunon of languagt: ror rhc physical objcCI docs not prorect an from rhi, coedinon cithcr. Bill rhc second sentence is raT l~)~ negarive and OpCIlS onto the redemptive 'Po~~ibilirirs:toward wbich the "Fig." as a new type
of imag~ neither
J.

llllff: A Lyri[ Pilei lit the Era of High Cilpil~li$m.rans. t Harry Zolm (London: New Left Books, 19n). p. 165,.;1S cited in Crimp, up. en .• p. So. 4l See Susan Buck-Mens, Tbe Dinledin rif Seclng: W ..ltct B~~j.ll)i1jP'l tile Anmb:J rrl!j~(1 ami Mass.: MiT Press. r9f!9), pp, 241 S. 4'i Benjamin 1-I. D. Bllthluh. "Fon'tlali"m ariel Hisroricirj - Cha~~gil~g CfmCept,1 in American and European An since r945," in Eu(.DFl'il'l r/lf Seveaics: Aspulrrlj Rml'll All, cxh. Cat. {Chicago' The An Institute of Chicago, 1977), p 98 (Cambridge.
44 Walrer Beojarnin, DiH
J1a.I~Q.1!flkWtFk,

(L::.nd()n; N~w Ldi: Books, 1979). Fora firrrher $C~· my "Reiuveming the Medium," op. cir.
discussion,

allegory of modernism, one [hal analyzes and attacks its self-certainties: "Your way of ironically repeariug the painterly ge~tme~ of reduction and anruhiladon In film - do not the game obsolete and ~~trJrJgtlli~"prim:ipl~s determine your own an a lysi~ of 3 painting as wells" Broodrhaers's replies [0 this aresiogularlyresiuarrr: "Is the cool of analysis really sufficiem for 'working's" he asks ar one pouu. AI another, he ~m~ to objen the idea thal his film dC<lh, as Buchloh irnurs, "with (he problem of painting.' "Not with painting as a problem." be says, "bur with p.;tintjng as a subject. If there is ill YOIJ[ opinion .1 problem of painting, I claim to
[0

hav~ rrcared

the film which

we arc speaking

about

fragmcne

rhar participates

wholly

in

language

nor icon -

might gemue. This is

suggesed by the role of the "Fig." in M~ C"UatIIJJI and the book Charln &lIuMainJr ~air If mmWemfl1t qt/i Jrp{(j(f In ligllff, both discussed below. I am extremely grarctcl
suggestions abour to

Benjamin

Buchlch

for his

op. cir.,

the ccmplexiry

of Brccdrbaers's

"Theory of Figures" and the allegorical status of this n0(1011 within his work. 34- PnS$ release fOr "Mllsee d'An M,)detne, Dep.ammem des A~gles. Sedia-m Art Modeme et Publicite" (lU:ssel, 1:972), reprinted in Maral BrllaJrham, exh. C.H. (Patis; Jm de (Jaumt:, 199'1),
p.227· 35 haers: p·52.·

p. 1.71. as cited in Crimp, op. cjr., P: 7~. 4S Waller Benjamin, "Unpacking My Library" (I9~[). in UiUmj'llll!iDfU, tram. Hany Zohn (New York: Schntkel1l3ooh, 19(9), p. 67.
46 A Ithougl-l Bmodt~acT~ had made Iwo earlter

lin~7o;jfilJn (1959)

hlm~,u Clef JFI>Hcnl()~ff'(19:i7)andL~ ClMl1likma - th( lint, Ol throwback to early '\xp,·rimcmal" cmema stlch a:s Leger's Blillel

Pre~5 release £.Or "Musee d'Art Modeme, des Aigles, Secricns An Moderne er Pubhcire" {Kassel, 197.2.), reprinted in Marai Brl.wdtluJfIT, 1991, op. cir., p- 227. 49 Marcel Broodthaers, ajtrr an inretview by Irma Lcbccr, "Ten Thousand francs Reward," O(f;Jbrr, no. 42 (Fall. r5l,&7), p- 4]~ SO From Iht catalogue: for "MTLDTH:' quoted in Aune Rorimer, "The Exhibiricn at [be MTL Gallery in Brussels, March I~-Apft1 10, 1970," OWJ'loCt, IlII. 42 (Fall 1987), p. 110. )1 SoeIlO!tB,abovo;:. )2 The nurine fQot:lge in A i4Y"g<" o-n tAr NrlrlA Sl'eI j~taktn paldy from the utaste! of a 50Dle~ wh;H earlier film, Al'wlys~duJte Peil1lure, bLlt reedited with che pag_l:~nllmlxr imerrides and the pJJoco~ 48
Deparrernem
~Cl;n~

in a style rhar transforms thi. problem." (Milrul BrCNJJ!ham: Ciilema, liP. cie., pp_ 21-0---1), It is my view rhar when BraodrhJCIs uses the word fIo/bjrd a~ he doe. above pamtmg as ;1 subject" he is often pointing riot to anything like "subject .. ancr" m O[ comenr, bLII the i~~I1~ (If the
[Q

medium. ~J Mara] Broodchacrs, "Ten Thousand
Fr:U1CS

Rewam," op. cir., p_4-1. 54 55 Ibid. Fredric J.1mt>.QfJ, Thf Cultliral
TiNIJ,

op. cit .•

pp.I1o-rl..

56 In previous es.>ays, cited abQVe (m·)te 19), I have diKLmeci [ht work of Jam~s Coleman and Jeff Wil.ll m Ibis reg:nd. In a mbsequtTIl I will focus. an UUCDf William Kentridge.
srudy

Benjant.in H. D. BuchIQh. "Mared AUegnrie;§ of the Avant.--Gardc,"

Broodt~

Ope cit.,

36 Ibid·.P·54. 37 For this arguull~TIt about Broodth<l.n~·s relar1011 [0 the BenjamiTliall -figun: of tht oollector, ~~ DClUglas Cr~mp. "Thi~ h Not <I Museum of An," in Marui B11!lId!lwen. E:xh.caL (Minm:apoli.:

minmiq"I', the socond. a oompiluiotl film llsing !;l(iS'lingdocumentary fi1m~0IJrc-e~- i[was in 19li7. wilh Le c.or&au d Ie wMrJ. du.1 Bro(ldrhaer~ beg.m 10 'W"Ork intensively ill film and 8etIllS ha,,'t ga-intd
t[)

acces~ 10 h~§ OWll rebtiOil

m txperimentation that

in

I"l~

mtdmm.

Thi,

wa~ [he same year
runvaJ.

Michael

Snow'~ W.:lvrlCtlgl~ WOll tim
ExpenmentalFilm

pri1f at Ihe KfJ(lkkc Jacqut~Ltdoux, who

60

6J

Translation

of text on page 38 on

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
Ma CollreJiQI1
fiom exhibitions at which T have been able to exhibit, fair of '71 with photos of these with a portrait of the Mar~d Broodtllaer~, from cover of S,~aiel October 1974. Counesy of SfuJi..
SIr/diu S!r1di~ IS Marcel Brocdtbaers, frame. PhOlo© G:il:is~m. r6 Marcel Btoodthaerx, Btifutl Ttlili. 1971.

A text by Marcel Broodthacrs M.a

Cotiectioe is a work composed of two panels, both sides of which are used. Within the
documents a page from the catalogue The second panel of of the Cologne

F~lm

I~te'rnJlfi~nJlI. I,.ttrt1ailonal.

firsr panel, containing
there is inserted same documents. European art. tautological used as a exhibited

UI1

Vc>y~gf

.i Wali'rloC! Phmo

Ma

CoUatiO'I"! is adorned

Marcel Brocdthaers, back cover of lriltrmrti~!'T"I, October 1974. Courtesy of
I~ttrmtti~!'TI>I.

(Nap"Uo'J 1769-r96i1j. Cilissen

19119, Film rramt~.

©

poet Sccphane Mallarme,

whom I consider to be le hasard."

"Uti coup de dcs jamais n'abclua
than a stamp collecrion.)

system is used to comcxtualize

d.le founder of. contemporary Ma Coliatwills a work In which the the exhibition sites. (It would therefore have
of the present exhibition will be

Joseph Kosuth, Arras Mertas ldid, 1967. Panel on 'meaning', © A RS, Nv and DACS. London
joseph Kosuth, Swrl'lth l~!!i'3'li~fill~' (Art as IbtJ.E 1J£a.). 1969_ OUirlOIlT billLo:ud installation. A RS. NY and DACS. London ZOQO

more mealllng

The catalogue

derail to make up a future work of an attesting to the shows at which I have
since 1971.

e

>7 Marcel Broodrhaer s, M~m.;m aJ M~Jerli Art, Eagle, Deprlrlmr,,1, SuticJH au FigurI!r [Der Adler!lt1m Oli~;;:iit1 his Hrutcj. 1972. Sradrische Kunsrballe, Dusseldorf PhOlo© Cilissen. 111 Marcel Brocdthaer s, M~s-ntm ~J MClfiel'1lArr, Hagh, Dtpdrlmenl, Swion des Fi1ures, 1971.. Stadris .. che Kunsrhalle, Dusseldorf Photo © Cilisseu.

Ea~I~l" D~p"rlm'mt (DJlvid rn~res -W!frlzTranslation of text
011 P.age40 196:8· Paint on vacuum-formed inches. PhffiO~] Gilisscn. plastic.

COHrb~t),
))%

X 47'':;

Marcel Broodthacrs

Mated Broodthacrs, Mrnn,m af MDJrrtl Art, Eagb Dfpo'lrtmrlll, 19dr..Cr!rt.r~rr Sa/jon, Brussels, 1968---<).1?hoto © Cilisscn. is at issue. which is also a selection fiom among the an catalogues it does not constitute a traditional readymade. of my art carries with ira change of a baroque ready made.
10

MaC.Ureli,,,
... Where a contract

FAgin Dl'prlrfmclIl. Swiojj des Figl!ltcs, 1972. Sradrische Kunsrhalle, Dusseldorf Photo © Cilissen. 2.0 Marcel Brccdrhaers, Musfum lljM'rulml Arl, FAgll'f Dl'parfmcllt, SUii{JJI drs Figrms, 1972. Staduscbe Kunsrhalle, Dusseldorf Photo © Cilisseu.
2.1

Marcel

Broodrhaers,

MII.H'",1fI

7 Marcel Broodthaers, Mr-rsr~m rif MoJrrtl Art, Eagl~s Def!'rrmf}lt, J9th~Cmtury S~ajll'n, Brussels, 1!J611""9.Photo to Cilissen, 11 Marcel Broodrhaers. Mum",!
BlgI~s Dl'p~rlmfm, romomage. Marcel t,,,,erll, Photo

4 M!Jrlr-nl

Art,

Since I appear in this collection, of the past several years,

~ M(JdrrH Art,

D.rJcummlflry Sfctir)H. 1969. Pho,

But, If one accepts that the representation senscjnon ..sense. This dubious market doubc
[0

©

Cilissen. from cover of

it would then be a new form of readymade,
would therefore be equivalent

Broodrbaers,

Jntr1rmJe~

readvmade

to a dubious

work of art. How to

speculate

OLl

if it does not have a clear artistic quality? Moreover.J do not have the nerve Ma Ccllmion, although with the money received I could relieve the misery
or even finance an avant ..garde revolution. please contact ... A contract-a good customs, get me out of trouble

that ravage'S the Indies, contract would For further .iuformaticn, Personally, Cologne However,

by aligning my interests with established

J would like to receive a tax (a royalty?) on rhe publicatious.
my declaration 71 fair. should anyone still wish be uptomy conscience
to

if there are any,

that reproduced

and the images. from this page of the catal-ogue of the

Inlerjut1ktion:fn. Livre I.:lbJea~. 19(19 70. Paint on vacuum-formed plastic. ~~2!J X 47% inches. Photo Degobcrt. II Marcel Brocdrhaers, untitled, r%(i. Reproduced in Artj,mfm, :May 1980. Councsyof AyifcJrMm. T2 Marcel Brocdtbaers, MUSfrfm of Mr:n1m1 AYI, F.i1glr.. D~partmeljl, Fdm Seaion, 1971-4, BToodl~ h3-1;[5 holdingilp Sadoul's book. Pharo ret Romero. r l Marcel Broodthaers, M,(j'j'mm 4 M".,J..-rll Arl, &gifr D~f'Jrtmmt, Film 5mirm. I971-.;e. Pamred S(;[ClOnill outer room, Photo © Oilissen.
1974. COurt';:5Y of Brccdrhacrs, Marcel

Fall

&gb Dl.'pi-lrtmrllr,Section d~s Figum, 1.9'7z. Sladiis~ cbc KUll5th3.LlC, Dusseldorf Photo ~J Cilisscn :2.2 Marcel BIOod(ha~T~, MU~f~lm if Mllal'rn Art, ErJ:lfJ Dfpartmod, Si'l'tilJ~ F~tlrfr, J972. Slidtis~ chr Kunsthalle, Dii.~ddorf. Phnrn cO Cilissen. 23 Mil:hat:! Snow, Wa,,~htl,gl~, 967. Elm frame. 1 Counesy of Michael Snllw. 24 Richard Serra, emil'lg, I969-91. Lead casting. Apprcx. 4X soc X 300 inches. Temporary installation. W1ljmey Museum of American Au, NfW "York: Ciry, r969. Phoro (0 Estate of Peter MourelDACS, London/VAGA, New Yurk zooo. Courtesy of Richard Serra. 25 Kenneth Noland, insrallanon of CMrst Slwd{JJJ! and Sm'a 111 [he Andre Emmerich Gallery.

a....

e

own the physical

objca of Ma Collection, then the © M. Broodtbaers

price would

(Price negotiable).

14 Marcel Broodrhacrs, Mrmum rf M"Jl'"rJl Art, Ed-tIes D~poJFtmflll, Film SecliDn. 1971-.2:. PhotomCiluageshowing Broodrhaers in tile inner room, Photo © Bernd jansen,

Kenneth Noi.;md/DACS. London/VAGA. New York :2.000. 2(i Kenneth Noland, Ado, 1967. Anylic on can ...as. 24 X 9(J. inches. ~:) Kenneth NolandfOACS, LondonfVACA, New York
.2000 . .27 '973. Richard Serra,

T~hl.l;~i(lJ1Ddivns
of Richard Serra.

People,

vidc(] sdll. Cmntc$ji

62

23 Maret! Broodrhacrs, MHWIIm rJj MoJfm Art, &,~lu Dtp.~rlme"f,SectionH.b/idlre Wall mO[1tag~ of
J97J. exhibition.
PhQtl)~~

frame.

~7 Marcel Brcodshaers, La Phmo© Gili~§fn.-

plj{i~,

1969. Film

Gilisscn

29 Marcel Hroodlharr~, Mjj,i"fHm 4 MQJml Art, E.iglri D(1'~rI1fm1f,Se(tl~fI P"blirilic Wall momag.; of 197J. exhiblrlQ[l. Photo© Cilisscn. }O Marcrl Broodrhacrs, MU5~ljm rif Moarm Art, &.#./(. D~t"lrtmrtlr, Sf,tio/J P~b.lii:ilf.Wall montJ.&, of 1972 cxhibmon. Phoro© Cilissen, 3 T Marcel Brocdrhaers, MUJe~m ~JModerl1 Art, FAglr5 Depilrblw"l.t, Satiall P~b1irilf. Wall mocnge of 1972 exhibition, Phmo© Ciliaen. p Marcel Beccdrhaers, MUj~~m ~j M.lJdml Art, &gl~s Depllffmetlt, Serfi.IJIJ r,Midlr. Wall momag~ or P I ')72 exhibition. Ph(Jw© Giiissen. ~J Marcel Brcodthaers, Ma Cllllrr!iotl, r97f. Photographs and documents. Pront view. P~oto«~
Cilissen, H Marcel Broodrhaers, Ma C~llf"(:tj·..I, .t 1971

~s Marcel Brcodrhaers, Cui I'll! semif plU unt pipr. I 96IJ-7I. Film frame. Photo © Gilissen. 39 Marcel Broodrhaers, C!uJrles &UIrMain. J ~hal! I.e mr)>lwmflli ~Ifi Jepll1u Ies li,g~t£. I973. Book cover. Photo 0 Cilissen. 40 Marcel Broodrhaers, Chttrlu B1iIl,lf/m'rf_ J~ h.flir If m"lwcmml ~ui iNp/au l.t~I(gmr. T97:3. Page T _ Photo ©Cilis,fn.
Marcel Broodrhaers, Char/iS B~l,jddllirr,}r hais lim,wlfemmlqu~·drpIMileslignl;.1973_ l'ages a and 3. I'horo b Gilissen. 42 Marcel Broodrhaers, Ch{]r{r.~B,mdrillirr, Jf hais 41

~Hid€ptll'r biignr" Photo 0 Cilisscn.
/(.ma~~'fmrnl 43 Marcel Brcodrhacrs, niJ£c,(irll

f973.

P3ge~4and

5.

lr h<lsllrd. Imlllf,

Un 'ClHP Jr Jb jamais 1969. Book Front cover.

Photographs and documenrs. S.lLk view Photo 0
Cilissen,

Marcel Brcodrhaers, [txt on Ma Cr)t/f(lion, 1971. Photo © Cilissen. ~6 Marcel Brcodrbaers, VI'!jau.li~ J'llivn, 1974. Elm Hill. Photo (:) Yves Cevaen.
ij

Wid~· Whil~ Space Callery, Antwerp, Calerie Michael W~InC!, Cologne. Photo © Cclissen. 44 Marcel Broodrhaers, Un WIIP d~ Ji-l' _jam<1is 1I'llho-{ira if HasllrJ, Imjt(e, 1969. Book. Page ~2. Photo 0 Cilisscn. 45 Marcel Broodrhaers, A Vayage IW /h~ Ntlrlh &11,197]-4. Film frames. Photo © Gilissen.