All posts filed under: Special Contributions

Before Pictures: An interview with Douglas Crimp

Douglas Crimp is an art critic and the Fanny Knapp Professor of Art History at the University of Rochester. He is the author and editor of numerous books, including Melancholia and Moralism: Essays on AIDS and Queer Politics, “Our Kind of Movie”: The Films of Andy Warhol, On the Museum’s Ruins, and AIDS: Cultural Analysis/Cultural Activism. Crimp was the curator of the landmark Pictures exhibition at Artists Space in 1977. He is widely known for his work with the “Pictures Generation” and his influence is extensively recognized in a varied range of disciplines such as art history and criticism, LGBTQ studies, political activism, and dance studies. Part autobiography and part cultural history, Crimp’s latest book Before Pictures, offers a moving and intimate account of his experience as a young queer man and aspiring art critic in the late ’60s and ’70s in New York. Douglas Crimp remains a formative figure in the Visual and Cultural Studies Graduate Program at the University of Rochester, at which InVisible Culture is based. The following interview with the Managing Editor of InVisible …

Provincial Matters

Janet Wolff This essay returns me to Rochester, thirteen years after I left. It also returns me to a mild obsession I developed in my last year in Rochester with the artist Kathleen McEnery Cunningham, and with the fascinating social and cultural world of Rochester in the 1920s. I curated an exhibition of McEnery’s work at the Hartnett Gallery at the University of Rochester in 2003, and advised on another in New York a couple of years later. The essay will also be a chapter of a book I am completing, entitled Austerity Baby, which is part memoir, part family history, part cultural history. Two other chapters were published in 2013: one in the collection Writing Otherwise (edited by Jackie Stacey and Janet Wolff, published by Manchester University Press), and another here in the online literary journal, The Manchester Review. * * * The American artist Kathleen McEnery Cunningham presided at the center of a lively cultural scene in Rochester, New York, in the 1920s and 30s. In 1914, she had married Francis Cunningham, then …

Molyneux Redux

Issue 19: Blind Spots (Fall 2013) Georgina Kleege In 1693, William Molyneux wrote his famous letter to John Locke where he proposed the following thought experiment. What if a man who was born blind but had learned to recognize through touch certain geometrical forms such as a sphere and a cube, were to have his sight restored by an operation, would he then be able to recognize these forms through sight alone? This hypothetical question has led to no small measure of trouble for blind people, especially once actual medical procedures replaced the imaginary one Molyneux proposed. Sight restoring operations for totally congenitally blind people are relatively rare, but speculation about them is extensive. There have only been about twenty such cases in the past thousand years, but these twenty cases are so debated and scrutinized it seems like there must be many more, even though they typically follow a predictable pattern. The patients are initially excited and overwhelmed by the visible world. Researchers give them tests and tasks, sometimes including Molyneux’s sphere versus cube test. …