Chris Kraus Lecture


WHEN : 20th October – 6:00- 8:00pm

Los Angeles novelist and art critic Chris Kraus will be giving a lecture here, on Thursday 20 October at 6pm. Kraus is known for scrambling the modes of fiction and non-fiction, taking an experimental approach to writing art criticism and steeping her novels in references to her real life in the worlds of art, literature, and theory. Kraus achieved notoriety with her 1997 epistolary novel I Love Dick, which tells the story of a married, failed independent filmmaker, turning forty, who falls in love with a well-known cultural theorist and endeavors to seduce him with the help of her husband. But when the theorist refuses to answer her letters, husband and wife continue the correspondence for each other instead, imagining the fling she wishes to have with Dick. What follows is a breathless pursuit that takes the woman across America, away from her husband, and far beyond her original infatuation, into a discovery of the transformative power of first-person narrative. Kraus’s exemplary ‘lonely girl phenomenology’ manages to address R.B. Kitaj’s paintings, the correspondence of Gustave Flaubert and Louise Colet, Jennifer Harbury’s activism, and Felix Guattari’s Chaosophy, while deconstructing the institution of marriage and the life of the mind

For many years, Kraus wrote Torpor, a column for Art and Text. These columns formed the basis for her 2004 collection Video Green, which focuses on the high-profile graduate programs that catapulted Los Angeles into the epicenter of the international art world in the 1990s. Her latest art book, Where Art Belongs, published this year, expands Video Green’s argument that ‘the art world is interesting only insofar as it reflects the larger world outside it’. Where Art Belongs examines artistic enterprises of the past decade that reclaim the use of lived time as a material in the creation of visual art. Moving from New York to Berlin to Los Angeles to the Pueblo Nuevo barrio of Mexicali, Kraus addresses such subjects as the ubiquity of video, the legacy of the 1960s Amsterdam underground newspaper Suck, and the activities of the New York art collective Bernadette Corporation. She examines the uses of boredom, poetry, privatised prisons, community art, corporate philanthropy, vertically integrated manufacturing, and discarded utopias, revealing the surprising persistence of microcultures within the matrix.


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