[-empyre-] more on the grid

virginia solomon virginia.solomon at gmail.com
Tue Nov 17 07:35:51 EST 2009

hi zach

the article I was actually thinking about was her "originality of the
avant-garde," in which she discusses the use of the grid within historical
avant-garde practices. specifically, through the use of the grid in
modernist painting, she discusses the role that the trope of originality
played within the historic avant-garde, and of course she undermines that
trope. She discusses the grid to demonstrate the repressed quality of
modernism, that its championing of originality comes through an engagement
with a form that is a copy of a copy without an original at all (who
invented the grid?). she then discusses postmodernism as practices that
don't repress the fact that it is a copy of a copy without an original.
there are things to be done with copies and seriality and repetition and
proliferation, I think, but from a different direction than communications
theory that might prove productive for your project.

in terms of taking the grid as an emblem of our time, there are interesting
contradictions between your discussion and location, and krauss', or more
accurately, the practices in which krauss locates the grid. because she is
locating it within formalist abstraction, which is precisely seeking to
distance itself from the social field in its search for autonomy and medium
specificity. so it is a very different kind of function, but one that I
think can be really productive precisely because of the infections of which
you speak. of course this makes me think of the general idea *Infected* (the
c in the infected is a copyright sign but I don't know how to make that in
gmail) series, where they did infected mondrians, duchamps, rietvelds, etc.
which of course also gets us back to gay related immune deficiency.

and then another question just came to me, concerning the difference between
being-invisible and non-being. it seems to be like there are important
differences between refusing to be on or taken up by the grid, and not being
able to access the grid. maybe this is an old question, but I think it takes
on nuances if we are discussing a queer practice of trying to refuse the
modernist, enlightenment self and thing up other forms of subjectivity
without simply invoking the privilege of being able to refuse.

Virginia Solomon
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