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Jennifer A. Rissler, IDSVA





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This project began as an inquiry into the archive of the California Institute of the Arts’ (CalArts) Post Studio Program, whose only relic is a course description written by its founder, artist John Baldessari. An equally important component of this early inquiry was the discovery of Jean-François Lyotard’s palimpsestic text, Pacific Wall, whose frontispiece, “Five Car Stud,” was first publicly displayed at documenta V by artist Edward Kienholz. These two materials led toward a novel articulation of how post studio artistic methodologies – embodied by both Baldessari and Kienholz – intervened in the master narratives of modernism. I argue that the absence of a formal archive of post studio allows for such an intervention. The paucity of materials written on post studio led me to original sources within archives (including the San Francisco Art Institute, Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, and the Getty Research Institute), lending agency to each artist’s voice.

By engaging the missing archive of post studio through ventriloquizing its lack, this project deconstructs the normative apparatus of modernism and deromanticizes the sacred space of an artist’s studio. Scholarship generally has understood post studio practice as a methodology eschewing the studio as a space for generating art, its reliance on the political economy of the art market, and its spatialization of sovereign subjectivity. A site of resistance, with aesthetic implications, post studio offers a narrative of its own that defies the artistic conventions of modernism; including, importantly, the authorial legacies, master narratives, and the cult of originalism to which modernism was heavily invested.

Informed by French poststructuralism and its debates over postmodernity, I reclaim, posthumously, Craig Owens’s theories on power and representation alongside allegory and appropriation as the key methodologies of post studio artistic practice. These methodologies challenge postmodernity through a heretofore undocumented intervention into modernism.


Aesthetics | Art Practice | Fine Arts


Insitute for Doctoral Studies in the Visual Arts


Portland ME

Towards an American Postmodernism: Allegory, Appropriation, and Post Studio’s Intervention into Modernism



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