Nicholas Croggon

May 2016

Taking Prof. Rosalind Krauss' class was a privilege, and in its best moments, a joy. If you like 20th century art—especially Cubism, de Stijl, and Russian Constructivism, all of which receive their due time—then you will love this class. Krauss draws on literature, history, linguistics, and semiotics to present arguments about the course of twentieth century art. It should be noted that the real span of the course is the 1900s to late 1960s, with brief mentions of the Pictures generation and some later Minimalism and Concept art. The textbook, of course, extends well into those decades. (Even if you don't take this course, I would recommend the textbook, which has gorgeous illustrations and engaging prose. Krauss is one of the four authors.) Additionally, in terms of content, there is no real coverage of post-Impressionism, but Cézanne, Gauguin, van Gogh, and Seurat are all mentioned, so you would be wise to read up on them a little before taking this class. Otherwise, a simple willingness to learn—and at times to grapple with Derrida and Foucault—is more than enough. Krauss' lectures, while engaging and illustrative, were often short—sometimes even just 30 minutes long. I never found them hard to follow, as other reviewers did, but it is frustrating to hear a teacher talk about cutting content because the semester is too short and then end class halfway through each day. As for my TA, I have only the highest praise. Nick came prepared every day with a PowerPoint and a clear lesson plan. He was easily available outside of class and via email, and he led discussions in a way that was both open and productive, guiding us just the right amount.