Wednesday, July 25, 2012


By the mid-1970s it was evident that a major shift in the political and social climate of Western industrial countries was taking place. This new situation produced stress in academia, especially in the humanities.i
In the larger society the optimism that had accompanied an extraordinay thirty-year run of economic progress yielded to deep foreboding about the future. Even before, unrest provoked by the unpopular Vietnam War had begun to erode the authority of Western governments, denying them the deference that had allowed interventionist policies to be implemented without public scrutiny. Advocates of third-world interests (and of ethnic minorities situated within the industrial societies) became more vocal. And demographic shifts reflecting new patterns of immigration were making Western societies less cohesive. As the East Asian nations flexed their economic muscles, the centrality of European-American civilization, which had almost been taken for granted during the thirty years of expansion, came into question. Indeed, continuing allegiance to this centrality elicited scorn in some quarters.  Insurgents claimed that "Eurocentrism" was simply a device to shore up a threatened status quo.

Academia Responds.
In the face of these changes the long-serene world of academia could not remain what it was. A new cohort of researchers entered the ranks, many of them eager to challenge the conventional wisdom of the established disciplines. This critique emanated in part from the programs in black studies and women's studies that had proliferated in American universities. The older justification for the humanities, that their assignment was to "civilize" students, came under attack.ii How in fact were students being changed by college instruction? If its mission was a civilizing one, how did it happen then (critics asked) that the humanities had contributed so little to the reduction of racism and sexism? Rather it seemed to these observers that culture, as defined by the academies, had simply bolstered the existing state of affairs. As if this were not enough, the critics claimed that university teaching and research had compromised themselves through complicity with reactionary social elements, such as militarism and class privilege.
Some in academia found these claims exaggerated. They suspected, moreover, that the radicals, unable to prevail at the ballot box, were seeking to carve out an alternative realm in a politicized university. From this base, it seemed, they were launching a new effort to transform society by indoctrinationg students. However, this may be, the mass of academics, true dwellers in the ivory tower, remained aloof. As a consequence of this inaction, the passionate conviction of the insurgents, abetted by many administrators eager to comply with changes deemed progressive, largely set the agenda.
The realignment was not felt uniformly: "hard science" and engineering were little affected, with the humanities and the social sciences the main theaters of action. At the heart of the struggle lay literary studies. In North America the established methodology, typified by the New Criticism, had been largely innocent of theory, using a "seat-of-the-pants" procedure under the assumption that literary texts lent themselves to an unproblematic, ad hoc interpretation.iii This approach, seemingly so well attuned to Anglo-Saxon empiricism and pragmatism, quickly withered under assault. The rebels required theoretical foundations for practice, a demand filled by importing ideas from Germany and France. These ideas found their ultimate rationale in the philosophical doctrines of such thinkers as Martin Heidegger and Edmund Husserl, Michel Foucault and Jacques Derrida. If those who rallied to the new theories--often propounded simply in the singular: "theory"--expected a simple set of invariant principles they were quickly undeceived. The new approaches had a strong relativistic (some would say nihilistic) component. Not only were older assumptions about particular meanings ascribed to literary works brought into question, but the possibility was broached that there could be no ultimate interpretation, that we must live with a radical indeterminacy.
At the same time iconoclastic voices from the newly established programs in ethnic and women's studies challenged the established canon of great literature as prescribed in university curricula. Why is it, they asserted, that the roster of great writers, from Plato to Joyce, consists almost solely of dead white European men (DWEMs)? Increasingly, demands were heard to expand the canon, to replace it with a new one, or to abandon the canon principle altogether.
The more radical attack on the canon meshed with an intense preoccupation with popular culture, as seen in film, television, rock music, and advertising. Younger scholars, whose had grown up in a new world saturated by the electronic media, took the lead in this reorientation. The contrast of high versus low culture came under attack as elitist and dualistic, and the expanded roster of studies was welcomed under a new rubric of "cultural studies."iv This movement has a strong political thrust. J. Hillis Miller, an older scholar of English and comparative literature sympathetic to the cultural-studies insurgents, has characterized their project in this way:
Their goal is the transformation of the university by realigning present departments and disciplines and establishing new ones. Through the refashioning of the university they want to dismantle the present dominant culture and empower ones that are at present peripheral--minorities, women, gays and lesbians, all those disadvantaged, silenced, without power. This empowering means not just preserving the minority cultures as they are or have been, but giving members of those minorities cultures the ability to transform their own cultural forms and to repair the damage done to them by the dominant culture in new self-determined and self-determining creations.v
These new currents--relativism, challenge to the canon, and cultural studies--meshed with the ideal of multiculturalism, which would, it was passionately urged, at last grant an appropriate place to non-European cultures abroad and also to groups of non-European origin encapsulated within the advanced industrial Implicit in this approach is a polar contrast between Western and non-Western. For too long, the multiculturalists avowed, Western civilization has been privileged; it is now time to give the rest of the world a chance. Yet usually glossed over in the multiculturalist project is that it confuses, usually implicitly rather than explicitly, two quite different objects of attention: autonomous cultures of non-European lands and minority cultures within European and Europe-derived societies. Studying a Japanese-American writer, however valuable for its own sake, tells us little about Lady Murasaki, and vice versa.
In any event, many teachers and scholars came to believe that the academy was not neutral. If older structures persisted, then academia stood condemned for its collusion with the corrupt established order. But by rallying to the new approaches, and teaching them to students, academics could make a contribution to positive social change.
New journals, such as Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, Critical Inquiry, Representations, and Genders became established institutions. Even those who did not agree with the programs espoused by these periodicals found them lively reading.
All this suggests that the shift in climate in the humanities was part and parcel of a left agenda, and indeed it was often advocated and perceived as such.vii Yet the principle of relativism of reading was not in itself leftist, and was even disdained by some advocates of social change as eroding the common ground of discourse on which radical appeals rested. In fact some who objected to the new approaches, such as the Marxist historians Elizabeth Fox-Genovese and Eugene Genovese, came from the left. Others felt that the new program was being imposed in an arbitrary and dictatorial manner, that its advocates, sure of the rightness of their cause, were not playing fair. These opponents, emphasizing the political aspect of the changes, termed them "political correctness" or PC for short.viii The PC controversy led to polarization and an alarming decline of civility on college campuses, while exposing them to ridicule from the outside world.
The closing decades of the twentieth century witnessed winds of change blowing in the humanities, sometimes with gale force. Although these currents blew somewhat less vigorously and a little later in the field of art history, blow they did. There was a sense that art history must bring itself up to date to keep pace with its sister disciplines. There was also dissatisfaction with the internal state of art history, which was felt to be too confined to the ivory tower and too formalist. The principles only recently deemed to have reached their final perfection in the method of Erwin Panofsky came to seem too smugly Olympian, selective, and formalist; they were unsuited to examining the political and social issues that had acquired, for some at least, great urgency. The classical tradition embodied in the art of ancient Greece and the Renaissance now seemed Eurocentric (perhaps even Germanocentric) and one-sided. Moreover, the methods and interests this tradition embodied had proven unsuited to the task of analyzing modern art, the distillation of our own sensibility. Yet these charges were exaggerated. The claim that established art history was exclusively formalist was refuted by the iconological work of Panofsky himself and the Warburg school from which he derived. As regards the charge of selectivity, earlier art history had not restricted itself to classical eras but had made important contributions to the study of medieval, Egyptian, and Near Eastern art. Links with other forms of cultural expression, such as literature and philosophy, had been forged. Furthermore, the socioeconomic matrix had not been entirely neglected. In the young Turks' indictment, the long history of art history itself, with its many changing methodologies and interests, was neglected, encouraging the myth that it started and remained locked into a kind of "one-note samba" of Wölfflinian formalism. To suit present-minded arguments the collective memory of the discipline, which this book has sought to restore, was foreshortened and caricatured.
During the 1980s postmodernism enjoyed the status of a vogue word.ix It came to be commonly accepted that modernism had been superseded, yielding to a triumphant successor. Yet there are two postmodernisms. In architecture the word designates a neo-historicism that feels free to raid the past to produce an eclectic pastiche. The reasons for this new openness included dissatisfaction with the austerity of the International Style, which in debased form produced soulless slabs; reaction against the devastation wrought by "urban renewal"; the positive trend towards rehabilitation of old buildings (historic preservation); a new understanding of neglected architectural styles; increased travel and exposure to different traditions on the part of architects; desire for variety, sentiment, and "fun" instead of antiseptic purity. By contrast, contemporary painting and sculpture negotiated no corresponding peace treaty with tradition. It was assumed that visual art would continue the momentum of "transgressive" innovations. Postmodern painting and sculpture often took the form of a jumbled mélange of high and low elements, which was thought to expose the "gauze of representation"--the superficial understanding that the mass media encourage.  Social protest on behalf of women, ethnic minorities, and gays, became common, often employing deliberately crude means, as seen in a number of the Whitney Museum Biennials.
Despite this conflict, the two postmodernisms shared common features. There was a widespread reaction against the kind of purity and formalism associated with the critic Clement Greenberg; this approach, which had sought to provide sure touchstones of quality, came to seem provincial and time-bound.
In view of its diversity, there arose the question of whether the postmodern phenomena really mark a break from modernism, or merely continue it. One must guard against fetishing the term "postmodernism." The popularity of the term may simply signal an undue preoccupation with periodization, born of art historical study and an interest in detecting breaks and discontinuities.
With all these elements in ferment many art historians, especially new recruits to the field, concluded that the time for change had come. For some years they had been looking enviously at the exciting new trends that seemed to be sweeping the study of literature, philosophy, and mainstream history. Why should the study of art lag behind? As agents for change, the potential of psychoanalysis and Marxism, of structuralism and poststructuralism must, they held, be assessed. More broadly, there was a strong sense that art and the study of art must no longer linger in the sacred groves of ethical neutrality, but should emerge to take stands on the burning issues of the day. Such commitments came to seem more urgent as the contemporary art world plunged into controversy. In the age of AIDS and sexual frankness artists addressed issues that made many lay people uncomfortable. As a result, the new art encountered a rising tide of demands for censorship from such conservative activists as the Reverend Donald Wildmon of Tupelo, Mississippi, and Senator Jesse Helms of North Carolina.

Deconstruction: Method or Mode?
The new trends in art history take much of their nourishment from conceptual shifts in the humanities generally. As has been noted above, the forces conditioning these changes in the humanities are disparate, impelled in part by differing social agendas. Still, the insurgents have achieved a certain consensus in their aim of radically reorganizing the humanities under the banner of cultural studies. Central to the new approach are the following principles: denial of the assumption that there are fixed, stable realities or truths that reason can uncover; distrust of the "essentialist" belief that there are transhistorical constants of human nature; skepticism about the capacity of language to mirror the external world; rejection of the ideal (and possibility) of objectivity and neutrality in the realm of scholarship; scorn for models of influence and development regarded as mechanical and self-generating; questioning of accepted ideas of periodization and stylistic sequences; denial that art itself is an autonomous category; and rejection of the idea of a canon of accepted masterpieces and the great figures ("geniuses") who created them. As these points indicate, there is more agreement about what should be rejected or questioned than about any doctrines to be positively embraced. Still, one should not be too quick to dismiss such approaches as simple negativism. Austere and ultraskeptical as it may seem, renunciation of positive assertion has forebears in the Dionysian tradition of medieval Europe and the Taoist philosophy of the Far East.
Pervasive as the climate of interrogation has been, one also discovers a certain parting of the ways. Some adherents of these views are radical skeptics, who believe that one must always doubt and question. Others regard the work of challenge and destruction as only a first stage; once the dismantling is completed, one can proceed to the erection of a new structure of ideas that will both accord with reality and serve to advance the cause of human liberation.
The bill of particulars just outlined owes much to European thinkers, such as Jacques Derrida, Jacques Lacan, and Michel Foucault. Ideas stemming from these Continental sources have been proffered as a new theory of culture. Whatever the merits of individual components, there remains the question of whether they add up to a unified body of thought--the theory of deconstruction, to acknowledge the most popular label. Indeed, many adherents of deconstruction insist that it cannot be summarized; its power lies in the details. For this reason any attempt to summarize the theory (including the one presented in the following paragraphs) will be dismissed by deconstructionists as inadequate. In the belief that the principle of the unity of knowledge requires that all theories submit to examination, that attempt is nonetheless essayed here.
What are the sources of this much heralded movement? During the second half of the twentieth century, American intellectuals eagerly embraced three major imports, all from France, but finding great success in North America: exi­stential­ism, structuralism, and deconstruc­tion.  French provenan­ce, yes, but made in France?--th­at is not so sure.  Behind the first and third of these fashions stands the portentous figure of the authoritarian German Martin Heidegger (1889-1976), whom some regard as the greatest thinker of our age.
In a common pattern, Jean-Paul Sartre and Maurice Merleau-Ponty crafted their own versions of existentialism from Central European sources.  France has, after all, made little significant original contribution to philosophy in two-hundred years.  At all events Francoph­ile Americans jumped at the bait: the "new" thought was more appet­izing in this Francophone version than in its Teutonic materia prima.  After World War II the Nazi era had made Germany itself seem taboo; its intellectual products could only be assimilated if, in effect, they had passed through French customs. With its interest in such matters of ultimate concern as life, death, and human consciousness, existentialism con­trasted with the more rigorous, but often forbidding­ly austere and technical writings of the Anglo-American analytic school--as seen, for example, in the logical studies of Peter Strawson and Saul Kripke.  The English and American thinkers seemed have sacrificed significance for the sake of precision. In the 1940s a pattern was set: one could go to France for prescriptions to remedy the perceived anemia of native thought.
Structuralism is an intellectual movement that analyzes the meaning of cultural products as functions of their position in a system, rather than in isolation.x Stemming from the linguistics of Ferdinand de Saussure (a French-Swiss thinker trained in Germany), structuralism owed much of its prestige to its promulgation by the psychologist Jean Piaget and the anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss. The insurrectionary events of May 1968 focused interest on the French capital as a center of new ideas--some hoped of revolutionary ideas.  With its links to semiotics, structuralism seemed, especially when it was first imported in the 1960s, to offer promise of a unified-field theory of the humanities--a welcome contrast to the atheoretic­al approach that seemed to prevail in the literary New Criticism of Cleanth Brooks and John Ransom and the formalist art criticism of Clement Greenberg.
At a 1966 Johns Hopkins University conference, intended to celebrate structuralism, the then-little-known French thinker Jacques Derrida decided to "jump ship."xi  His paper, critical of struc­turalism, ranks as the opening salvo of decon­struc­tion, at least on our own shores.  Apart from the play on the root struct-, the neologism seems to harbor residues of Heidegge­r's terms Destruktion and Abbau (dismantling or "unbuilding").  Deconstruction is a literary and philosophical hermeneutics that adheres to a radical relativism and indeterminacny of interpretation. The trend gained a major beachhead at Yale University, owing in large measure to the exertions of the Belgian critic Paul de Man. Yet De Man's reputation was to be tainted by a major scandal that broke out shortly after his death in 1983.  The young De Man, it was revealed, wrote pro-Nazi and anti-Semitic columns for two Belgian collaborationist newspapers, an activity he successfully concealed throughout his later career.xii
It is a remarkable fact that since about 1985 deconstruction has been abandoned in France. Moreover, it has faded in almost every other country in the advanced Western world to which it had at one point gained entree--save the United States.  What is the reason for this American exceptionalism--one might better say provincialism--in prolonging with such extraordinary fervor a fashion that has met such rejection elsewhere?  Part of the explanati­on may be that a once-pragmatic cultural milieu, having discove­red its appetite for theory, is striving to keep some kind of theory rather than have none.  The seductive power of the "demon of progress" makes many people--especially graduate students--receptive to something that claims to be new and iconoclastic. 
These claims are seductive but dubious. In fact, deconstruc­tion has been misleadingly packaged as methodolog­ical radicalism, its merchants finding shelter under the capacious tent of postmodernism.  This purported radicalism is also touted as politically emancipatory--­though some leftist commentators cogently challenge this claim.  The clouds of jargon generated by deconstruction keep it an exclusive club unlikely to be offer sustenance to those who are truly op­pressed.  To those privileged souls who so profitably profess it at our elite universities the ability to deploy the arcane patter sets them apart from the common herd.  This point leads to the final reason for the spread of deconstruction in the United States; our decentr­alized university system makes it possible for some departments (with English at Duke University currently in the forefront) to be colonized by some new trend while others resist it.  The pseudoimpressiveness of university acolytes of deconstruction seems to sway tenure committees--and to facilitate the writing of long-winded books--so the ranks of the faithful increase.
Let us look at the other side of the coin. Why did the French desert deconstruction? One would expect them to remain loyal to their own creation, cult though it may have been.  A prime document of the shift is the book of Ferry and Renaut, a landmark of disillusionment which shows that what united so many of these thinkers (Derrida, Foucault, Althusser) was their contempt for humanism.xiii  For a time this obsecration of humanism looked wickedly daring-­-not unlike denying God in an earlier day.  Yet eventually the jettisoning came to seem profoundly disempowering, since one cannot advocate human rights in the absence of humanism.  The career of one chef de file, the Marxist-structuralist Louis Althusser, who in a fit of madness murdered his wife in 1980, stood for many as a salutary warning of the real-life dangers of antihumanism.xiv Moreover, knowledgeable observers noticed that in all their central doctrines the "new" thinkers fed on older German thought, which--through inadequate knowledge of the language and faulty scholarship--they often misunderstood.  Above all, they were dependent on Heidegger, whose affinity with National Socialism could no longer be hidden after the 1987 French publication of the critique of Víctor Farías', a Chilean scholar living in Europe.

Martin Heidegger.
Farías and others have shown that Heidegg­er's involvement with Nazism was not, in the convenient myth spread by his sympathizers, a mere episode, but rested on profound sympathies and convictions.xv Throughout the years of Hitler's Reich Heidegger never gave up his Party membership.  Moreover, this adherence was founded not on simple opportunism or sentimental loyalty, but reflected authoritarian currents present in his thinking from his first publications onwards. Heidegger embraced Nazism because he recognized a deep spiritual kinship. Yet, faced with the evidence, many still hold that his merits are so formidable that they outweigh his handicaps; fifteen years after his death, the Swabian pundit has more adherents and interpreters than ever.  Why?  In a nutshell the main elements of Heidegger's appeal are: antihuma­n­ism in a post-Nietz­schean mold; oracular pronouncements on objects of ultimate concern filtered through a dense pseudoetym­ological jargon; the claim to have opened the way to a return to a lost paradise characterized by wholeness of being; the purported "radical" break with Western traditions of metaphysi­cs and logic; and scornful disdain of technology and the consumer society. 
For all his wrongheadedness, Heidegger wrote at least one masterpiece, the poetic meditation Sein und Zeit (Being and Time; 1927). While this text refers only glancingly to the visual arts, he addressed them in his 1935 essay "The Origin of the Work of Art."xvi Here the German thinker analyzed a Vincent Van Gogh painting of a pair of worn shoes as witnesses of the earthbound life of a female peasant. Commenting on this passage, Meyer Schapiro showed that the shoes were in actuality those of the artist himself, so that Heidegger's eulogy of them as attestations of the pathos of rural life miscarries.xvii  Yet even in the oeuvre of Van Gogh this canvas stands out for its revolutionary inversion of traditional Western hierarchies of significance, so that Heidegger was not wrong to single it out.
The "Origin of the Work of Art" also contains some perceptive remarks about the Greek temple. In fact, the metaphor of architecture pervades Heidegger's writings, and he has made a number of perceptive--though characteristically sybilline--remarks about building.xviii On the one hand, architecture is "homely" because it provides our dwellings, the abodes in which we abide. On the other, as seen in temple precincts (though not only them), it declares the invisible. In such reflections, Heidegger's characteristic wordplay abounds. For example, he emphasizes the term Riss, which means both "rift" and "plan," in turn generating Grundriss (groundplan) and Aufriss (elevation)--the two graphic renderings architects need to produce to have their structures erected. With a more general reference to the environment, Heidegger's strictures on the abuses of technology in the modern world have given encouragement to Europe's "Greens" (ecology parties).

Jacques Derrida.
Time will tell whether Jacques Derrida, in many respects Heidegger's successor, will achieve his staying power.  How should one characterize Derrida? Some admirers claim that the French thinker is commonly misperceived as a literary or cultural critic, for he is really a philosopher with a special competence in the thought of the phenomenologist Edmund Husserl.xix  However, in a 1980 statement the pontiff of deconstruction averred that his original focus was the principles of literary crit­icism; subsequently he took on the study of Husserl when this first concern required it.  Two other influences are problematic. Disappointing in this light is the defensive rhetoric which Derrida--himself Jewish--has generated to explain the links with his authoritarian mentor Martin Heidegger and his colla­borationist friend Paul de Man.
Adepts insist that one must read all of Derrida before one can criticize him (and then one can only do it from within--as a believer).  This demand is unreasonable, for many of the "Derrid­ada" texts are ambiguous in the extreme, with excursions into wordplay so capricious that in some instances no one can be sure of the meaning.  Moreover, the notion that Derrida must be swallowed whole or not at all is an argument from authori­ty: because Derrida is such a great man, it seems, we must not subject his statements to ordinary scrutiny­.  Yet this canonization, this worship of a "great man" is supposed to be one of the bad old habits that the theory deconstructs!
What, then, is wrong with Derridean deconstruction?  Here is a partial catalogue.xx
1.  It situates itself on an Everest high above the ordinary rules of logic--only to descend again to seemingly logical arguments in order to rebut criticism. 
2.  By programatically refusing to commit itself to state-
men­ts that are testable and refutable, it opens the way to subjectivism. Some find this subjectivism, replete with paradox and word-play, beguiling, others boring. But the price that is paid is the destruction of the common ground of intellectual life.
3.  Deconstruction veers towards solipsism by collapsing the realm of the sign with that of its referent: "There is no outside."xxi The text (or the work of art) becomes a self-sufficient cosmos unrelated to anything else. Dismissing the correspondence theory of truth, it abandons itself to a joyous "free play of signifiers."
4. The notion of différance, whereby any idea glides ineluctably towards its opposite, undermines the Aristotelian principle of contradiction. This principle is not only an essential tool of political analysis, allowing us to contrast democratic societies with authoritarian ones, but a fundamental resource of thought itself.
5.  Deconstruction fosters an arcane and barbarous jargon that makes it easy to disguise banalities as brilliant insights.  In some adepts this jargon constitutes a kind of boilerplate obviating the need for grappling with hard choices.  Certainly many deconstructionists seem to be first-draft writers, throwing a swarm of words onto a computer screen or presenting a rambling sound recording to be transcribed for immediate publication.  In practice, deconstruction is often a patter discipline with little real content of its own.
5.  Deconstruction's disdain for objective truth makes it possible to cover up the anti-Semitism of the young Paul de Man--and even, in one extraordinary démarche, to posit that de Man, a privileged and protected inhabitant of German-occu­pied Belgium, was himself somehow a Jew, a victim of the very tyranny with which he opportunistically allied himself! At its worst, deconstruction is an Orwellian maze of différance in which war is peace, falsity is truth, and Nazism is Judaism.
For the neophyte deconstruction is hard, but only at first; soon it becomes all too easy.  The apparatus of jargon opens the possibi­lity of turning oneself into a writing machine, cranking out "texts" that are just subjective commonplaces clothed in arcane verbiage.  Research of the time-honored kind requires hard work and risk taking; the deconstructionist takes no risks because any facile reflections can be dressed up in the lingo and spuriously offered as a "new contribution to knowledge."  Granted that the miasma of deconstruction occasionally lifts to reveal clumps of sense--useful insights light the way through the writings of such lesser fry as Roland Barthes and Jean-François Lyotard--­but aren't there more profita­ble ways of spending time than searching for rare interludes of satisfaction in this wasteland?
To be sure, when a system of thought appears that claims to be new, it is well to give it a fair trial.  But the honeymoon is over now: the waiver granted by the trial period has expired, and deconstruction must now submit, however unwillingly, to the same critical scrutiny as that incumbent on any other system­.  However much the acolytes may long for such protection, deconstruction cannot be secured by any magic circle of fire.  As the process of interrogation inexorably proceeds no one should be bullied into accepting an obscure and oracular system simply because it is hard to understand.  Obscurity is no virtue.  If deconstruction principles cannot be formulated with a clarity sufficient to permit critics to weigh and test them, then they deserve to be consigned in that particular dustbin of history that is reserved for passing intellectual fashions.
The question as to whether deconstruction is a method or a mode has yielded an answer: it is the latter. Yet when all is said and done the historian will be faced with the task of explaining the appeal of such a fashion. Deconstruction's success may be seen against the backdrop of the previous dominance of an idealistic concept of the work of art as an autonomous icon, perfect in and of itself, and only awaiting the intervention of the decoder. Deconstruction usefully eroded this notion, shared by the New Criticism reigning in literary study and the Panofskian synthesis of art history.
Deconstruction emphasized the creative role of the reader/beholder. Works of art do not simply "swim into the consciousness" of those who contemplate them, but are assimilated in an active process of reception. Emphasis on this reception process elevates the critic and art historian from the lowly position of self-effacing servants ministering to the great writers and artists to a status approaching equality. Yet the deep skepticism inherent in the deconstruction process has barred its adepts from stipulating criteria for evaluating the relative success of different critical projects. Surely, some notions, such as the idea that the anti-Semite Paul de Man was really Jewish, are simply absurd. But deconstruction, in some of its moods at any rate, seemed to advocate a kind of Dada theory of knowledge in which "anything goes." In fact, deconstruction could only arbitrate among critical theories by covertly invoking a theory of hierarchy. Derrida's pronouncements are superior in authority to those of his interpreter Christopher Norris and these in turn superior to those of the reader. In short, deconstruction has drawn attention to the creative role of interpretation, but it has shirked the task of formulating hermeneutic rules.
Another contribution of the overall deconstruction trend was to question the assumption of the harmony or integrity of the work of art, one of the most persistent dogmas of aesthetic theory. Deconstruction showed how things fall apart rather than how they hold together. Again, though, criteria are lacking. In order to understand how works of art may be complex and contradictory, we need a sense of the conflicting systems that inform them. But deconstruction poses as the enemy of all systems.xxii

Michel Foucault.
Standing somewhat apart from the main currents of deconstruction but very influential in his own right is the French historian and social philosopher Michel Foucault (1926-1984), whose interdisciplinary contributions were quite various.xxiii His multifarious writings are ambitious, but marred by vagueness and errors of detail.
Foucault's earlier work relies on the concept of "archaeology," the notion that Western civilization had experienced a succession of distinct eras, each characterized by its particular "episteme" or style of thinking.xxiv In fact, the French thinker had reinvented the wheel; he recreated Hegelian cultural history with its discrete eras, each governed by its distinctive time spirit, the progenitor of the episteme. Foucault also emphasized discontinuities in cultural development, so that he belongs to the general category of the catastrophists, who see sharp breaks in cultural development rather than a steady flow. Another concern was with total institutions, asylums, clinics, and prisons, which he regarded as paradigmatic of systems of control. Later, under the influence of Friedrich Nietzsche, Foucault advanced a "micro-physical" theory of power (sometimes termed "bio-power"), flowing through many small channels and meeting resistances. That is to say, power is not merely a matter of governments imposing rules from above, but is pervasive and consequently harder to resist. Advocates for social change found this concept depressing, as it showed that the enemies of emancipation could no longer be located in a few citadels of authority but were everywhere, perhaps even in ourselves. A surprise to some, his last books were concerned with the history of sexuality in ancient Greece and Rome; he completed reading the proofs of these two volumes just before he died of AIDS. Finally, Foucault is identified with the concept of discourse, a composite notion treating verbal themes and modes of exposition as vehicles for the social circulation of power.xxv
Foucault, with his sense of the social situation of human culture, would seem to have much to offer art historians. In fact in 1966 he seriously considered writing a monograph on Edouard Manet; later he produced texts on works of Diego Velázquez and René Magritte which many have found insightful.xxvi However, Foucault's theorizing of the total institution has little applicability to art organizations, which are not coercive in the sense he posited. The concept of discourse would require more specific studies of rhetorical strategies to be useful for the analysis of art writing. 
The Depth-Psychological Approach to the Creativity of Artists.
The writing of artists' biographies had long been a major aspect of art history. After the coming of the Winckelmannian program that concentrated on the development of art as a kind of impersonal force, biographies tended to take a back seat. Nonetheless popular demand for them continued, and the late decades of the nineteenth century saw the appearance of many examples with better information gleaned from careful archival research. At the same time curiosity abounded about the personal idiosyncracies of artists based on the romantic idea that their personalities were odd, perhaps even "near to madness allied."
This interest in distinctive qualities of artists took a special turn with the appearance of psychoanalysis, the movement that owes its start to the ideas set forth by Sigmund Freud at the turn of the twentieth century. (Later, several parallel but different systems were created, notably by Freud's former followers Alfred Adler and Carl Gustav Jung; it is convenient to place all these modes of interpretive psychology under the rubic of "depth psychology.")
Freud's creation of psychoanalysis, marked by intense self-examination, culminated in the major work Traumdeutung (The Interpretation of Dreams), published at the very end of 1899--but issued by the publisher with the date "1900" as if to inaugurate the new century. A series of papers followed, extending such key concepts as the dream-work, the unconscious, and sexuality into a variety of realms.
Even for a cultivated Viennese, Freud's interest in art and art history was exceptional. In an 1883 letter to his fiancée he disclosed his "discovery" of art in a visit to the Dresden gallery, famed for its outstanding Renaissance works. In 1898, during a visit to a Milanese bookshop, he purchased a volume by the connoisseur Giovanni Morelli. Morelli may have influenced him earlier, even affecting the emergence of psychoanalysis. In any case, Freud clearly recognized the affinity: "It seems to me that [Morelli's] method is closely related to the technique of psychonalysis." Morelli's critical method assembled seemingly minor clues in order to determine the authorship of paintings; by this means the authorship of a work was "unmasked." Similarly, psychoanalysis sought to strip away the ego defenses, revealing the individual's true identity.xxvii Thanks to the Morelli connection, Freud's tastes in art, which placed the Italian masters of the high Renaissance at the summit of achievement, achieved a particular inflection.
Freud had another consuming artistic interest, one which found realization in his own collection, consisting mainly of statuettes and other small works from the eastern Mediterranean: Greece, the Levant, and Egypt. To these cherished works he turned for relaxation between analytic sessions; like household gods, some of them also presided over his dinner table. They buttressed Freud's speculations on early cultures, as seen in Totem and Taboo (1913) and Moses and Monotheism (1937-39). These archaic objects have been kept together in his last establishment in London, which is now a museum.xxviii
Doubtless conditioned by his Jewish heritage, Freud's curiosity about the background of his antiquities led him to much serious reading in archaeology. This involvement paid a dividend in his own theorizing, for it helped to crystalize his concept of the three functions of the psyche, the superego, the ego, and the id, which are conceived as superimposed, horizontal zones, like archaeological strata, This triple scheme, set forth in 1923, was not part of the original repertory of psychoanlysis.
Freud's 1910 paper on "Leonardo da Vinci and a Memory of Childhood" has become the touchstone of the psychoanalytic interpretation of art.xxix Although this paper mainly concerned a giant of the Italian Renaissance, Freud managed to bring Egypt into it as well. He began by disavowing any intention of belittling the great artist, seeking simply to make a contribution to the understanding of his personality. Despite his brilliant gifts, Leonardo was a dilatory worker who had difficulty finishing his art works; he was often diverted by scientific pursuits, including his fascination with the possibility of flight. Leonardo's insecurities may stem from the fact that he was illegitimate, and brought up not by his natural mother but by his father's wife, who was childless.
Freud saw the key to Leonardo's psychology in his unconscious preoccupation with homosexual fellatio. In his view this preoccupation transpires in a recollection the artist jotted down of his early childhood. "It seems that I was always destined to be . . . deeply concerned with vultures: for I recall as one of my very earliest memories that while I was in my cradle, a vulture came down to me, and opened my mouth with his tail and struck me many times with its tail against my lips." Freud then entered on an enthusiastic archaeological digression, centering on the vulture-headed Eygptian mother-goddess Mut.
The art historian Meyer Schapiro subjected the Leonardo essay to withering He pointed out a key mistake in translation. Freud followed a German rendering (imitated in the translation given above) in which the bird, nibio or "kite," was wrongly rendered as "vulture." Since there was no vulture in Leonardo's original account, the cultural comparisons with vulture lore are otiose. Schapiro also noted that when Freud sought to extend his observations to works of art he was hampered by insufficient knowledge of the field. He assumed, for example, that the Anna Meterza theme, that is the Virgin and Child with St. Anne, was an invention anchored in Leonardo's mother fixation (which was in turn linked to his homosexuality); in fact the theme was common in North Italian painting of the time.
Apart from these missteps, this kind of analysis suffers from a basic problem of logistics. When Freud wrote, Leonardo had been dead for almost four centuries, and could not supply analytic material in the usual manner. It is curious that those using the psychoanalytic approach to art do not, for the most part, use material from living artists obtained in the analytic session. (Whitney Davis has suggested that Freud's case study of the "Wolf Man," an amateur artist who made a drawing of an early memory of his own could be used as a model, but the quality of the Wolf Man's art is so amateurish that this does not seem a very inspiring prototype.xxxi) In any event, modern psychoanalysts have followed Freud's lead in the Leonardo study and directed their attention to dead artists, from Michelangelo to Picasso.xxxii A clearing house for these studies is the annual edited (from 1985 onwards) by Mary Matthews Gedo, Psychoanalytic Perspectives on Art.xxxiii
Art and Psychoanalysis by Laurie Schneider Adams,xxxiv who is both an art historian and a psychoanalysis, illustrates the wide range such an approach affords. Instructively, the book also abounds in instances of inherent problems. As her starting points, Adams cites papers by Freud and those in his camp that are pertinent to the visual arts, also noting major critiques, as those by Meyer Schapiro and Leo Steinberg. She mingles these discussions with her own psychoanalytic interpretations of paintings, sculpture, and architecture, together with aspects of her clinical work with analysands she deems pertinent. Rejecting the presentmindedness of some psychoanalytically oriented art historians who address only works produced during the last century--works that are products of the same general cultural climate that gave rise to psychoanalysis--her scope embraces examples from European prehistory to the present. Adams leaves unargued the question of whether psychoanalysis is universally applicable or whether it relates essentially to our own age or our own culture. If psychoanalysis is universally valid, then why not extend the method to interpret East Asian or Pre-Columbian objects? Yet if it is limited to our own era, clinical evidence from contemporary clients may not be relevant to the interpretation of works by Leonardo and Michelangelo.
Adams declines to evaluate the ongoing--and very lively--discussions of the legitimacy of psychoanalysis itself as a discipline.xxxv She simply assumes this legitimacy, permitting herself to set up a kind of free-fire zone in which such problematic notions as the Oedipus complex, castration anxiety, bisexuality as arrested development, and the phallic woman are attached, almost casually, to well known artists and works. No standards of proof or disproof are adduced.
All this is not to say that psychoanalysis has no relevance for art at all. Freud's scientific status remains problematic, but his powers of persuasion have proved formidable. His writings influenced many contemporary writers and artists--surrealists in particular--including some figures like René Magritte who rejected his system as a whole.xxxvi
Still, these connections do nothing to secure the ultimate validity of psychoanalysis, any more than the statues of the Greek gods on the East pediment of the Parthenon establish the ultimate reality of the Hellenic religion. Ultimately the cogency of psychoanalytic studies in art depends upon the adequacy of psychoanalysis itself, and that is contested.xxxvii The overarching question which one can and must ask of psychoanalysis is: What is its logical status today? That is, apart from its role as a belief system held by psychoanalysts and their followers, can it claim standing as a scientific discipline? Broadly speaking, two approaches to this problem have been followed.
(1) The view urged by Sir Karl Popper is that its key propositions are so framed as to evade the test of refutability. Popper, a major philosopher of science, had shown that the key test of a scientific proposition is not its verifiability, but its refutability. Many appealing statements, which may have value in the realm of politics or human affairs, illustrate the temptation to frame statements that are not refutable. Take for example, the slogan "The people united will never be defeated." If the people (however defined) are in fact defeated, one can always claim that this disaster occurred because they were not united. Thus the statement may be an effective rallying cry, but it is not a proposition that has any predictive value, precisely because of the fact that it always "comes true." If Popper is right, psychoanalysis casts its propositions with escape clauses of this type, so that they defy the test of refutability. Hence it enjoys no scientific status.
(2) However, other observers, including some sharp critics of psychoanalysis, have contradicted Popper, asserting that its key concepts are indeed properly formulated--though they may fail empirical tests. The problem is that such testing has scarcely been undertaken. After a rigorous review of the problem, the philosopher Adolf Grünbaum has concluded that "If there exists empirical evidence for the principal psychoanalytic doctrines, it cannot be obtained without well-designed extraclinical studies of a kind that are for the most part yet to be attempted." The sort of free-association in the clinical setting that is commonly offered as evidence is not persuasive. Grünbaum proposes that such therapeutic successes as psychoanalytic treatment may have enjoyed can be explained by its function as a placebo. Even assuming that psychoanalysis harbors some propositions that can meet strict standards of empirical testing, it may be that many will not. For example, extensive studies have attacked the psychoanalytic notion that paranoia is linked to homosexuality because the paranoid represses his homosexual wishes. In this construct, homosexuality is affirmed by overt behavior and sentiments, and also by their absence. This "heads I win, tails you lose" argument functions to evade the criteria of refutability.
Some, though not all feminists, have been critical of Freud's male-centered point of view. Others have questioned his ethical standards, his social Darwinism, and even suggested that certain key doctrines were created while he was addicted to cocaine.
If after almost a century of existence, the value of psychoanalysis has not been conclusively established, perhaps it should be discarded. But its adepts resist doing so. Wherein, then, lies the attraction?  The ultimate roots of psychoanalysis lie in romanticism with its conviction that feeling rather than logic is central to human existence. In addition, psychoanalysis is a megasystem, or world view, that seems to have all the answers; such systems have the appeal of a religion or all-embracing philosophy. And indeed psychoanalysis filled a practical void left by the recession of religious practice: the analytical session served as a form of confession. Authority figures were attracted by the potential for social control: rebellious youths learned to "adjust." In this light psychoanalysis functioned as an instrument of regimentation posing as liberation. 
Another methodological caveat is in order. Even if the foundations of psychoanalysis were perfectly sound, one would still have to assess its value in relation to particular artistic problems. Even employing a better-grounded methodology, such as that of semiotics, some commentators have stumbled. And no system offers a universal hermeneutic key. To continue the comparison with semiotics, several gifted scholars have sought to apply this discipline to the study of cubism, but with results that have left other specialists unimpressed. Its triumphs in linguistics, anthropology, and popular culture notwithstanding, semiotics may not be well suited to the study of paintings.
Psychoanalysis focused attention on the individual creator. Regardless of its ultimate fate, a need for probing biographies of artists remains. This does not mean that one should blithely accept the current fashion for sensationalizing accounts of the sexual and excretory behavior of such artists as Picasso and Pollock; this gossip should probably be banished to the supermarket tabloids.
A very different approach to art derives from the work of the Swiss analytic psychologist Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961), who was associated with Freud from 1907 to 1912, breaking with him in the latter year. As a medical student at the turn of the century Jung had encountered a mental patient who produced a circular diagram. During World War I, as a form of self-therapy, the psychologist began to produce such diagrams himself. Recognizing their relationship to the cosmic diagrams of Indian religion, he termed them mandalas.xxxviii Subsequently, Jung's investigations of these forms acquired a parallel in his fascination with the symbolism of alchemy, which he regarded as the vehicle of an ancient mode of thought driven underground by officially recognized philosophy and religion.xxxix These delvings into then little known modes of visual expression, found independently in many parts of the world, led him to conclude that the imagery reflected a set of universals, the archetypes of the "collective unconscious."
Such followers as Marie-Louise von Franz, Aniela Jaffé, Erich Neumann, and James Hillman have elaborated Jung's interests into a method of investigating visual symbolism. To non-Jungians, however, all this seems problematic. The Asian mandalas are probably better understood as embodiments of specific Buddhist, Tantric, and Taoist cosmic conceptions than as manifestations of some universal archetypal system. Students of alchemy--admittedly a difficult subject--are inclined to believe that Jung imposed a psychological content not present in the originals on its imagery. Finally, the core concept of the "collective unconscious" strikes many as mystical and undemonstrable. Nonetheless, Jung directed attention to the remarkable imagery produced by mental patients, an interest that resurfaced in the 1990s as "outsider art." The formal similarities of the work of these untrained individuals, working in isolation at many different times and places, call for an explanation.xl

Feminist Art History.
It is common knowledge that the first women's movement began in the middle of the nineteenth century to secure suffrage for women and to combat their exploitation in a male-centered society. What is less well known is that the movement also sparked contributions to knowledge, including knowledge of art's past. The first women's movement fostered a number of surveys of the achievements of women artists.xli After 1920 the movement ebbed, and with it the scholarship that it had brought forth. So these studies had to be reinvented in our own day.
The "Second Wave" of political feminism beginning in the 1960s yielded a far greater scholarly harvest. The first official program in women's studies began at San Diego State University in 1969. By 1982 there were 350 such programs, and the number continued to mount despite the conservative atmosphere of the Reagan-Bush years. In 1992 there were 620 women's studies programs.
The era also witnessed a major intervention in the world of art, one that proved intense and many-sided. Women artists organized in collective bodies to demand more access to exhibitions and museums. Two of the most prominent are the Women's Caucus for Art, a mainstream professional association, and the Guerrilla Girls, an anonymous group based in New York City that has dramatized continuing discrimination against women artists through its "in-your-face" posters. Periodicals such as Feminist Art Journal and Women's Art Journal came into existence, paralleling women's studies journals in other disciplines. As there was already a large pool of women trained as art historians, those who were inclined were well equipped to contribute to the discussion--though it took time for the conceptual armature to be elaborated.xlii (A number of male art historians, some of them gay, have also adopted a feminist methodology.)
During the 1970s feminist art historians placed a priority on recovering the works and biographies of neglected artists of the past, such as Artemisia Gentileschi, Judith Leyster, and Louise Elisabeth Vigée-Lebrun. Pioneering surveys were produced by Eleanor Tufts; Karen Peterson and J. J. Wilson; and Linda Nochlin and Ann Harris.xliii These surveys paved the way for the weighty monographs on individual artists that distinguished the 1980s and 1990s. Recuperations were not limited to makers of art; Claire Richter Sherman and Adele M. Holcomb were able to present a substantial cohort of nineteenth- and twentieth-century women art scholars.xliv
A vital corollary to this activity was the conviction that women artists of the present must not suffer the fate of their foremothers; in fact, they are still engaged in a fight to obtain exhibitions and critical attention appropriate to their numbers. At the same time, it was recognized that the recuperative endeavor would never--for the past at least--yield a roster equivalent to that of men. This imbalance was the subject of Linda Nochlin's 1971 essay, "Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?"xlv In this text, one of the most widely read contributions of all recent art history, Nochlin pointed out that the creation of artists is not an immaculate conception, but is conditioned by a host of social factors. The exclusion of women from academies and art schools, where drawing from the male nude was part of the curriculum, served to deny women training and credentialing. Initially controversial because it was regarded as mere sociology of art, Nochlin's essay later came to be questioned by radical feminists who dismissed the whole idea of greatness in art. Such are the perils of being a pioneer in scholarship.
Much of the activity of the 1970s focused on gaining and diffusing information about the past and securing the acceptance of women in the art world of the present. At the same time, radical voices began to be heard asking whether women should be content with integration into a male system. This contrast mirrored a long-standing conflict between two types of advocates for social change: the reformers, who believe that the present system can be corrected, and the radicals, who wish to overthrow the system and replace it with another.
At all events the radicals asked important questions. Could it be that for the male canon a parallel female one was being assembled? Instead, shouldn't one challenge the very notion of the canon? The contrast between great and nongreat artists was questioned. Some writers adopted a version of Roland Barthes' idea of the death of the author, suggesting that "the artist" is just a metaphor for a vortex of social forces flowing through this individual. This concept is probably too self-denying for most artists, who understandably seek recognition as individuals. Moreover, as Broude and Garrard point out, "if followed to its extreme and logical conclusions, the death of the author as subjective agent posited by postmodernism may lead only to the death of feminism as an agent for positive political--or, indeed, art-historical--change."xlvi Finally, if greatness is rejected, do not all artists, male and female, face the prospect of returning to the modest status of craftspeople that was dominant in the Middle Ages?
Others adopted a more specific focus. The possibility of a distinctive feminist sensibility was explored, as well as the idea of the presentation of female sexuality in art. Yet these discussions exposed a dilemma. Women's distinctiveness in art seemed to require commitment to "essentialism" which treated differences that were probably as much cultural in origin as transhistorical.xlvii On the other hand, if one gave up the idea of female distinctiveness, then the aim of securing justice for women artists and their concerns seemed less urgent.
The imagery of the past has elicited the interest of many younger scholars. Renaissance and Baroque prints offer a rich array: from the Madonna and saints, through such heroines as Lucretia and Judith to the temptresses Eve and Venus and women who usurp male prerogatives.xlviii Fortuna, often identified with inconstancy, was of course depicted as a woman--but then so were such virtues as Justice and Victory. In the nineteenth-century artists elaborated a more diffuse concept of women's sphere.xlix Inquiries into these and other themes disclosed a long record of misogyny, a useful reminder that neglect, deplorable as it has been, was often accompanied by open hostility. Some felt that these examinations, though valuable in their own right, were more of a contribution to social history than to the history of art.
As the 1980s advanced, fundamental assumptions of traditional ("patriarchal") art history came into question. Committed scholars proposed new ways of interpreting all art. For example, have women viewers looked at art in a different way from men viewers? This question of gaze and the "viewer's share" became a major concern in the 1980s.
During this phase British feminist art historians made a major contribution, drawing on a wide range of sources, including psychoanalysis, Marxism, and French theory. Women film scholars, above all Laura Mulvey, blazed a trail in the introduction of ideas from these sources. Some British art scholars, such as Griselda Pollock, asserted that art history itself had failed; as currently practiced it remains "phallocratic" and complicit in the prolongation of the unequal status of women.l Art history must be dismantled and replaced by something better. Significantly, Pollock used military metaphors: contest for terrain; occupation of the enemy's territory.
As this new work gained greater attention a difference emerged between "social constructionist" and "liberal" feminist scholars. The first group, including Pollock and her allies, attacked the notion that art was produced for pure private consumption by geniuses with special insights. They saw the existing art system as deeply compromised by its embrace of consumer capitalism, and its resulting contribution to the continuing mystification of race, class, and gender. In the social constructionist view, art and art history cannot be simply reformed, but must be delegitimized and dismantled as part of a larger program of social reconstruction. By contrast, liberal or centrist art historians "continue to maintain the liberal or Enlightenment notion that artists (of both sexes) have individual identities and voices that are not solely the products of societal forces, and that are not invariably anti-feminist. Like the other group ... liberal feminists recognize art's historic functioning as a tool or residual effect of oppression, but they would point also to its historical uses as an instrument of dissent and resistance."li In this way the discipline of art history will be gradually transformed from within. As this discussion shows, there are areas of overlap between the two groups and, despite some sharp exchanges, women of differing theoretical allegiances have shown considerable solidarity.
The standard model of the way in which the production of the artist relates to the work of the art historian and critic is a one-sided one in which the former always precedes the latter. The acceptance of this model has been complicated by an adversarial relationship between those who make art and those who write about it. For those active in the women's art movement this adversarial confrontation has decidedly diminished. Such artists as Judy Chicago, Mary Kelly, and Barbara Kruger have sought to incorporate into their works information and insights gleaned from women scholars and critics. The link between artist-feminists and writer-feminists has been highlighted by the use of words within the art works. Interaction between image-makers and word professionals has always occurred, but it has recently been foregrounded through the sense that women artists and women writers are engaged in a common struggle to create a sphere of autonomy in a culture that continues to be dominated by patriarchal discourse.
Feminist concerns have encouraged research into associations of art and architecture with sex differences--with "gendering" in short. The Roman architectural theorist Vitruvius glossed the Greek orders in terms of gender. "So the Doric column began to furnish the proportion of a man's body, its strength and grace" (De architectura, 4.1.6). This order is particularly suited to temples dedicated to male gods. But a temple of Diana requires the "feminine slenderness" of the Ionic. The third order, the Corinthian was supposed to be modeled on the proportions of a young maiden. During the Middle Ages and the Renaissance buildings themselves took on human attributes; the basilican plan, with its transepts (arms) and chevet (literally head) was likened to a supine man, while residences were thought of as being protected by a "skin" or outer integument. In Roman baroque palazzi, sober historical analysis permits the identification of distinctive women's apartments and their function.lii During the nineteenth century some associationist writers characterized Gothic architecture as male and Renaissance architecture as female.liii An inappropriate combination of the two styles risked a charge of "transvestism." A symposium held at the Princeton School of Architecture in 1990 explored various aspects of the gendering of space, including gay and lesbian perceptions.liv
The metaphorics of gender inform other arts besides architecture. A clear case has to do with categories of abstract nouns that in the personification allegories of the classical, medieval, and humanistic art traditions usually appeared as female figures. The reason for this preference is that in Latin such abstract qualities as justitia and libertas, as well as names of countries such as Britannia and Hispania, were of the feminine gender. Most European languages (with the principal exception of English) retain this gendered grammatical classification, hence the continuing female predominance in personification imagery. Perhaps because recent art using such personifications is generally academic, this iconography has been neglected--though New York's Statue of Liberty is an Female personifications certainly go against the purported rule that gendering in art always privileges the male. Sometimes it does, of course. According to Patricia L. Reilly, the centuries-long contest of form and color, whereby the latter (which, at one extreme point, was even identified with the painted faces of prostitutes) tends to be treated as the inferior, has often been enacted as a contrast between the male and female principles.lvi
The subtle (sometimes too subtle) methodology of gendering supplements the older concern with explicitly erotic art. This interest brought about a useful effort to gather and publish examples of material that had been taboo, but the endeavor failed to bring forth an interpretive foundation on which to build.lvii The attack by some feminists on pornography has led to an effort to distinguish visual pornography from erotic art; the discussion is clouded by parti pris on both sides.lviii
Serious study of erotic themes requires that they be viewed within their historical context. A fascinating category is that of the droleries in the margins of Gothic manuscripts, where the gross, often scatological figures provide an ironic commentary to the sacred images that commonly appear on the same page.lix Such marginalia have their counterpart in the fabliaux or ribald tales of medieval vernacular literature, but the decoding of their secrets is a complex procedure permitting only piecemeal progress.
A model study is Leo Steinberg's examination of Renaissance motifs pertaining to the sexuality of Christ.lx The fundamental premise of this work is that it is not sufficient simply to catalogue the erotic themes in a given sector of past art. To leave the matter at this stage risks anachronistically retrieving the works only to exile them into some present context, while obscuring the necessity that commanded their appearance in the first place.
In a number of significant paintings and prints of the life of Christ the New York scholar observed an emphasis on genitalia, especially in infancy and death scenes. Steinberg shows that these manifestations reflect neither Renaissance prurience nor age-old folklore invading Christian subject matter. Rather, they reveal the intersection--one might almost say the collision--of a traditional theological theme that emphasized the integral humanity of the incarnate Christ with the new striving of the Renaissance artist to achieve visual wholeness. The Renaissance artists rejected the selective, symbolic presentation of Christ's body favored during the Middle Ages, replacing it with a holistic version obedient to its naturalist imperative. In Steinberg's view, the significance of the genitalia is not that they are visually present, but that they are shown through hand gestures or other indicia--as irrefutable evidence of Christ's human nature.
Viewed in this way, the eroticism vanishes--or does it? The title of Steinberg's monograph speaks of "modern oblivion." Paradoxically, later generations, guided by the proverbial Mrs. Grundy, actually eroticized this category of Christ images by seeking to deeroticize it--by tabooing discussion of the matter or, in many cases, by overpainting the works so as to minimize or obscure the Lord's penis. This later history suggests that an account of visual bowdlerism, the excision of motifs because they came to seem unacceptable, would be fruitful. The story of the loincloths Daniele da Volterra was instructed to paint by pope Paul IV (1558) on the nudes in Michelangelo's Last Judgment is well known; moreover, the recent cleaning has confirmed that the Florentine authorities in the same period saw fit to disguise the genitalia of Masaccio's Adam in the Brancacci Chapel in Florence--with a tree branch.lxi

Gay and Lesbian Scholarship.
The history of gay and lesbian studies is much older than many assume--going back at least to the middle of the nineteenth century.lxii Until recently, however, homoerotic aspects of the visual arts have been relatively neglected, despite the emergence of vigorous gay and lesbian movements in many countries.lxiii Given the persecution and obloquy that have so regularly been meted out to sexual nonconformists, disguise ("remaining in the closet") was a standard personal strategy. Given this prudent choice of self-concealment, the first task is simply to identify those artists who were homosexual or bisexual. This effort requires a return to a sort of biographical interest that has come to be regarded as old fashioned by professionals, but which retains an important place in the popular mind. Despite the flood of scholarly admonitions about the "death of the author/artist," the public still believes that artist's lives are important. Assuredly, some individuals tentatively identified as gay, lesbian, or bisexual may not turn out to be such but, if circumstances indicate, the question must be asked and pursued.lxiv
So it is that research on gay and lesbian art begins with the same task as that confronting the study of women artists: the gathering of a roster of individuals to make up a "universe" of study. However, there is a significant difference. Women are almost always readily identifiable--the writers George Sand and George Eliot had no real intention to deceive--while homosexual orientation has often remained hidden, not only by the wish of the creative individual but also through the behest of relatives and friends after his or her death. (Even today some heterosexual admirers of Michelangelo, Whitman, Cather and other major figures have difficulty coping with the true character of their sexuality.) Providing that the seal of secrecy remained intact, the reputations of such artists could survive unblemished. That it has been possible, despite these obstacles, to create a fairly large roster is shown by Emmanuel Cooper's compilation, The Sexual Perspective: Homosexuality and Art in the Last 100 Years,lxv which records some 150 male and female artists for the period covered. In addition to artists who are well known, the new research has helped to revive the reputations of those who, like the English painters Gluck (Hannah Gluckstein; 1895-1978) and Duncan Grant (1885-1978), had slipped from view.lxvi
Still, one may reasonably ask: what do the artists have in common? Given the differences in personality structure, milieu, and period what could, say, Donatello and Andy Warhol possibly share? One answer is that down even to the present homosexual artists, like others who share their orientation, have faced the problem of confronting homophobia and shaping a personality that can cope with it. Naturally, reconstructing this process of self-shaping is easier with recent artists such as Romaine Brooks and Charles Demuth, where plentiful biographical information exists which can then be placed in the social and intellectual setting of the time.lxvii
In a stimulating essay James Saslow has shown that this approach may also be validly applied to one of the most complicated artists of all time, Michelangelo.lxviii Not a professional writer, Michelangelo nonetheless left behind a body of letters and poetry. The letters occasionally contain veiled references to relations with young men, but it is in the poetry, with the background the genre contained of the neo-Platonic love ethic together with inherent ambiguities, that Michelangelo wrestled--for himself and a few intimate friends--with what we would now term his sexual nature. In the course of this essay, Saslow grapples with the then-fashionable (late 1980s) doctrine of Social Construction, which decreed that modern homosexuals could have nothing in common with Michelangelo; "homosexuality" came into existence in the second half of the nineteenth century. Fueled by the Counter-Reformation, however, homophobia was increasing in the artist's day, and the problem of the closet perplexed him. At the very least, we have this in common with him, so that the "Chinese wall" of absolute separation between us and earlier eras, as posited by the Social Construction theory, is not valid.
With his book on the figure of Ganymede, Saslow contributed significantly to another aspect of research in homosexuality-- iconographical studies.lxix In this volume he confines the study to two centuries of the Italian Renaissance, so that a relation to the changing climate of opinion, especially the advancing homophobia generated by the Counter-Reformation can be shown. The changing treatment of the Ganymede theme during this period shows what a complex pattern of determinants these artist had to observe: these include stylistic imperatives as the early Renaissance shifted to the high Renaissance, information about the myth of Ganymede furnished by classical scholars, and changing discourses about sexuality.
In his study, "It's in the Can: Jasper Johns and the Anal Society," Jonathan Weinberg seeks to show that the prominent New York artist has actually placed himself inside his work.lxx This is shown, according to Weinberg, by the artist's fascination with certain words like "ring" and "fessus" [Latin for weary, which he speculatively associates with faeces] together with the well-known target motifs of the works of the classic phase that made him famous. Unfortunately, Weinberg takes Freudian analysis of the supposed anal character traits at face value, reducing the impact of his study. Just as many women artists have become interested in "central imagery" as a reflection of defining vaginality, so it may be that gay men are attracted to certain bodily parts that express aspects of their sexual being (note also the penises found in some of Johns' target paintings). Examined iconographically instead of psychoanalytically, this may prove to be a promising area of investigation after all. It may ultimately belong to an emerging realm of study of the body as metaphor.lxxi
Help in the study of gay and lesbian art may come from film studies where work is more profuse and more theoretically advanced. A good example is a paper by the well-known English film scholar, Richard Dyer.lxxii Here he tackles the problematic nature of the concept of the single author/creator as theorized by Roland Barthes. On the one hand the notion of the "death of the author" is widely accepted, at least as a heuristic notion that helps to empower the reader (or viewer, in the case of the visual arts). However, the gay/lesbian creator does have a sense of self, precisely for the reason of the frequent internalization of the identity. This paradox may be bridged, in Dyer's opinion, by the concept of "performance," the sense that one is always potentially under scrutiny.
A remarkable range of interests enlivened the work of the New York writer Craig Owens (1950-1990).lxxiii Having made his mark as one of the first to examine the fit of postmodernist theory to contemporary art practice, Owens moved on to a critique of the nexus of sexuality and power. He would address sexual difference as well as gay concerns. Owens believed that art history must make fundamental changes in order to address contemporary reality. He also joined the discourse of AIDS, a major theme in contemporary art and criticism. At the time of his death from this disease, Owens seemed to be on his way to a new synthesis. Examining the body of his surviving work, however, one notes with regret how susceptible even a gifted representative of his generation was to the intoxication of the Francophile soup blended from the writings of the "usual suspects" of deconstruction: Althusser, Deleuze, Derrida, Foucault, Lacan, Lyotard and company.
Few have been as forthright about their orientation as Owens, with the result that the question of art historians and critics who were homosexual has received little attention. Winckelmann's personal proclivities clearly contributed to his adulation of ancient Greek art, where the male body is glorified. But what about his contemporary Horace Walpole who chose the Gothic revival for his house, Strawberry Hill? Perhaps this preference is to be explained as personal taste--but not entirely, because another wealthy English connoisseur, William Beckford (also homosexual) built his home, Fonthill, in the Gothic revival style. The way in which art historian Carl von Rumohr's homosexuality contributed to his reexamination of early Italian art seems uncertain--if it did at all. In the twentieth century, the "butch" persona of Gertrude Stein enabled her to mingle on equal terms with Matisse and Picasso; through her publications and transatlantic contacts, she played a major role in promoting these artists in North America.lxxiv In 1946 Betty Parsons opened her New York gallery, where she showed the early work of the abstract expressionists. The role of homosexual architectural historians in promoting advanced modern architecture is clear; perhaps the "outsider status" of Henry-Russell Hitchcock, Arthur Drexler, and Edgar Kauffman, Jr. permitted them to respond to the iconoclastic novelty of the new style more easily than could others at the time.
A popular belief, common to homosexuals and heterosexuals alike, holds that gay people are endowed by nature or experience with special sensitivity. This sensitivity (and not everyone agrees that it exists) may foster artistic creativity. Efforts have been made to substantiate this intuitive belief, but the yield is thin.lxxv There is little scientific support for this assumption of gay creativity, perhaps because the question is posed so broadly. More specific propositions might be testable. Are gay male artists more responsive to certain color gamuts than their heterosexual counterparts? Do lesbian artists excell in space perception? The empirical results of asking such questions might be negative or inconclusive, but they should be posed.

Semiotics, Structuralism and Beyond.
Semiotics is the discipline that studies the use of signs across the entire spectrum of human behavior, including gestures and language.lxxvi It has even been extended to animals (as the "language" of bees) and plants (as strategies employed by flowers to attract insects). Modern semiotics derives from two major thinkers, the Swiss Ferdinand de Saussure (1857-1913) and the American Charles Saunders Peirce (1839-1914). Saussure's theories, which focus on the relation between the signified and the signifier, derive from the study of language and are applicable to visual phenomena only in a general way. Peirce was more concerned with things seen. Although he produced a number of variants of his theory in the course of a long life, his triad of icon, index, and symbol has proven useful.lxxvii To describe the matter in the simplest possible terms, an iconic relation occurs when there is a morphological similarity between the depiction and the thing shown, as in a picture of an apple. The indexical relation occurs when one can infer the thing from some visual evidence, as in the smoke coming from the chimney of a cottage which shows that a fire is present within. Finally, there are symbolic relations, as in an octagonal stop sign, which has no direct connection with the action; the connection may be culturally learned.
Semiotics embraces many modes of communication, ranging from simple systems like Morse code to the complex genres of theater and opera. One semiotic sphere of obvious relevance to the study of art is gesture.lxxviii Some gestures, such as teeth baring and grimacing, are transcultural and find analogies with our primate relatives, but most gestures are culturally determined. Thus in some parts of Europe the display of the joining of the thumb and forefinger to make a circle means "success" (completion), while in others it means "failure" (zero).
Greek and Roman art demonstrate a rich variety of gestures of popular origin.lxxix However, writers such as Quintilian indicate that there was also a refined system to assist orators in their techniques of persuasion.lxxx Rigidly hierarchical, the Roman imperial system developed a system of gestures as part of statecraft, and these appear in official art.lxxxi In Asia Buddhism developed a highly codified set of religious gestures, known as mudrā.lxxxii
Some medieval art styles, such as the Ottonian and late Gothic, emphasized hand gestures.lxxxiii During the seventeenth century, scholars gave much attention to gesture, a preoccupation that finds a parallel in the paintings of such artists as Caravaggio and Poussin. However, the same time witnessed the start of a trend to prune away the more flamboyant gestures, a reductive process that gradually impoverished the repertoire of gestures honored in northern Europe.lxxxiv At the end of the seventeenth century the court artist Charles Le Brun, whose authority long persisted in France, codified facial expressions as a vehicle for displaying the passions.lxxxv Two generations later his approach began to yield to another, advocated by the critic Denis Diderot, who departed from Le Brun's almost exclusive interest in the face as a vehicle for emotion with a commendation that the whole body must be expressive. Diderot's ideas were enthusiastically endorsed and vigorously exemplified by the neo-classic painter Jacques-Louis David.lxxxvi
Much has been accomplished, both historically and empirically, in the study of gestures as such. Yet, apart from the examples given, relatively little has been done to apply the information gained to the work of artists. In the course of their career artists observed the play of body language prevalent in daily life, adopting gestures that were appropriate to their patrons' ideas of correct behavior.
During the 1960s semiotics gained prominence in France under the name of structuralism.lxxxvii To name only two influential figures, Claude Lévi-Strauss applied structuralism in dense studies of ethnological data, while Roland Barthes deployed it in scintillating accounts of literary works. Whatever the labeling, semiotics/structuralism was long ignored by art historians, Meyer Schapiro being a prominent exception.lxxxviii Semiotics has been successfully applied to architecture and cinema, but it has yielded less in the study of painting, where the subtler aspects of execution and communication seem to escape through the interstices of the broad-meshed semiotic net.  From a different route, iconography broached some of these problems from the middle of the nineteenth century onwards. Perhaps a combination of semiotics and art-historical iconography would be useful.lxxxix
In any event dissatisfaction with semiotics in its structuralist guise led to the appearance of poststructuralism, interfacing with deconstruction (see above). In the meantime semioticians are pursuing their own work, and more may be expected from this quarter.
The semiotic impulse continued in art history, but in a changed context. Norman Bryson, an English scholar living in the United States, has acquired the status of a beacon in this field. He came to art history from the outside, from English studies, a background that affords an independence of judgment if not always a deep knowledge of the history and strengths of art scholarship as a discipline. In his first contribution to the field, Word and Image: French Painting of the Ancien Regime.xc Bryson sought to replace the usual account of the subject as a sequence of styles (from baroque, to rococo, to neoclassical) with a new emphasis on narrative strategies. In analyzing paintings in terms of a pattern of information he was influenced by communications theory and the writings of Roland Barthes.
Vision and Painting: The Logic of the Gaze was Bryson's major theoretical statement.xci He rejected Gombrich's perceptualist theory in favor of an interpretation of painting as sign. However, he believed that the linguistic model bequeathed by Saussure and his followers is inadequate for the understanding of painting: "if we accept Saussure uncritically we end up with a perspective as rigid and unhelpful as the old one, a perspective in which the meaning of the sign is defined entirely by formal means, as the product of oppositions among signs with an enclosed system." That is to say, the method engenders contrasts that exist for their own sake, rather than to extend our understanding. The history of Western painting is such that it systematically short-circuits efforts to decode it according to simple binary contrasts of the kind encouraged by Saussurean structuralism. This complexity is bound up with changes in viewing practice. "Viewing is an activity of transforming the material of the painting into meanings, and that transformation is perpetual: nothing can arrest it." Insisting on the viewer's role as dynamic and essential, Bryson joined forces with the growing trend towards the aesthetic of reception in literature, which stresses the reader's response. In order to advance the study of viewing, he distinguished between the gaze, which is cool, continuous and objective, and the glance, which is fleeting and wilful, sometimes even furtive and voyeuristic. In addition he held that studies of viewing must always be conducted with an awareness of the social matrix: artmaking as presented by Gombrich is too much an isolated set of researches detached from their social moorings.
The social dimension led, in the book's final chapter, to a somewhat inconclusive handling of the positioning of painting in the Marxist contrast of socioeconomic base and cultural superstructure. A 1991 essay offered a more satisfying treatment of the matter, suggesting that paintings belong both to the base and the superstructure. Since they are not mere mechanical transcripts of underlying forces, paintings can play a role, however diffuse it may sometimes seem, in social transformation. "The power of painting is there, in the thousands of gazes caught by its surface, and the resultant turning, and the shifting, the redirecting of the discursive flow. Power not as a monolith, but as a swarm of points traversing social stratifications and individual persons."xcii
Laced with neologisms and borrowings from French theory, Bryson's works are sometimes tough going. They also suffer from an insufficient awareness of the "foundedness" of art history, its long and rich tradition.xciii Despite these handicaps, Bryson's writings convey a quality of freshness and excitement that has drawn many readers.
His work has been reinforced by the Dutch narratologist Mieke Bal, now his colleague at the University of Rochester.xciv In a sustained examination of the work of Rembrandt and our response to it, she has courageously invaded the art historians' territory.xcv Her work draws on the thinking of the Russian linguistic scholar Roman Jakobson. Broadly, Bal sees the Jakobsonian model, in which the essence of the artist's concept/intention is faithfully (or as much as possible) transmitted to a passive "receiver," as standing over against a Brysonian one, in which the viewer's intervention ("voyeurism") is crucial. Asking "Is there life beyond binary oppositions?" she holds that one must not choose between the two, or try to find a middle way between the two extremes, but hew to both simultaneously (at least this is our situation in the 90s). At times her work assumes a playful quality as she roams in an almost free-associational way among various perspectives, psychoanalytic, semiotic, feminist, and personal.
Some critics believe that Bal's emphasis on "reading" relies too much on a literary model. Paintings are not read in the linear sequence that texts require. In any event, there are many different kinds of readings.
Another more technical problem arises with Bal's study of the Dutch master. For some years the Rembrandt Research Project has been laboring to separate authentic works from those by pupils or associates.xcvi The results of these connoisseurship studies, still incomplete, are intricate and controversial. Thus it is easy for anyone but those most intimately involved with the questions to stumble and to discuss as a Rembrandt a painting or drawing that has been excluded from the Rembrandt canon. Bal seeks to circumvent this problem by writing of "Rembrandt." It might be thought that this difficulty is a snare set in place by art historians anxious to protect their favorite hunting grounds from the incursions of poachers. However, the establishment of authenticity is a vital process, for it goes to the very heart of the essence of each individual work. To be sure, there is much more than attribution to be said about Rembrandt, a supremely "interpretive" artist. But attribution is the indispensable foundation for further study.
The work of Bryson and Bal demonstrates both the strengths and weaknesses brought to art historical practice by those coming from another discipline--in their case, literary study. All individual contributions, of course, have their own qualities. Yet a larger issue is at stake: the status of the new approaches themselves.
Initially, resistance might have counted as a mere manifestation of the "old-fogy" mentality. Now, however, that the advocates of radical change have had a chance to exhibit the full range of their wares, the fact that so many mainstream art historians remain loyal to their "traditional" craft carries power of conviction.
The approaches discussed in this chapter are disparate. The attempt to organize them into a single overarching theory, whether derived from deconstruction or some other source, seems premature, to say the least. In fact, a general theory of "postmodern" art history may be unfeasible, because the very nature of postmodernism, which acknowledges pervasive fragmentation and uncertainty, forbids it.
Probably the solidest results have been achieved utilizing the feminist approach, where sustained hard work on the empirical data, combined with a willingness to explore and debate underlying assumptions, have produced an imposing body of scholarship. Gay and lesbian approaches are still in the formative stage. As regards the psychoanalytic interpretation of art, confidence has been undermined by doubt as to the logical status of the parent discipline. Although progress has been less than might have been expected, semiotics still shows promise.
These and other innovative enterprises have nourished the growing pluralism of art history. New problems and perspectives have emerged. Yet what has been happening is consistent with the following hypothesis. The new approaches supplement "traditional art history," without replacing it: its methods, built up over generations, retain their power and efficacy.

i As it is the purpose of this chapter to discuss new approaches, it is not possible to survey the advances made in the last few years, some of them very significant, using more traditional methodologies. For these, see the stimulating series of state-of-research reports appearing in the Art Bulletin from volume 68 (1986) onwards. These articles (most of which are cited at the appropriate place in this book) cover much of Western art from classical antiquity onwards, though not developments in the study of the arts of Asia, Africa, Oceania, and the indigenous peoples of the Americas. More catholic, though now dated, is the supplementary volume (vol. 16) to the Encyclopedia of World Art, edited by Bernard S. Myers (Palatine, Ill.: Jack Heraty Associates, 1983); most of the articles were written in the 1970s. A further supplement (vol. 17, 1987), edited by Giulio Carlo Argan and written chiefly by Italian scholars, is without merit.
ii This view was particularly associated with the English critic F. R. Leavis; see René Wellek, " F. R. Leavis (1893-1978) and the Scrutiny Group," in his A History of Modern Criticism: 1750-1950, vol. 5, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1986, pp. 239-64.
iii See Wellek, A History, vol. 6.
iv Lawrence Grossberg, Cary Nelson, and Paula Treichler, eds., Cultural Studies, New York: Routledge, 1992. Actually, the interest in the interface of popular and high culture was not entirely new, witness Meyer Schapiro's pioneering article "Courbet and Popular Imagery," Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, 4 (1941), 164-91. For some pivotal episodes of confluence of high- and popular-culture themes in the visual arts, see Kirk Varnedoe and Adam Gopnik, eds., Modern Art and Popular Culture: Readings in High and Low, New York: Abrams, 1990.
v J. Hillis Miller, Illustration, Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1992, p. 18.
vi For the roots of multiculturalism in the earlier tradition of cultural pluralism, which it displaced, see Philip Gleason, Speaking of Diversity: Language and Ethnicity in Twentieth-Century America, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1992.
vii Lennard J. Davis and M. Bella Mirabella, eds., Left Politics and the Literary Profession, New York: Columbia University Press, 1990.
viii There is a very large periodical literature on this question. For a balanced selection, see Paul Berman, ed., Debating P.C.: The Controversy over Political Correctness on College Campuses, New York: Laurel, 1992. Some supporters of the new trends allege that the very term political correctness is a slur invented by the right. However, the present author can attest to hearing it deployed in all seriousness in leftist gatherings of the early seventies. At these meetings those labeled as espousing "counterrevolutionary" views were urged to exchange them for ones that were "politically correct." The term politically correct circulated in left-sectarian groups before it made its way into general discourse.
ix An invaluable guide is Margaret A. Rose, The Post-modern and the Post-industrial, New York: Cambridge University Press, 1991.
x The fullest account of the structuralist movement is François Dosse, Histoire du structuralisme, 2 vols., Paris: Editions de la Découverte, 1991. Among older introductions, see e.g. Oswald Ducrot et. al., Qu'est-ce que le structuralisme? Paris: Seuil, 1968; Jean Piaget, Structuralism, trans. Chanina Maschler, London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1971; and Robert Scholes, Structuralism in Literature: An Introduction, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1974. For an "insider" sketch, in fictionalized form, of this period and the ensuing years, see Julia Kristeva, The Samurai, trans. Barbara Bray, New York: Columbia University Press, 1992.
xi Christopher Norris, Derrida, Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1987, provides a useful introduction, sympathetic to the French thinker. For further references, see William R. Schultz and Lewis L. B. Fried, Jacques Derrida: An Annotated Primary and Secondary Bibliography, New York: Garland, 1992.
xii David Lehman, Signs of the Times: Deconstruction and the Fall of Paul de Man, New York: Poseidon Press, 1991.
xiii Luc Ferry and Alain Renaut, French Philosophy of the Sixties, Amherst: University Press of New England, 1990.
xiv Recent scholarship has shown that Althusser's actual knowledge of Marxism was superficial; see Yann Moulier Boutang, Louis Althusser: Une Biographie. Tome I: La formation du mythe (1918-1956), Paris: Grasset, 1992.
xv Victor Farías, Heidegger and Nazism, Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1989 (revised version of the text published in France in 1987). See also Gunther Neske and Emil Kettering, eds., Martin Heidegger and National Socialism: Questions and Answers, New York: Paragon House, 1990; Richard Wolin, ed., The Heidegger Controversy: A Critical Reader, 2nd ed., Cambridge: MIT Press, 1992; and Tom Rockmore and Joseph Margolis, eds., The Heidegger Case: On Philosophy and Politics, Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1992. For some further developments, see Thomas Sheehan, "A Normal Nazi," New York Review of Books, 40:1-2 (January 14, 1993), 30-35.
xvi Translated by Albert Hofstadter in Martin Heidegger, Poetry Language Thought, New York: Harper and Row, 1971, pp. 15-87.
xvii "L'object personnel, sujet de nature morte: à propos d'une notation de Heidegger sur Van Gogh," in his Style, artiste, et société. Paris, Gallimard, 1982, pp. 349-60. This is the enlarged version of a text that first appeared in English in The Reach of the Mind: Essays in Memory of Kurt Goldstein, New York: Springer, 1968; some further retouchings appear in Volume Four of Schapiro's Collected Papers (New York: Braziller, 1994). The Heidegger-Schapiro exchange occasioned of a characteristically diffuse meditation by Derrida, The Truth in Painting, trans. by Geoff Bennington and Ian McLeod, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987, pp. 257-382.
xviii For a concise introduction, see Christian Norberg-Schulz, "Heidegger's Thinking on Architecture," in his Architecture: Meaning and Place: Selected Essays, New York: Electa/Rizzoli, 1988, pp. 30-48. The contribution Heidegger's thought has made to Derrida's parallel interests is assessed in Mark Wigley, The Architecture of Deconstruction: Derrida's Haunt, Cambridge: MIT Press, 1993.
xix Yet J. Claude Evans, Strategies of Decon­struction: Derr­ida and the Myth of the Voice, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1991, pinpoints deficiencies in Derrida's interpretation of Husserl.
xx For a somewhat different approach to the weaknesses of this theory, see John Ellis, Against Deconstruction, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1989.
xxi It is true that Derrida and his followers subsequently sought to qualify the full force this statement. But if, after all, there is an outside, what innovation has deconstruction offered in this sphere?
xxii True to its Derridean origins, deconstruction has been mainly influential in the study of literature and philosophy. However, a school of architecture that flourished in the 1980s (at least on paper, for few of the designs were built), took the name "deconstructionist." Derrida himself collaborated with architect Bernard Tschumi in designing the "follies" adorning the Parc de la Villette in Paris.
For a collection of efforts to import Derridean analysis into art history, see Peter Brunette and David Wills, eds., Deconstruction and the Visual Arts: Art, Media, Architecture, New York: Cambridge University Press, 1994.
xxiii J. Q. Merquior, Foucault, London: Fontana, 1985; Didier Eribon, Michel Foucault, trans. by Betsy Wing, Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1991; James Miller, The Passion of Michel Foucault, New York: Simon & Schuster, 1992. Though sympathetic, Miller's biography implausibly links Foucault's fast-lane personal life (with its quest for "limit experiences" through sex and drugs) to a perceived intellectual nihilism, as witnessed especially by his devotion to the thought of Friedrich Nietzsche. This approach exemplifies the biographical fallacy, whereby an individual's ideas are traced to his lifestyle and vice versa. To date, the fullest and fairest biography is David Macey, The Lives of Michel Foucault, New York: Pantheon, 1993.
xxiv Gary Gutting, Michel Foucault's Archaeology of Scientific Reason, New York: Cambridge University Press, 1989.
xxv "On Foucault's Concept of Discourse," in Timothy J. Armstrong, ed. and trans., Michel Foucault Philosopher, New York: Routledge, 1992, pp. 99-117.
xxvi Michel Foucault, The Order of Things, trans. by Alan Sheridon, New York: Vintage Books, 1973, pp. 3-16 (on Velázquez's Las Meninas); idem, This Is Not a Pipe, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1982. See Claude Gandelman, "Foucault as Art Historian," Hebrew University Studies in Literature and the Arts, 13:2 (Autumn 1985), 266-80.
xxvii Carlo Ginzburg, "Morelli, Freud, and Sherlock Holmes: Clues and Scientific Method," in Umberto Eco and Thomas A. Sebeok, eds., The Sign of Three: Dupin, Holmes, Peirce, Bloomington: Indiana University Press, pp. 81-118; reprinted in his Clues, Myths, and the Historical Method, trans. John and Anne Tedeschi, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1989, 86-125, 200-14.
xxviii Lynn Gamwell and Richard Wells, eds., Sigmund Freud and Art: His Personal Collection of Antiquities, New York: Abrams, 1989. For the relation of Freud's collecting to his intellectual development, see Carl E. Schorske, "Freud's Egyptian Dig," New York Review of Books, 41:10 (May 27, 1993), pp. 35-40.
xxix Freud revised the essay several times. For the final German version, see Sigmund Freud, Gesammelte Werke, vol. 8, London: Hogarth Press, 1943, 127-211. The edition prepared by Brian Farrell has a helpful Introduction: Sigmund Freud, Leonardo, London: Penguin Books, 1963.
xxx Meyer Schapiro, "Leonardo and Freud: An Art-Historical Study," Journal of the History of Ideas, 17 (1956), 303-36. An elephantine effort to rescue Freud's essay stems from Kurt Eissler, Leonardo da Vinci: Psychoanalytic Notes on the Enigma, New York: International Universities Press, 1961; see also P. G. Aaron and R. G. Clouse, "Freud's Psychohistory of Leonardo: A Matter of Being Right or Left," Journal of Interdisciplinary History, 13 (1982), 1-16.
xxxi Whitney Davis, "Sigmund Freud's Drawing of the Dream of the Wolves," Oxford Art Journal, 15:2 (1992), 70-87.
xxxii Robert S. Liebert, Michelangelo: A Psychoanalytic Study of His Life and Images, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1983; Jerome D. Oremland, Michelangelo's Sistine Ceiling: A Psychoanalytic Study of Creativity, Madison, Conn.: International Universities Press, 1989; Mary Mathews Gedo, Picasso: Art as Autobiography, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1980. A popular biography by the journalist Arianna Stassinopoulos Huffington,Picasso: Creator and Destroyer, New York: Simon and Schuster, 1988, shows how psychoanalytic theory can be "liberating" in the bad sense, furthering speculations about sex and other subjects of curiosity.
xxxiii For accounts of this accumulating body of research, see Ellen Handler Spitz, Art and Psyche, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1985; and Jack Spector, "The State of Psychoanalytic Research in Art History," Art Bulletin, 70 (1988), 49-76. A sampling of recent work appears in Margaret Iversen (ed.), "Psychoanalysis in Art History," special issue of Art History, 17:1 (September 1994).
xxxiv New York: HarperCollins, 1993.
xxxv Her neglect extends to carelessness as to what Freud originally wrote. On p. 176 she attributes the terms "anaclitic" and "cathexis" to Freud. In fact these expressions were not used by him in the German texts, but have been propagated by his English translators and interpreters.
xxxvi Jack Spector, The Aesthetics of Freud: A Study in Psychoanalysis and Art, New York: Praeger, 1973.
xxxvii David E. Stannard, Shrinking History: On Freud and the Failure of Psychohistory, New York: Oxford University Press, 1980; Marshall Edelson, Hypothesis and Evidence in Psychoanalysis, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1984; Adolf Grünbaum, The Foundations of Psychoanalysis, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1984; Frederick Crews, Skeptical Engagements, New York: Oxford University Press, 1986.
xxxviii Carl Gustav Jung, Collected Works, translated by R. F. C. Hull, vol. 9, New York: Pantheon, 1959 (Archetypes of the Collective Unconscious, part 1).
xxxix Jung, Collected Works, vol. 12, 1953 (Psychology and Alchemy).
xl Much of the stimulus for the recent interest stems from an ambitious exhibition, "Parallel Visions: Modern Artists and Outsiders Art," organized by the Los Angeles County Museum and traveling in 1993 to Madrid, Basel, and Tokyo. See also John M. MacGregor, The Discovery of the Art of the Insane, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1989; and the landmark study (German original, 1921) by Walter Morgenthaler, Madness and Art: The Life and Works of Adolf Wölfli, translated by Aaron H. Esman, Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1992.
xli Ernst Guhl, Die Frauen in der Kunstgeschichte, Berlin: Guttentag, 1858; Elizabeth Fries Lummis Ellet, Women Artists in All Ages and All Countries, New York: Harper, 1859; Ellen Creathorne Clayton, English Female Artists, London: Tinsley Brothers, 1876; Marius Vachon, La Femme dans l'art, Paris: J. Rouam, 1893; Clara Clement Waters, Women in the Fine Arts from the 7th Century B.C. to the Twentieth Century A.D., Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, 1904; Walter Sparrow, ed., Women Painters of the World from the Time of Caterina Vigni 1413-1463 to Rosa Bonheur and the Present Day, London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1905; and Laura Ragg, Women Artists of Bologna, London: Methuen, 1907.
xlii An invaluable conspectus is Thalia Gouma-Peterson and Patricia Matthews, "The Feminist Critique of Art History," Art Bulletin, 69 (1987), 326-57; see also Norma Broude and Mary D. Garrard; and Gouma-Peterson and Matthews, "An Exchange on the Feminist Critique of Art History," Art Bulletin, 71 (1989), 124-27, A first harvest of research is Norma Broude and Mary D. Garrard, eds., Feminism and Art History: Questioning the Litany, New York: Harper & Row, 1972; followed by a larger collection by the same editors, The Expanding Discourse: Feminism and Art History, New York: HarperCollins, 1992.
xliii Eleanor Tufts, Our Hidden Heritage, New York: Paddington Press, 1974; Karen Peterson and J. J. Wilson, Women Artists: Recognition and Reappraisal from the Early Middle Ages to the Twentieth Century, New York: Harper and Row, 1976; Ann Sutherland Harris and Linda Nochlin, Women Artists 1550-1950, New York: Random House, 1976 (published in connection with the exhibition at the Los Angeles County Museum). A recent example, incorporating some of the results of further research, is Whitney Chadwick, Women, Art and Society, New York: Thames and Hudson, 1990. For a comprehensive annotated bibliography, covering research during the years 1970-88, see FrauenKunstGeschichte-Forschungsgruppe Marburg, Feministische Bibliographie zur Frauenforschung in der Kunstgeschichte, Pfaffenweiler: Centaurus-Verlags-Gesellschaft, 1994.
xliv Claire Richter Sherman and Adele M. Holcomb, eds., Women Interpreters of the Visual Arts, 1820-1979, Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1981.
xlv Published in Vivian Gornick and Barbara Moran, Women in Sexist Society: Studies in Power and Powerlessness, New York: New American Library, 1971, pp. 480-510, and in several other places, the essay is now most easily accessible in Linda Nochlin, Women, Art, and Power and Other Essays, New York: Harper & Row, 1988, pp. 145-78.
xlvi Broude and Garrard, Expanding Discourse, 4.
xlvii Diana Fuss, Essentially Speaking: Feminism, Nature and Difference, New York: Routledge, 1989.
xlviii H. Diane Russell and Bernadine Barnes, Eva/Ave: Women in Renaissance and Baroque Prints, Washington, D.C.: National Gallery of Art, 1990.
xlix Tamar Garb, "'L'Art féminin': The Formation of a Critical Category in Late-Nineteenth Century France," Art History 12 (1989), 39-65.
l Griselda Pollock, Vision and Difference: Femininity, Feminism and the History of Art, New York: Routledge, 1988; idem, Avant-garde Gambits 1888-1893: Gender and the Color of Art History, New York: Thames and Hudson, 1992.
li Broude and Garrard, The Expanding Discourse, 3.
lii Patricia Waddy, Seventeenth-Century Roman Palaces: Use and the Art of the Plan, Cambridge: MIT Press, 1990.
liii George L. Hersey, High Victorian Gothic: A Study in Associationism, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1972.
liv Beatriz Colomina, ed., Sexuality and Space, New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 1992. See also Daphne Spain, Gendered Space, Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1992; Leslie Kames Weisman, Discrimination by Design: A Feminist Critique of the Man-made Environment, Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1992.
lv An ambitious exception, citing literary as well as visual evidence, is Marina Warner, Monuments and Maidens: The Allegory of the Female Form, New York: Atheneum, 1985.
lvi Patricia L. Reilly, "Writing Out Color in Renaissance Theory," Genders, 12 (Winter 1991), 77-99. More generally, see the learned article by John Gage, "Color in Western Art: An Issue?" Art Bulletin, 72 (1990), 518-41.
lvii See, e.g., Edward Lucie-Smith, Eroticism in Western Art, New York: Praeger, 1972; Robert Melville (with Simon Wilson), Erotic Art of the West, New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1973; Philip Rawson, Erotic Art in the East: The Sexual Theme in Oriental Painting and Sculpture, New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1968. For further references, see Eugene C. Burt, Erotic Art: An Annotated Bibliography, Boston: G. K. Hall, 1989.
lviii Betty-Carol Sellen and Patricia A. Young, Feminists, Pornography and the Law: An Annotated Bibliography of Conflict 1970-1986, Hamden, Conn.: Library Professional Publications, 1986. See also: David Copp and Susan Wendell, eds., Pornography and Censorship, Buffalo: Prometheus Books, 1983; and Morse Peckham, Art and Pornography: An Experiment in Explanation, New York: Basic Books, 1969.
lix Michael Camille, Image on the Edge: The Margins of Medieval Art, Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1992. For a thoughtful analysis of this book, which is a piece of scholarship in its own right, see the review by Jeffrey F. Hamburger, Art Bulletin, 75 (1993), 319-27.
lx Leo Steinberg, The Sexuality of Christ in Renaissance Art and in Modern Oblivion, New York: Pantheon, 1984 (first published as issue 25 of October, Summer 1983). The author has produced an enlarged edition, addressing the commentary that this ground-breaking work has elicited, and carrying the argument further.
lxi Umberto Baldini and Ornella Casazza, The Brancacci Chapel, trans. Lysa Hochroth and Marion L. Grayson, New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1992, pp. 28-38. Cleaning campaigns in progress or recently completed have provided valuable impetus for reexamination of art-historical problems relating to a number of important Italian monuments, including Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel; see William Hood, "The State of Research in Italian Renaissance Art," Art Bulletin, 69 (1987), 174-86, esp. pp. 176-79.
lxii Wayne R. Dynes, Homosexuality: A Research Guide, New York: Garland, 1987.
lxiii For a roster of what was achieved up to 1994, see James M. Saslow et al., Bibliography of Gay and Lesbian Art, New York: Gay and Lesbian Caucus, College Art Association, 1994. See also a pioneering collection of original essays on the subject: Whitney Davis, ed., Gay and Lesbian Studies in Art History, New York: Hayworth Press, 1994, which also appeared as Journal of Homosexuality, 27:1-2 (1994).  Of the subsequent publications, the following are perhaps the most important. Pierre Borhan, Men for Men: Homoeroticism and Male Homosexuality in the History of Photography, 1840-2006, London: Jonathan Cape, 2007; Emanuel Cooper, The Sexual Perspective: Homosexuality and Art in the Last 100 Years in the West, 2nd ed. London and New York: Routledge, 1994; Dominique Fernandez, A Hidden Love: Art and Homosexuality.,Munich: Prestel, 2002;  Harmony Hammond, Lesbian Art in America: A Contemporary History, New York: Rizzoli, 2000; Jonathan D. Katz, and David C. Ward, Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Books, 2010. [catalog of exhibition at National Portrait Gallery];  Richard Meyer, Outlaw Representation: Censorship and Homosexuality in Twentieth-Century American Art,New York: Oxford University Press, 2001; James M. Saslow, Pictures and Passions: A History of Homosexuality in the Visual Arts, New York: Penguin Putnam, 1999; Abigail
 Solomon-Godeau, Male Trouble: A Crisis in Representation, London: Thames and Hudson, 1999;  Claude J. Summers, ed. The Queer Encyclopedia of the Visual Arts, San Francisco: Cleis Press, 2004. [reprints entries from]; Jonathan Weinberg, Male Desire: The Homoerotic in American Art, New York: Harry N. Abrams, 2005.

lxiv Two publications preceding the present phase of scholarship inspired by the gay/lesbian movement (and produced by heterosexuals) showed courage in candidly discussing the homosexuality of two Italian masters: Horst W. Janson, The Sculpture of Donatello, 2 vols., Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1957; and Donald Posner, "Caravaggio's Early Homo-erotic Works," Art Quarterly, 24 (1971), 301-26.
lxv New York: Routledge, 1986; second ed., 1994.
lxvi Diana Souhani, Gluck, 1895-1978: Her Biography, London: Pandora Press, 1988; Simon Watney, The Art of Duncan Grant, New York: John Murray, 1990. The revival of Grant was boosted, of course, by the general fascination with the Bloomsbury group to which he belonged.
lxvii In examining the problems of method in this section, I am indebted to an unpublished paper by my student Craig Houser, "The Queer Way: An Examination and Introduction of a Queer Methodology in Art History" (May 1992).
lxviii "'A Veil of Ice Between My Heart and the Fire': Michelangelo's Sexual Identity and Early Modern Constructs of Homosexuality," Genders 2 (Summer 1988), 77-90. See also his annotated translation, The Poetry of Michelangelo, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1991.
lxix James M. Saslow, Ganymede in the Renaissance: Homosexuality in Art and Society, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1986. This approach was earlier adumbrated in Wayne R. Dynes, "Orpheus without Eurydice," Gai Saber, 1 (1978), 267-73.
lxx Genders, 1 (Spring 1988), 40-56.
lxxi See also Weinberg, "'Some Unknown Thing': The Illustrations of Charles Demuth," Arts Magazine, 61:4 (December 1986), 16-18.
lxxii Richard Dyer, "Believing in Fairies: The Author and The Homosexual," in Diana Fuss, ed., Lesbian Theories, Gay Theories, New York: Routledge, 1991, pp. 185-201.
lxxiii See his collected writings, edited by Scott Bryson, et al., Craig Owens, Beyond Recognition: Representation, Power, and Culture, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1992.
lxxiv Carolyn Burk, "Gertrude Stein, the Cone Sisters and the Puzzle of Female Friendship," Critical Inquiry, 8 (1982), 543-64; Brenda Richardson, Dr. Claribel Cone and Miss Etta, Baltimore: Museum of Art, 1986.
lxxv A more optimistic assessment is offered by Janet Demb, "Are Gay Men Artistic? A Review of the Literature," Journal of Homosexuality 23:4 (1992), 83-92.
lxxvi Thomas A. Sebeok, ed., Encyclopedic Dictionary of Semiotics, 3 vols., Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, 1986; Winfried Nöth, Handbook of Semiotics, Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1990.
lxxvii See the useful collection of Peirce's writings edited by James Hoopes, Peirce on Signs, Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1991.
lxxviii For general orientaion, see Nöth, Handbook of Semiotics, 392-401. Essays illustrating the historical development in Europe appear in the stimulating collection by Jan Bremmer and Herman Broodenburg, ed., A Cultural History of Gesture, Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1992.
lxxix Gerhard Neumann, Gesten und Gebärden in der griechischen Kunst, Berlin: W. de Gruyter, 1965.
lxxx Ursula Maier-Eichhorn, Die Gestikulation in Quintilians Rhetorik, Frankfort: Lang, 1989.
lxxxi Richard Brilliant, Gesture and Rank in Roman Art: The Use of Gestures to Denote Status in Roman Sculpture and Coinage, New Haven: Connecticutt Academy of Arts and Sciences, 1963
lxxxii E. Dale Saunders, Mudrā: A Study of Symbolic Gestures in Japanese Buddhist Sculpture, New York: Princeton University Press, 1960.
lxxxiii Jean-Claude Schmitt, La raison des gestes dans l'occident médiéval, Paris: Gallimard, 1991. See also Moshe Barash, Gestures of Despair in Medieval and Early Renaissance Art, New York: New York University Press, 1976; idem, Giotto and the Language of Gesture, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1977.
lxxxiv Peter Burke, "The Language of Gesture in Early Modern Italy," in Bremmer and Roodenburg, eds., A Cultural History, 71-83.
lxxxv Thomas Kirchner, L'expression des passions: Ausdruck als Darstellungsproblem in der französischen Kunst und Kunsttheorie des 17. und 18. Jahrhundert, Mainz: Philipp von Zabern, 1991.
lxxxvi Dorothy Johnson, "Corporeality and Communication: The Gestural Revolution of Diderot, David, and The Oath of the Horatii," Art Bulletin, 71 (1989), 92-113.
lxxxvii In addition to the references noted above, see Edith Kurzweil, The Age of Structuralism: Lévi-Strauss to Foucault, New York: Columbia University Press, 1980.
lxxxviii Meyer Schapiro, "On Some Problems in the Semiotics of Visual Art," Semiotica, 1 (1969), 223-42; idem, Words and Pictures, The Hague: Mouton, 1973.
lxxxix Such a fusion was broached by Michael Ann Holly, Panofsky and the Foundations of Art History, Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1984, pp. 42-44, 181-84.
xc New York: Cambridge University Press, 1981.
xci New Haven: Yale University Press, 1983.
xcii Norman Bryson, "Semiology and Visual Interpretation," in Norman Bryson, Michael Ann Holly and Keith Moxey, eds., Visual Theory: Painting and Interpretation, New York: HarperCollins, 1991, p. 71.
xciii This shallowness is evident in the comment and selections making up his anthology, Norman Bryson, ed., Calligram: Essays in New Art History from France, New York: Cambridge University Press, 1988.
xciv This alliance is attested by their joint survey article, Mieke Bal and Norman Bryson, "Semiotics and Art History," Art Bulletin, 73 (1991), 174-208.
xcv Mieke Bal, Reading Rembrandt: Beyond the Word-Image Opposition, New York: Cambridge University Press, 1991.
xcvi Josua Bruyn et al., A Corpus of Rembrandt Paintings, 3 vols., The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff (for the Stichtung Foundation Rembrandt Research Project), 1982-89.
xcvii Jerrilynn D. Dodds, ed., Abstracts 1994, New York: College Art Association, 1994.
xcviii Professor Steinberg graciously shared with me the text of his presentation: "Concerning the Doni Tondo: The Boys at the Back." For any inaccuracies in representing his views in this brief summary I, of course, am alone responsible.

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