Date: Wed, 16 Aug 1995 15:20:52 -0400 (EDT)
Hi Jason, Malgosia, and all:
First I would say that Kiki does indeed understand the larger cultural
contexts of her work (see the booklet on her paper pieces show at
Brandeis a few years back), so I wouldn't sell her short in that regard
(I also know her and she's quite aware of stuff *even* if she hasn't
gotten around to reading it yet ;-) )
Second, by insisting on technical mastery in her presentation of the
visceral, Kiki Smith does force the viewer to become self-conscious of
how s/he uses aesthetic categories to domesticate the visceral.
Given Bergson's critique of kant's apriori categories (as well as
Deleuze's critique of the neo-Kantian tradition of aesthetics) I would
argue that Smith's work actually forces the intrusion of
self-consciousness of the processes by which the observer domesticates
*raw* (aesthetic) experience.
The fact that Smith engenders this process of cognitive domestication
(change the word domestication to colonization and you have it coded
masculine without too much trouble) indicates that her notion of gender
is social, not essentialist.
The forcing of self-consciousness of the complicity of accepting art as
an event generated when artist and observer meet is very much a part of
the duchamp genealogy.
If folks like, I can demonstrate that in a later post by talking in
detail about Duchamp's "aesthetics", a topic quite fresh in mind at the