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‹— Dossier
Unfinished Business: Craig Owens and Art Education
“So useless, so useful.”* On Craig Owens’ slide collection
Nathalie Boulouch
Translated by Claudio Cambon and proofread by Edgar Tom Stockton

* The title “So useless, so useful” borrows a phrase from James Meyer. See the interview of James Meyer realized by Katia Schneller and Dean Inkster in Washington, D.C. on March 14, 2015.

Contact sheet of digitized slides, Craig Owens Slide Library, held by James Meyer, Washington, D.C.

“So useless, so useful.”*  On Craig Owens’ slide collection - Holobionte

On my computer screen, digitized slides form a mosaic. Individually confined by cardboard, plastic, or metal frames, these small, luminous rectangles, miniature artworks, plunge us into a visual scheme that reorganizes the linear interpretation of images that were initially ordered sequentially in small compartmented boxes. The square slide mounts are not pristine. Besides the brand names of the slide processes—Kodachrome, Ektachrome—, they bear the signs of their use over time. Handwritten names follow one another: Jenny Holzer, Barbara Kruger, Richard Prince, Andy Warhol, Victor Burgin, John Weber Gallery, and Metro Pictures, to name a few. Sometimes, a typed label partially covers them, such as School of Visual Arts Library, or Yale University. Names such as Art in America are printed on some mounts alongside the dates and numbers automatically stamped by the photo lab that developed the slides. A dot sticker or small mark made with a pen regularly appears in a corner. These photographs present themselves in all their materiality, on a transparent medium, mostly in color—often faded—at times partially masked with thin strips of black tape.

These images were collected and used by Craig Owens. After his death, they were given to James Meyer by Scott Bryson, Owens’ last partner, and today they are conserved as an established entity.1 As an incomplete picture library of more than 600 images, orphaned physical traces of an activity that was at once critical, editorial, and pedagogical, these slides represent a link between various usages and two modes of distributing and viewing artworks, namely projection and photographic printmaking. They are fragments of a visual history of contemporary art according to Owens. According to Owens, because the first thing that strikes one about this archive is that, however truncated, it reveals the areas of interest of the person who assembled it. However, the by-now random sequences of these images, devoid of their context of distribution, only partially regain their meaning in relation to the topics that mattered to the critic and teacher. Their preservation asks us to delve back into the history of the use of slides as a means of circulating art images, and they also raise questions about the way in which visual archives invite interpretations of the forms and modes of developing a discourse about art.

“So useless, so useful.”*  On Craig Owens’ slide collection - Holobionte

S259, S260, S261, Craig Owens Slide Library, held by James Meyer, Washington, D. C.

The slide: a technical device at the margins of artistic practices

To consider these slides is to consider a certain kind of positive photographic image that is characterized first of all by its transparent medium,2 a small, rectangular (24×36 mm) format inserted into a standardized, 5×5 cm protective frame. One must also consider that this technology has since become obsolete. Production, which was symbolized in the second half of the 20th century by the iconic Kodachrome line of films, was halted on June 22, 2009, when the Eastman Kodak group announced it would stop manufacturing this analog reversal process due to poor sales. Ultimately, a slide is an immense photographic continent unto itself, one that has received far less historical, critical, and institutional attention than prints on paper: that of projected still images.3

The projection of positive images has existed since the Langenheim brothers4 in Philadelphia filed a patent in 1850 for the “hyalotype” (from the ancient Greek hyalo, which means glass). Intended at first for professional use, it was then also embraced by amateurs in general, as it gave photography the means to be “seen easily by a large number of viewers.”5 As early as the 1870s, this ability to enable a collective sharing of images meant that it would be associated with didactic usages and modes of spectacle-oriented sociability that centered on images,6 in the wake of earlier practices involving magic lantern projectors. In the early 20th century, the fate of slides became intertwined with the development of color photography with the commercialization of processes such as Autochrome (in 1907), and then Kodachrome and Agfacolor-Neu (in 1936). In the 1960s, the growth of the amateur photography market saw the use of slideshows as a common form of entertainment at family events, just as slides continued to remain widely used in schools and universities, corporate communications, and advertising. It became the predominant medium of the new communication media that ushered in the audiovisual age. Technical innovations involving the automation of projectors and their synchronization with reel-to-reel tapes meant that slides could be used in multi-projection setups created for mass events such as World’s Fairs and other trade shows.7 Montreal’s Expo 67, which was considered a milestone in the development of audiovisual, provides one of the more fascinating examples, one that included, in the Kodak pavilion, a slideshow projected on to a water screen using a dozen synchronized projectors, and in the Czechoslovakian pavilion, the Diapolyécran by the set designer Josef Svoboda, a veritable multimedia installation consisting of a wall illuminated by 112 mobile screens, each one of which contained two Kodak carousels of 80 slides each.

These cultural practices conferred on the slide the position it held since the turn of the 19th–20th centuries: without an established place in the world of art photography, whose aesthetic was dominated by black and white prints, it was considered marginal, if not illegitimate, in terms of artistic recognition.8 This attitude did not fail to draw the attention of some conceptual artists, as Mel Bochner recalled: “The fact that the slide had a denigrated quality made it more acceptable.”9 Nancy Holt also mentioned the ease of using slides for different purposes (lectures and projecting exhibition prints),10 especially for the slideshow evenings that she and her partner, Robert Smithson, would organize in their New York loft, where they would invite their artist friends to present and discuss their current work, as Dan Graham did for a series that would come to be titled Homes for America.11

“So useless, so useful.”*  On Craig Owens’ slide collection - Holobionte

S240, S241, S242, Craig Owens Slide Library, held by James Meyer, Washington, D. C.

Dispersion, circulation of art images

Although projected slides began to appear as an alternative creative medium, they first entered the art world alongside black and white photographic prints as a means of distributing works that they were able to reproduce in color. Artists, gallerists, art critics, museum curators, and art historians all used them, all according to their needs.12 Simple and economical to use, produce, and duplicate, their presence increased in the 1970s and 80s. Whether duplicated en masse and sold by museums and specialized publishers to libraries and amateur art lovers, projected in pedagogical, professional, or commercial settings, or more broadly printed in magazines thanks to a drop in the costs of color printing, slides participated in the economy of the visual dissemination of artworks based on the reproducibility of images. These modes of circulation, which first appeared in Europe and the United States in the late 19th century with “circulating” collections of glass slides, remained widely used. The magazine Art in America, where Craig Owens became Associate Editor in November 1980 and then Senior Editor in November of the following year, would issue and offer to its readers an annual subscription for the purchase of a collection of art slides. Titled “Art in America on Slides,” this slide library, first announced in the fall of 1976 in the pages of the magazine’s advertising section, offered a collection of some 600 black and white or color Kodak slides13 reproduced from the magazine’s original illustrations. This slide library, which was targeted primarily at universities and art schools, constituted a veritable “panorama of the world of fine art” by reproducing works originally published in the magazine, which could be used as an accompanying guide to comment on the images.

Craig Owens’ slide collection reveals the links he drew between his editorial work for the magazine Art in America, his work as an art critic, and then, alongside that, his work as a professor in the 1980s.14 Some of the slides appear to have been made by Owens himself during visits to exhibitions, such as the in situ installations in Krefeld by Daniel Buren and Michael Asher in 1982, but the majority of slides that have been preserved comes from the slide libraries of institutions where he taught, and from slides that were probably sent to him by galleries as reproductions of works, for his information or to be used as illustrations for articles like the ones that appeared in Art in America. Aside from the small number of images he made himself, most of the slides come from a pool of known reproductions of artworks, already established by a commissioning body, which still today form part of the flux of images accessible online. Therefore, the rarity and originality of visual content is not what characterizes this collection.

These images mainly represent the visual documentation on which Owens drew, sorting and arranging these slides of various provenances in boxes according to his purpose and work in progress at any given time. As an example amongst others, we can mention the series of slides reproducing the works of John Baldessari, some of which bear an Art in America copyright, and others, the stamp of the Margo Leavin Gallery in Los Angeles. This identifiable set can be connected to the article “Telling Stories,” published in Art in America in May 1981 on the occasion of the exhibition John Baldessari: Work 1966-1980, curated by Marcia Tucker at the New Museum in New York from March 14 to April 28, 1981. Owens would also give a lecture on the artist at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston in April 1982, where the exhibition then ran from March 6 to April 18. We can also imagine that Owens used these same slides in his teaching. The extensive number of slides (more than 50) of Richard Prince’s works constitutes further evidence of the connection between Owens’ collection and his critical interests.

As documentary tools placed at the service of these multiple, discursive practices, the slides reveal different layers of successive use. The markings on the mounts, the brief, descriptive captions identifying the works, and the changes in the mounts tell of the images’ trajectory and the history of their circulation between producer or commissioner (art gallery, photographic department of a university library, Owens himself) and places where they were viewed (a university classroom, museum auditorium, or the page of a magazine). The use of strips of tape to mask an image for printing or projection, the dots or stickers located at the edge15 of the mounts, the degradation of the colors in the chromogenic process that sometimes produces (red) casts, and the significant discoloring following an extended exposure to light are also evidence that Craig Owens used these slides regularly in courses and lectures.

“So useless, so useful.”*  On Craig Owens’ slide collection - Holobionte

S367, S368, S369, Craig Owens Slide Library, held by James Meyer, Washington, D. C.

Talking about art in front of the images

As the quote reproduced and highlighted in the pages of Beyond Recognition seems to suggest, Craig Owens was keenly aware of the impact of these modes of circulating photographs of artworks on art history writing: “Art history is, of course, not the history of works of arts; it’s the history of slides of works of art.”16 The use of slides in the teaching of art history dates back to the late 19th century. In that context, the value of objectivity granted to the photograph meant that glass slides were considered the most appropriate teaching aid to “captivate the spirit, arriving at the mind through the eyes,”17 to quote Stanislas Meunier’s phrase from 1880. Recognized for its superior fidelity of reproduction of artworks, archeological objects, and architecture, photography enabled the dissemination of bodies of work that helped students study form and style. Like collections of sculpture molds, photography collections nurtured the rise of new teaching methods and upheld a perception of the medium’s scientific value.

Prints and projection plates were made by professional photographers and featured in collections sold by specialized publishers, such as Braun and Bulloz in France and Alinari in Italy, who produced their own catalogs of images for sale. Museums also saw to the reproduction and dissemination of their collections of masterpieces. 19In the ten-year period from 1935 to 1945, museums of the United States such as the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Metropolitan Museum, and the Museum of Modern Art in New York began to sell slides of their collections. In the 20th century, education programs, some of which were supported by public authorities, also made slide collections available through a lending system for thematic bodies of work and projection equipment.20 Projection was gradually integrated into schools and universities in Europe and the United States, and it came to have a clear impact on the development of art history, particularly in terms of its oral component. Slides, which allowed teachers to form their own collection of reproductions of artworks, constituted a specific didactic tool to be used in lectures.

A slide is a transparent medium that requires visualization through illumination, and thus, projection is its best mode of transmission. The mechanism is the following: the positive image is placed into a slot in the projector where light beams through it, and the slide is then enlarged through an optical system. This grants this very small image a visibility, format, and presence for which the screen represents the place of its appearance. Each projected photograph exists through its scale, which in turn is established in relation to an enlargement factor that depends on the distance between the projector and the screen. The immobilization of the slide in the projection gate is what ensures the visibility of the image and allows for its commentary. The time of its illumination by the flow of electric light assigns the image a duration. This kind of photograph thus falls in the category of images for which time is a component of their existence.21 Projection combines two timelines that had previously remained separate in teaching: that of images and that of words.

With projection, professor’s comments no longer represent that “empty space where only the teacher’s linguistic abilities is able to substantiate the images.”22 The spatial device of projected images stages the discourse about art. In a room full of students sitting in an almost intimate semi-darkness, the slides enlarged on the screen as a kind of “tableau”23 reveal themselves as the projector light enables their perception: “The image seemed to speak directly to the observer.”24 Fully decontextualized, presented in a centered, frontal position, the artwork reproduced on the slide becomes the object on which both those who watch and the person who is speaking train their sights. The teacher’s discourse forms simultaneously from the image. A new rhetoric arises before the screen, where the reproduction produces a hic et nunc of the work, of which it is a simulacrum. Projection gives a reality to the work in relation to the other images that follow it on the screen in the form of a sequence of images. The connection between the artworks is no longer generated by the linear horizontality of pieces hung from a museum’s moldings, instead by a vertical screen, with each view rapidly following its predecessor. The projected sequence allows viewers to grasp new structural and formal relationships arising from the series of images that the brain, which has just enough time to rest during the interval of darkness between two images, momentarily manages to remember.

Thus, the technological contribution of the projection of reproductions on slides transformed the modes of viewing and analyzing artworks; in fact, it created an epistemological revolution within the field of art history. Holding the chair in art history at the University of Berlin in the late 19th century, Hermann Grimm was one of the first art historians to adopt the glass slide projector as the ideal instrument for studying artworks: “The images become visible in real time, and comparative observation has an immediate effect.”25 It would fall on his successor, Heinrich Wölfflin, to explore the possibilities offered by close proximity, confrontation and comparison that double projection enabled. More than any other way of accessing (images of) works, this form of teaching “where we work with slides”26 satisfied a need described by Wölfflin: “Explaining a painting by guiding the eye is in itself a necessary component of the teaching of art history.”27

Among artists, Ad Reinhardt28 made a particular use of slides in the 1950s and 1960s at projection evenings at New York’s Artists’ Club and in his courses, associating slides bought from museums with his own photographs of fine artworks, decorative artworks, and architecture that he made during his travels. Heavily influenced by George Kubler, Reinhardt showed his slides in rapid succession, without commenting on them, to substantiate the notion of a universal form of art yielded by the formal links that the showing of slide sequences rendered in a particularly effective manner.

Even if these practices or modes of discourse involving the works and playing out on the screen are well known, Craig Owens’ slides do not tell us much about what happened in the “performative triangle consisting of speaker, audience, and image.”29 The mechanism of projection, which combines visual and verbal mediation on the basis of a sequence of images, provides space and time for analysis and commentary that we can well imagine Owens exploiting. The cumulative nature of projection stimulates a mobility of thought and an agility of discourse, thus confounding speech and action in front of the works of art: that of the teacher as well as the art critic. Owens “was a superb teacher whose courses always draw huge enrollments,”30 recalled Lynne Tillman. The artist Tom Burr, who attended Craig Owens’ courses at the School of Visual Art (SVA) in New York, recalls the unique way that he would transform the classroom where he would teach into a space for performance and confrontation of ideas that would also come to fruition in the form of articles written for Art in America and critical essays: “Craig’s hands and his entire body engaged us in a taut pedagogical journey that consisted largely of images—in the form of a rapid-fire 35 mm slide progression, of artworks and images related to the texts we were reading, on the one hand, and continual dialogue on the other – the slide projector and Craig’s verbal prowess creating a splitscreen of focus. […] A performance was occurring. It was a performance that was mirrored in Craig’s own writings.”31

“So useless, so useful.”*  On Craig Owens’ slide collection - Holobionte

S439, Craig Owens Slide Library, held by James Meyer, Washington, D. C.

A history of postmodern art through images

Craig Owens’ surviving slide collection opens an iconographic window onto a decade of art history characterized by the postmodernism of the artists most represented in this set of images, and in whom he was interested. The slides also belong to a category of images situated at the opposite end of the modernist values that prevailed in institutions at that time, such as uniqueness and originality. They aligned themselves with the “plurality of copies”32 that characterized postmodernist photographic practices, and they also asserted the existence of a kind of photographic image outside that of the materiality of prints. They thereby participate in the extinguishing of the aura of original artworks that Walter Benjamin associated with the mechanical production of photography, and on which Craig Owens and Douglas Crimp both commented on at length.

At the same time, in the 1980s, when Craig Owens was building his collection, slide projections were held, often alongside videos, in “darkrooms” installed in alternative art spaces such as The Artists’ Space or The Kitchen, as well as in institutions. For example, The Ballad of Sexual Dependency, the slideshow of almost 700 images that Nan Goldin had started showing as a performance in clubs and underground movie theaters at the very end of the 1970s, was screened alongside other “films and slide projections” in the Film/Video Gallery at the Whitney Museum’s 1985 Biennial. The art critic Andy Grundberg, then, wrote in the New York Times: “the present groundswell of interest in projecting photographic images is fueled by a fundamental disaffection with the physical presence and esthetic efficacy of photographs as prints.”33

In this visual and artistic context, did slides play a role in the development of Owens’ ideas about postmodern practices? Although he didn’t comment on this in his writings, we will nevertheless hypothesize that they contributed to his view of photography as an allegory. The enlargement of photographic copies of original artworks through a light projection rendered them accessible to an audience of students or lecture attendees; the slides thus participated—aside from their primary didactic function—in the questioning of established definitions. Looking at and commenting on slides equates to reflecting on the force of knowing works of art through their reproductions and, thus, to thinking about the absence of the original, which disappears amidst its multiple copies. Furthermore, the visual mechanism of light projection suggests an experience of the artworks that recalls the affects produced by advertising and film images, and postmodern artists contemplated the power of their fascination. Douglas Crimp evoked these effects on the basis of his experience of Sherrie Levine’s work presented at The Kitchen in February 197934 in the form of a projection on a gallery wall of a color slide depicting the silhouetted profile of an American president in the middle of which she had glued a photograph of a mother and her child that she had cut out of a magazine: “The mother-and-child/Kennedy picture was magnified to a height of eight feet and diffused through a stream of light. This presentation of the image gave it a commanding, theatrical presence. But what was the medium of that presence and thus of the work? Light? A 35-mm slide? A cut-out picture from a magazine? Or is the medium of this work perhaps its reproduction here in this journal? And if it is impossible to locate the physical medium of the work, can we then locate the original artwork?”35

Located spatially and temporally in the specific place of its projection, a slide is an ephemeral, hybrid type of photograph. Projection is the sole means of interrelating images in a way that approaches montage and that encourages the articulation of both the visual and the verbal. In his article “The Allegorical Impulse,” Craig Owens mentioned “the reciprocity which allegory proposes between the visual and the verbal: words are often treated as purely visual phenomena, while visual images are offered as script to be deciphered.”36 As to the work of Robert Smithson, which Owens used to reflect on photography’s allegorical potential, it initially consisted of Kodachrome slides, such as the entropic landscape photographs of New Jersey or the Yucatan in Mirror Displacements or the lecture illustrated with slides, Hotel Palenque, which he gave in 1972 to students at the University of Utah.37

Today, in their boxes, the reproductions of artworks encapsulated in small rectangles are simply awaiting the flow of electrical light to become fully visible again. Fragile and useless in their planned obsolescence at the hands of the transition to digital technology in the 2000s, they nevertheless remain a useful archive that sits at the crossroads of three kinds of activity, “a fragment of past time” whose value remains associated with the person who collected, sorted, and commented on them. In the same way that Robert Smithson’s Mirror Displacements, cited by Owens, merely reflect “a sense of loss, of absence” in the landscape of the Yucatan, these packaged slides are like a mise en abyme of the absence of the critic’s discussion of the artworks they depict. Owens is elsewhere.

  1. 1. James Meyer, “Outside the Box. James Meyer Unpacks Craig Owens’s Slide Library,” Artforum (March 2003): 63–66, 260–216, 264. There are 635 slides in the Owens’s slides collection. See the inventory of Owens’s slides collection made by Katia Schneller.
  2. 2. A standard nineteenth-century technique, glass –both heavy and fragile– was replaced, from the 1930s onwards, by flexible, lightweight plastic materials, improvements to which were made possible by progress in the production of cinematographic film stock. These materials were cellulose nitrate, cellulose acetate, and polyester.
  3. 3. In recent years, this area has begun to be explored in research and exhibitions. See Slideshow. Projected Images in Contemporary Art, ed. Darsie Alexander (Baltimore: Baltimore Museum of Art; London: Tate Publishing, 2005); Diapositive: histoire de la photographie projetée, eds. A. Lacoste, N. Boulouch, O. Lugon, and alii. (Lausanne: Musée de l’Elysée; Editions Noir et blanc, 2017).
  4. 4. Using the hyalotype –albumen-on-glass process–, psychiatrist Thomas Story Kirkbride was the first to explore the benefits of projecting photographic imagery in the treatment of psychiatric patients at Pennsylvania Hospital for the Insane in Philadelphia. See George S. Layne, “The Langenheim of Philadelphia,” History of Photography, vol. 11, no. 1 (January-March 1987): 39–52; and Angélique Quillay, A Reverse Image. La culture visuelle du Pennsylvania Hospital for the Insane sous la direction de Thomas Kirkbride (1840-1883), advisor: François Brunet (Ph.D. dissertation, Université Sorbonne Paris Cité, 2016).
  5. 5. Eugène Trutat, Traité général des projections (Paris : Charles Mendel, 1897), 1. Unless stated otherwise, all translations are ours.
  6. 6. See N. Boulouch, “Figurez-vous un écran… La photographie projetée autour de 1900,” in Diapositive: histoire de la photographie projetée, 162–175.
  7. 7. See Olivier Lugon, “Exposer/Projeter : la diapositive et les écrans multiples dans les années 1960,” in Diapositive: histoire de la photographie projetée, 188–201.
  8. 8. See Nathalie Boulouch, Le Ciel est bleu: une histoire de la photographie couleur (Paris: Textuel, 2011) and “Photographie illégitime, cinéma du pauvre: l’impossible destin de la diapositive,” Projeter/Projecting, Intermédialités : histoire et théorie des arts, des lettres et des techniques / Intermediality: History and Theory of the Arts, Literature and Technologies, no. 24-25 (Fall-Spring 2014-2015), online:, accessed October 15, 2019.
  9. 9. Mel Bochner in a telephone conversation with Vicki Goldberg, February 10, 1997, quoted in Robert Smithson. Slideworks, ed. G. Bargellesi-Severi (Verona: Carlo Frua, 1997), 172.
  10. 10.  Ibid.
  11. 11. See Dan Graham, interview with Sabine Breitwieser, November 1, 2011, The Museum of Modern Art Oral History Program, New York City, online:, accessed October 15, 2019. After showing an early version of what would become Homes for America (1966) in this context Dan Graham was invited to participate in the exhibition “Projected Art” curated by Elayne Varian at the New York Finch College Museum of Art (December 8, 1966 to January 8, 1967). His contribution to the exhibition consisted in projecting 21 slides under the matter-of-fact title Project Transparencies. Graham presented the screening a second time under the alternative title Transparencies: 1965-1966 Slide Projection in the exhibition “Focus on Light” at the New Jersey Museum in Trenton from May to September 1967. See N. Boulouch, “La projection de diapositives, le dispositif et le protocole: à propos d’Homes for America de Dan Graham,” in Protocole et photographie contemporaine, ed. Danielle Méaux (Saint-Etienne: Publications de l’université de Saint-Etienne, 2013), 285–297.
  12. 12. In the Archives de la critique d’art collection, many files of art critics contain numerous examples of slides submitted by artists and galleries. See
  13. 13. The number of slides reached 900 in 1981. Art in America would appear to be the only magazine to offer this service.
  14. 14. See Craig Owens’s chronology made by Katia Schneller.
  15. 15. The first International Photographic Congress in 1889 established this use, which made it easier to identify and load plates in dim light in order to avoid projecting images upside down.
  16. 16. Craig Owens, Baldwin Lecture, Oberlin College quoted in Beyond Recognition. Representation, Power and Culture. Craig Owens, eds. Scott Bryson, Barbara Kruger, Lynne Tillman, and Jane Weinstock (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994), 327.
  17. 17. Stanislas Meunier, Les Projections lumineuses et l’enseignement primaire. Conférence faite le 30 mars 1880 dans le grand amphithéâtre de la Sorbonne aux Membres du Congrès pédagogique (Paris: A. Molteni, 1880), 6.
  18. 18. See Lyne Therrien, L’histoire de l’art en France. Genèse d’une discipline universitaire (Paris: Editions du CTHS, 1998), 397.
  19. 19. See Howard B. Leighton, “The Lantern Slide and Art History,” History of Photography, vol. 8, no. 2 (April-June 1984): 107–118.
  20. 20. In France, the projection service was created in 1896 by the Musée pédagogique [the French State Educational Museum] to distribute via the post collections of educational images made available to teachers. See Lumineuses projections ! La projection fixe éducative, ed. Anne Quillien (Rouen: Canopé Editions, 2016).
  21. 21. See Jacques Aumont, L’image (Paris: Nathan, 1990), 130. Cinema and video are considered as time-based images.
  22. 22. Roland Recht, “Du style aux catégories optiques,” in Relire Wölfflin, eds. Joan Hart, Roland Recht, Matthias Waschek (Paris: Musée du Louvre; Paris: Ecole nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts, 1995), 47.
  23. 23. The term was used in the nineteenth century to denote projected images.
  24. 24. Trevor Fawcett, “Visual Facts and the Nineteenth-Century Art Lecture,” Art History, vol. 6, no. 4 (December 1983): 455.
  25. 25. Willibald Sauerländer, “L’Allemagne et la Kunstgeschichte. Genèse d’une discipline universitaire,” Revue de l’art, no. 45 (1979): 7.
  26. 26. Heinrich Wölfflin, “Sur les côtés droit et gauche dans le tableau,” in Réflexions sur l’histoire de l’art [Gedanken zur Kunstgeschichte, 1941], trans. Rainer Rochlitz (Paris: Flammarion, 1997), 116.
  27. 27. Heinrich Wölfflin, “De l’explication des œuvres d’art,” in Relire Wölfflin, 123.
  28. 28. See Dale McConathy, “Ad Reinhardt: ‘He Loved to Confuse and Confound’,” ArtNews, no. 79 (April 1980), 56–59. Reinhardt’s collection included more than 12,000 slides.
  29. 29. Robert S. Nelson, “The Slide Lecture, or the Work of Art ‘History’ in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction,” Critical Inquiry, vol. 26, no. 3 (Spring 2000), 415.
  30. 30. Lynne Tillman, “Craig Owens, 1950-1990,” Art in America (September 1990), 185.
  31. 31. See Tom Burr, “Architecture of Influence: Thinking Through Craig Owens,” Woman & Performance: a journal of feminist theory 26, no. 1 (2016): 95-100, online:, accessed October 15, 2019.
  32. 32. Douglas Crimp, “The Photographic Activity of Postmodernism,” October, vol. 15 (Winter 1980): 91.
  33. 33. Andy Grundberg, “Beyond Still Imagery,” The New York Times (April 7, 1985): 24.
  34. 34. For her solo show at the Kitchen, New York City, from February 2 to February 10, 1979, Sherrie Levine projected a cropped photograph of a mother and a child according to the silhouette of an American president.
  35. 35. Douglas Crimp, “Pictures,” October, vol. 8 (Spring 1979): 87. It is interesting to note that the reference to Sherrie Levine’s projection replaced that of Philip Smith’s slide projection, as it appeared in the catalog essay for the “Pictures” exhibition at Artists Space in 1977. The essay from 1979 was based on the earlier catalog essay. Levine did not exhibit a projection at Artists Space in 1977.
  36. 36. Craig Owens, “The Allegorical Impulse: Toward a Theory of Postmodernism”, October (Spring 1980): 71.
  37. 37. See Nathalie Boulouch, Laurence Corbel, “Déconstruire la performance”, in Laurence Corbel, Christophe Viart (eds.), Paperboard. La conférence performance : artistes et cas d’étude (Paris : T&P Publishing, 2021), 36-51.
  38. 38. Arlette Farge, The Allure of the Archive, trans. Thomas Scott-Railton (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2013), 17; Le Goût de l’archive (Paris: Editions du Seuil, 1989), 26.
  39. 39. Craig Owens, “Photography ‘en abyme’,” October, vol. 5 (Summer 1978): 88; reprinted in Beyond Recognition, 28.