Douglas Crimp (University of Rochester, New York)
Crimp’s analysis of Andy Warhol’s most celebrated film, The Chelsea Girls, proceeds from Warhol’s remark about the film in Popism: “It may have looked like a horror show—‘cubicles in hell’—to some outside people, but to us it was more like a comfort.” What might have been comforting to Warhol about a film that reviewers at the time found utterly disturbing, comparing it to William Burroughs or Hieronymus Bosch or calling it a “peep show put-on” and “a cesspool of vulgarity and talentless confusion”? By paying careful attention to the film’s form as well as to the milieu it depicts, Crimp finds new meaning in what Yvonne Rainer recognized in her 1966 review of The Chelsea Girls as “another story”—meaning that might indeed be “a comfort.”
Douglas Crimp is Fanny Knapp Allen Professor of Art History at the University of Rochester and the author of On the Museum’s Ruins (1993) and Melancholia and Moralism: Essays on AIDS and Queer Politics (2002). Crimp was the curator of the “Pictures” exhibition at Artists Space, New York, in 1977 and an editor of October magazine from 1977 to 1990. With Lynne Cooke, he organized the exhibition “Mixed Use, Manhattan” for the Reina Sofía in Madrid in the summer of 2010. Our Kind of Movie, his book on Andy Warhol’s films, will be published by MIT Press in the spring of 2012.