Craig Owens (1950 – 1990) was an American post-modernist art critic,[1] gay activist[2] and feminist.

Biography Edit

Craig Owens was the editor for Art in America,[3] a contributor to such scholarly journals as Skyline and October, and a professor of art history at Yale University and Barnard College. He wrote many essays on such diverse topics as photography, feminism, gay politics, art in the marketplace, serial art, and psychoanalysis, as well as a number of seminal essays on individual contemporary individual artists, including Allan McCollum, William Wegman, and Barbara Kruger.

One of Owens's most influential essays was The Allegorical Impulse: Toward a Theory of Postmodernism, an article in two parts in which he explores the allegorical aspects of contemporary art. The two parts were published in the journal October in Spring 1980 and Summer 1980. In the first part Owen says that, "Allegorical imagery is appropriated imagery" (Owens, p54) and discerns an allegorical impulse at work in the appropriation art of artists such as Sherrie Levine. With reference to Walter Benjamin in The Origin of German Tragic Drama he also links allegory with impermanence, the piling up of fragments and obsessional accumulation. These impulses can be seen, respectively, in site-specific art, photomontage and art that follows a mathematical progression (for instance Sol LeWitt). (Owens, p55-57). In the second part he considers the work of Laurie Anderson, Robert Rauschenberg and Cindy Sherman.

He died of AIDS-related illness on 4 July 1990 in Chicago.[4]


  1. Andy Grundberg, ' ART VIEW; As It Must to All, Death Comes To Post-Modernism', New York Times, September 16, 1990
  2. Owens, Craig (1992), Beyond Recognition: Representation, Power, and Culture, University of California Press, ISBN 0520077407 
  3. Grace Glueck, ' ART: 'REPRESENTATION AND SEXUALITY,' MIXED MEDIA SHOW AT NEW MUSEUM', New York Times, January 4, 1985
  4. Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Tendencies, Duke University Press, 1993, page 104

Wikipedialogo This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original article was at Craig Owens. The list of authors can be seen in the page history.. As with LGBT Info, the text of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0.

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