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Douglas Crimp - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Douglas Crimp (born 1944) is an American professor in art history based at the University of Rochester.

Crimp has been an important critic in the development of postmodern art theory. In 1977 he curated the influential exhibition Pictures at Artists Space, presenting the early work of Sherrie Levine, Jack Goldstein, Phillip Smith, Troy Brauntuch, and Robert Longo. Two years later he elaborated the discussion of postmodern artistic strategies in an essay with the same title in October, including Cindy Sherman in what was to be known as The Pictures Generation. In his 1980 October essay On the Museum's Ruins he applies the ideas of Foucault to an analysis of museums, describing them as an "institution of confinement" comparable to the asylums and prisons that are the subjects of Foucault's investigations.[4] His most important work on postmodernist art and institutional critique was published in the 1993 book, On the Museum’s Ruins.

In 1985, Crimp was one of numerous art critics, curators, and artists who spoke at a General Services Administration hearing in defense of Richard Serra's controversial public sculpture Tilted Arc, which had been commissioned as a site-specific piece for Federal Plaza in New York and was ultimately removed in 1989.[5]

In 1987 Crimp edited a special AIDS-issue of October, entitled AIDS: Cultural Analysis/Cultural Activism. In his introduction to the edition Crimp argued for "cultural practices actively participating in the struggle against AIDS and its cultural consequences."[6] During this time he was an active member of the AIDS-activist group ACT UP in New York. Mourning and Militancy (1989) discusses the connections between the artistic representations of mourning and the politic interventions of militancy. Crimp argues that these two opposing positions should be allowed to co-exist.[7] In 1990 he published a book entitled AIDS Demo Graphics on the activist esthetics of ACT UP together with Adam Rolston. Crimp’s work on AIDS has been seen as an important contribution to the development of queer theory in the US. In 2002 he published all his previous work on AIDS in the book Melancholia and Moralism – Essays on AIDS and Queer Politics.

Crimp is currently working on memoir with the working title Before Pictures, on the relationship between the art world and the gay world in New York in the 1960s and 1970s.