Andrew W. Mellon Graduate Fellow in the Humanities
2011—2012 Forum on Adaptations
History of Art
The Machinic Artist and Decentered Subjectivity, 1963-1979
My dissertation focuses on a persistent tendency towards the machinic processes in Western art from the early 1960s to the late 1970s. In their adaptation of patriarchal, mass cultural or institutional practice, artists Yayoi Kusama, Cindy Sherman, Marcel Broodthaers and Andy Warhol rendered themselves machine-like. Ironically, this mode of adaptation, fueled by a desire to repeat, culminated in a complex critique and parody of the leveling impact of patriarchal structures, industrial culture and art institutions on the Western subject of 60s and 70s. The project explores the masochistic and humorous aspects of the strategies of adaptation underlying decentered subjectivity in the work of these artists in the socio-cultural context during the period preceeding what eventually would be codified as "postmodernism." It differs from existing scholarship on the representation of the subject in postmodern art in that the subjectivity here is by no means fragmented or canceled, but rather suspended in a masochistic desire for mimetic adaptation.