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Essays on Modern Art: Cy Twombly - Criticisms and Essays on Previously Unseen Art in the Koolhaas Collection

Essays on Modern Art: Cy Twombly - Criticisms and Essays on Previously Unseen Art in the Koolhaas Collection

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Essays on Modern Art: Cy Twombly - Criticisms and Essays on Previously Unseen Art in the Koolhaas Collection

50 pages
34 minutes
Apr 15, 2016


Justice Koolhaas’s Essays on Modern Art are reproduced alongside at least one of each artist’s works that she owned. Unusually, these works were discards; even more unusually, she obtained them on condition that each artist signed a statement disowning them as artworks.
Her theory work, a refusenikism written in deliberate opacity, is inspired by her collection of art refuse.
Twombly is explored through Walter Benjamin, Deleuze & Guattari and Stéphane Mallarmé. The painter’s interest in the latter’s poetry is obvious from the word-like nature of his mark-making; equally, why Koolhaas was interested in them both is obvious from the way her fanciful and opaque theory evokes sensual understandings rather than anything we could reduce to mere ‘grammar’ or even ‘sense’.
Her circumlocution suggests that artists can emerge from within themselves; the machineries of oppression and standardisation are the selfsame machineries that today’s smartest artists are learning to colonise in a reverse movement that throws power back onto itself. The real terror represented by the Jihadist today is the terror that, as Beuys envisioned, everybody realises their creative potential. Working at the margins as a culture jammer therefore demands sophistry with language. An excellent example can found in one of the Twomblys in both the Koolhaas estate and her essay here.
C. M. Cohen’s comprehensive interpretations mean that the uninitiated Koolhaas student can pick and mix material from this book to suit their purposes without feeling pressured to grasp everything at once.

Apr 15, 2016

À propos de l'auteur

Message on 12th June 2016: A new version of Bots with a new contents table for the epub version will be uploaded in the coming week. Thanks, Volker.

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Aperçu du livre

Essays on Modern Art - Justice Koolhaas


Essays on Modern Art: Cy Twombly

Justice Koolhaas

Smashwords Edition.

Copyright 2015 Justice Koolhaas.

Smashwords Edition, License Notes

Thank you for downloading this free ebook. You are welcome to share it with your friends. This book may be reproduced, copied and distributed for non-commercial purposes, provided the book remains in its complete original form. If you enjoyed this book, please return to Smashwords.com to discover other works by this author. Thank you for your support.


The research and translation for this text was match-funded via the B route: application 1227H/2014.

The translator would like to, as ever, thank Sofietje and Jan.

Cover design: D. Janssen.

‘Crisis in Poetry’ circa 1970. Pencil on mounted linen.

Dimensions approx. 120 x 151 cm

Table of Contents

Translator's Introduction

The Concept of the Problematic

Textual Connexivities

Also by Justice Koolhaas

Translator’s Introduction

Series Introduction

It is difficult for today’s students to find source materials that are original enough to give their assignments an edge. There are so many books and so little time. This is especially so in the labyrinthine world of art and its accompanying theories. What can another book add about the artists that form the backbone of art history? The Essays on Modern Art series offers three things: each book is short, discusses a previously unseen artwork, and carries the prestige in presenting a new and startling theorist – Justice Koolhaas.

Her thought has only recently been made available, and is introduced at length in a previous publication, Creative Theory, Radical Example (Koolhaas 2015). Her art theory has, over five decades, covered mainstream figures and lesser known ones alike. Each of her theoretical essays, introduced by myself, is reproduced alongside at least one of each artist’s works owned by Koolhaas.

The artworks are from a collection of over fourteen hundred that she amassed between the nineteen sixties and early 2000s. These range from paintings and sculptures to videos and installations. Each was obtained in an unorthodox manner. She used her position as an outsider theorist to ingratiate herself with art professionals and hangers-on, the kind of people who typically accrete around artists once their work begins to gather some commercial and critical momentum. Sometimes this resulted in studio visits that sometimes resulted in her asking about any recent work that had been discarded. The discussion about that discarded work occasionally led to her asking to keep it, but with a proviso. She asked

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