Douglas Crimp: Before Pictures

  • Douglas Crimp. Still from Douglas, video, 2015, James Nares

  • Before Pictures by Douglas Crimp, 2016. Dancing Foxes and University of Chicago Press

  • Talk. Douglas Crimp: Before Pictures. Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, Wed, Oct 5, 2016, Level 3, CRC/bookshop.

  • Talk. Douglas Crimp: Before Pictures. Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, Wed, Oct 5, 2016, Level 3, CRC/bookshop.

  • Talk. Douglas Crimp: Before Pictures. Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, Wed, Oct 5, 2016, Level 3, CRC/bookshop.


  1. Oct 5, 2016, 5 – 7 pm
Level 3, CRC/bookshop

Part autobiography and part cultural history, Before Pictures is a courageous account of an exceptional period in both art historian Douglas Crimp’s life and the life of New York City. Crimp will read from his book, followed by a conversation with Harvard professor Carrie Lambert-Beatty.

Douglas Crimp is best known for his work with the Pictures Generation—the very name of which Crimp coined to define the work of artists like Robert Longo and Cindy Sherman. But while his influence is widely recognized, we know little about Crimp’s own formative experiences before 1977, when he organized the exhibition PicturesBefore Pictures, published by Dancing Foxes and University of Chicago Press, tells the story of Crimp’s life as a young gay man and art critic in New York City from the late 1960s through the turbulent 1970s. Crimp participated in all of what made the city so stimulating in that vibrant decade. The details of his professional and personal life are interwoven with the particularly rich history of New York City at that time, producing a vivid portrait of both the critic and his adopted city. At the same time, it offers a deeply personal and engaging point of entry into important issues in contemporary art.

Douglas Crimp

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; Melancholia and Moralism: Essays on AIDS and Queer Politics, 2002; and “Our Kind of Movie”: The Films of Andy Warhol, 2012. He was the curator of the Pictures exhibition at Artists Space, New York, in 1977 and, from 1977 to 1990, an editor of the journal October, for which he edited the special issue AIDS: Cultural Analysis/Cultural Activism in 1987. With Lynne Cooke, he organized the exhibition Mixed Use, Manhattan for the Reina Sofía in Madrid in 2010, and he was on the curatorial team for the 2015 iteration of MoMA PS1’s quinquennial Greater New York. His new book, Before Pictures, is co-published by Dancing Foxes Press and the University of Chicago Press.

Carrie Lambert-Beatty

Carrie Lambert-Beatty, Professor of Visual and Environmental Studies, and of History of Art and Architecture, is an art historian with a focus on art from the 1960s to the present, and a special interest in performance in an expanded sense. Her 2008 book Being Watched: Yvonne Rainer and the 1960s was the first critical study of this signal member of the avant-garde, bringing together new research on minimalism, dance, performance documentation, theories of spectatorship. Lambert-Beatty's writing appears in journals such as Artforum and October, of which she is an editor. She is at work on a book for University of Chicago Press exploring deception, confusion, and states of doubt in contemporary art and culture.


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