Art

Rosalind Krauss’s Brain: The Combative Academic Is Back With a New Book

The cover of "Under Blue Cup" by Rosalind Krauss. (Courtesy MIT Press)

“Late in 1999, my brain erupted.”

This is how art historian Rosalind Krauss begins her new book, Under Blue Cup, which will be published by MIT Press next month.

“I had an aneurysm, which is a brain attack,” Ms. Krauss told The Observer as we sat in her office at Columbia University, where she has been an art history professor for almost 20 years. There was a lightbox on her desk covered with about a dozen slides of artworks. Chunky tortoise-shell glasses framed her intense, wide-set eyes; she wore a T-shirt by Seattle artist Sam Durant printed with a diagram inspired by one of her theoretical models.

When the attack came, blood flowed into her brain, “disconnecting synapses and washing neurons away,” she says in the book. After three neurosurgeries, she recovered, but there were gaps in her memory. “When I got out of the hospital, the doctors advised me to do cognitive therapy, which is about remembering,” Ms. Krauss continued. “They say that if you can remember who you are, you can teach yourself to remember anything, and it’s true.” Read More