5 July 2019
Krauss, Rosalind. “Sculpture in the Expanded Field.” October, Vol. 8 (Spring, 1979), pp. 30-44.
In this well-known essay, Rosalind Krauss responds to shifting understandings of sculpture as an art form, particularly within the modernist and postmodernist periods. She proposes a new classification system that places it in juxtaposition to the categories of landscape and architecture. Her rubric includes "negative" conditions such as not-landscape and not-architecture. Importantly, she addresses the “sitelessness, or homelessness, an absolute loss of place” that sculpture endured during the modernist period.
How does this relate to scenography?
This article touches on ideas that are relevant to a current design dilemma within American theatrical practice. On one hand, we rely on a literal and metaphoric “sitelessness” for the production and consumption of commercial and regional theater. At the same time, we are hungry for site-specific and immersive productions. Similarly, the postmodern appreciation of simultaneously "being" and "not being" is well laid out in this essay.
Additionally, Krauss’ thoughts about monuments as place-markers and the absorption of the sculptural pedestal within the work of art itself speak to cultural assumptions made about theatrical masking and theater architecture post-WW II.