Zhiliang Wang


The identity between art criticism and art theory is not inherently selfevident. On the contrary, they are combined together thanks to postmodernism. Douglas Crimp is one of most influential postmodern critics, who uses Jacques Lacans theory to interpret the works of the “Pictures Generation” as a signifying chain. Such translation of theory into his work can be viewed distinctively as a postmodernist strategy. Crimp also applies the concept of the signifying chain to his study of the photograph. At the same time, based on Lacans theory, he rewrites Walter Benjamins conceptualization of aura and reproduction, and suggests that postmodernist photography should be a kind of photography that critiques photography per se. So Levines method of reproduction and Shermans fiction are regarded as two exemplars in postmodernist photography. Finally, through his critical interpretation of the “Pictures Generation,” Crimp incorporates Lacans and Benjamins theories into the discursive system of contemporary art and establishes his own postmodernist criticism.


the signifying chain;Douglas Crimp;the Pictures Generation;postmodernism;reproduction

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