How does painting belong to a network? This late twentieth-century problem, whose relevance has only increased with the ubiquity of digital networks, joins a sequence of modernist questions: How does painting signify in the semiotic aporias of Cubism or the non-objective utopias of the historical avant-gardes? How can the status of painting as matter be made explicit (i.e., through the incorporation of readymades, and the rise of the monochrome and seriality as well as the gestural techniques of dripping, pouring, and staining)? And How might painting meet the challenge of mechanical reproduction (as in strategies of appropriation spanning Pop’s silk screens of the 1960s and the Pictures generation’s return to painting in the 1980s)? None of these problems exists in isolation or ever disappears; instead, there are shifts in emphasis in which earlier questions are reformulated through newer ones.
Joselit, David. “Painting Beside Itself.” October 130 (Fall 2009): 125–134.