Author and Critic Chris Kraus’ Papers Arrive at NYU’s Fales Library & Special Collections


Kraus’ papers include correspondence and press related to her work as a novelist, critic, and editor. Notably, the acquisition includes her personal diaries, source material for her acclaimed novels that seamlessly combine autobiography with fiction and philosophy.

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Chris Kraus photo by John Kelsey

New York University’s Fales Library & Special Collections is pleased to announce the acquisition of the papers of Chris Kraus, widely admired for her work as a novelist, art critic, filmmaker and co-editor, along with Sylvère Lotringer and Hedi El Kholti, of the influential publishing house Semiotext(e). Kraus is also the founder of the Semiotext(e) imprint Native Agents, which in 1990 began publishing then little known authors such as Cookie Mueller, Ann Rower, David Rattray and Eileen Myles.

Kraus’ papers include correspondence and press related to her work as a novelist, critic, and editor. Notably, the acquisition includes her personal diaries, source material for her acclaimed novels that seamlessly combine autobiography with fiction and philosophy. The material also documents Kraus’ earlier work as a journalist in New Zealand, and as a playwright and filmmaker in New York in the 1980s and 90s, and includes film and video footage for both finished and unfinished films.

“Chris Kraus has been a near cult figure for a generation of artists, writers and activists who first discovered her through her novel I Love Dick,” said Fales Senior Archivist Lisa Darms. “Her reputation as one of our most audacious and perceptive novelists and art critics has been bolstered by the re-publication of Kraus’ novels. I am extremely proud to be able to preserve Chris’ archive and make it available to scholars of contemporary literature, art, media culture, gender and economic activism.”

“I was drawn to Fales because of its focus on cultural movements like Riot Grrrl and Downtown New York, and the way the archivists’ sense of these histories remains open and fluid,” said Kraus. “I've found it to be a very user-friendly collection, which is important to me as a researcher.”

Kraus’ novels include I Love Dick (1997), Aliens & Anorexia, Torpor (2000), and Summer of Hate (2012). Kraus' non-fiction works include Where Art Belongs (2011) and Video Green: Los Angeles Art and the Triumph of Nothingness (2004), which examined the proliferation of late 1990s art by high-profile graduate programs that propelled Los Angeles into the focus of the international art world. Her films include Gravity & Grace, How To Shoot A Crime, and The Golden Bowl, or, Repression.

In 2008 Kraus received the Frank Jewett Mather Award for Art Criticism from the College Art Association and a Warhol Foundation Arts Writer’s grant in 2010. Conferences and panels on Kraus’ writing were held in 2013 at the Royal College of Art, London and in 2014 at Monash University, Melbourne. Since 2010, she has been a professor on the European Graduate School’s Faculty of Philosophy, Art and Critical Thought. Kraus’ in-progress critical biography of Kathy Acker, The Childlike Life of the Black Tarantula, will be published by Semiotext(e)/MIT Press in 2017

 


About Fales Library and Special Collections:
The Fales Library, comprising nearly 358,000 volumes and over 11,000 linear feet of archive and manuscript materials, houses the Fales Collection of rare books and manuscripts in English and American literature, the Downtown Collection, the Marion Nestle Food Studies Collection, and the general special collections of the NYU Libraries. The Fales Collection was given to NYU in 1957 by DeCoursey Fales in memory of his father, Haliburton Fales. It is especially strong in English literature from the middle of the 18th century to the present, documenting developments in the novel. The Downtown Collection, founded in 1993, documents the downtown New York art, performance, and literary scenes from 1975 to the present and is extremely rich in archival holdings, including extensive film and video. The goal of the Downtown Collection is to comprehensively collect the full range of artistic practices and output of the Downtown scene, regardless of format. This research collection, built on a documentary strategy, supports the research of students and scholars interested in the intersection of the contemporary arts and other forms of cultural and artistic expression.

The NYU Division of Libraries is a global system comprising five libraries in Manhattan and one each in Brooklyn, Abu Dhabi and Shanghai.  Its flagship, the Elmer Holmes Bobst Library on Washington Square, receives 2.6 million visits annually.  For more information about the NYU Libraries, please visit http://library.nyu.edu


Poster from The Performing Garage, an off-off-Broadway theater in SoHo, NYC, advertising a night of Kraus' films.

Press Contact

Christopher James
Christopher James
(212) 998-6876