This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. (May 2011) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
|Occupation||Writer, art critic|
Jonathan Crary, is an art critic and essayist, and is Meyer Schapiro Professor of Modern Art and Theory at Columbia University in New York. His first notable works were Techniques of the Observer: On Vision and Modernity in the 19th Century (1990), and Suspensions of Perception: Attention, Spectacle and Modern Culture (2000). He has published critical essays for over 30 Exhibition catalogues, mostly on contemporary art. His style is often classified as observational mixed with scientific, and a dominant theme in his work is the role of the human eye.
Crary attended high school at the Putney School in Vermont. He graduated from Columbia College where he was an art history major. In 1987 he received his Ph.D from Columbia as well. Crary also earned a B.F.A. from the San Francisco Art Institute, where he studied film and photography.
He first taught at the Visual Arts Department at University of California, San Diego. In 1989 he began teaching at Columbia.
His Suspensions of Perception focuses on the period from about 1880 to 1905, exploring the second half of the nineteenth century in which a new way of seeing was introduced. Crary describes this shift as an emergence of subjective vision. In addition, Crary discusses how Attention became a "new object within the modernization of subjectivity...". Crary's book examines how the perception of various cultures were reconstructed and uncertainties were argued. This new development of vision created controversy because it implied that seeing was dependent upon one's subjective thoughts, which were based on what the observer saw. Therefore, this new way of seeing was thought of as unclear, unreliable, and always questioned among a large population of people. Suspensions of Perception published in 2000 was the winner of the 2001 Lionel Trilling Book Award.
Crary's Techniques of the Observer gives a unique study on the origins of modern visual culture. Techniques of the Observer was published in 1990 and translated into nine foreign languages.
Crary has also written on present day "art and culture for publications including Art in America, Artforum, October, Assemblage, Cahiers du Cinema, Film Comment, Grey Room, Domus and Village Voice." Crary is also a critic and wrote critical essays for more than thirty exhibition catalogs. Crary has contributed to the Film Theory and Criticism anthology. eds Braudy & Cohen 7th edition.
Crary was one of the founders of Zone Books in 1986, which is a press known for publications in "History, art theory, politics, anthropology and philosophy". In addition, literature by Michel Foucault, Giorgio Agamben, Gilles Deleuze, and others are included. Crary was co-editor of the 1992 volume Incorporations (Zone Books). Today Crary continues to be a co-editor of Zone Books.