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Travis Jeppesen

PhD Work

Towards a 21st Century Expressionist Art Criticism

This thesis explores the following questions: What might a 21st century expressionist art criticism consist of? How does such a mode of 'art writing' relate to oppositional strategies often employed by certain artists challenging the boundaries traditionally separating art from writing? What role does the body play in such a model of writing? What role might fiction play in an expressionist art criticism? The intended outcome is to render a new model of writing 'in the expanded field', to borrow Rosalind Krauss’s phrase.

The essays and pieces of writing comprising this dissertation have been organized into four sections. The first part, 'Bad Writing', lays the groundwork for the three stylistic modes of expressionist art criticism that follow: the Expressionist Essay, Ficto-criticism, and Object-Oriented Writing. Prefaces before each section elaborate the conceptual thinking involved in arriving at each particular designation, as well as the positioning of each mode in the overall conception of a 21st century expressionist art criticism.

This thesis begins with the argument that art criticism must first and foremost be understood as a literary art form. This is an issue of intentionality that must be asserted at the outset, one that resonates with John Dewey’s notion of criticism’s re-creative and imaginative aim. It is one of the essential qualities that distinguishes art criticism from the art historical endeavor. I contend that the practice of art criticism is an art form in and of itself, one that, following the poet-critic model (or, more aptly, anti-model) advanced by Baudelaire and Apollinaire, is essentially complementary to the art object. This complementarity is what the task of an expressionist art criticism hopes to achieve. Thus, this thesis should be considered as an example of an art writing practice in the context of a thesis-based dissertation. 


  • Travis Jeppesen
  • PhD


    School of Humanities


    Critical Writing in Art & Design, 2011–2016

  • Travis Jeppesen is the author of several novels, including The Suiciders, Victims, and Wolf at the Door. In addition to his art criticism, he is known as the creator of object-oriented writing, a metaphysical form of writing-as-embodiment that attempts to channel the inner lives of objects. His first major object-oriented writing project, 16 Sculptures, was published in book format by Publication Studio, featured in the Whitney Biennial as an audio installation, and was the subject of a solo exhibition at Wilkinson Gallery in London. An exhibition and publication of his calligraphic work, New Writing, was launched at Exile, Berlin, in May 2016.  

  • Degrees

  • BA Literature, Eugene Lang College of the New School for Social Research, New York, 2001
  • Exhibitions

  • Travis Jeppesen, New Writing, Exile, Berlin, 2016; Travis Jeppesen, 16 Sculptures, Wilkinson Gallery, London, 2014; The Green Ray, Wilkinson Gallery, London, 2016; Dietmar Lutz, André Niebur, Travis Jeppesen, 2nd Floor Projects, San Francisco, 2016; Art Must Go, Circus of Books, Los Angeles, 2016; Melancholy & Raving Madness, Royal College of Psychiatry, London, 2015; Down Where Changed, Cubitt, London, 2014–2015; Cucumber Bones, TOVES, Copenhagen, 2014; Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 2014; House Style, Tramway, Glasgow, 2013
  • Publications

  • Travis Jeppesen, New Writing, Exile, 2016 (limited edition); All Fall, two novellas, Publication Studio, 2014; The Suiciders, a novel, Semiotext(e), 2013; Wolf at the Door, a novel, Twisted Spoon Press, 2007; Victims, a novel, Akashic Books, 2003 (Russian translation, 2005: Eksmo, Moscow); 2nd edition: ITNA Press, 2014; 16 Sculptures, Publication Studio, 2014; Dicklung & Others, BLATT Books, 2009; Poems I Wrote While Watching TV, BLATT Books, 2006; Disorientations: Art on the Margins of the “Contemporary”, Social Disease Publishing, 2008