In 1984, artist Lyn Blumenthal used a recently released Panasonic portapak to record an interview with the late critic Craig Owens. Owens, whose interests included feminism, photography, and postmodernism, was among the founding members of the journal October and a longtime editor at Art in America magazine.

A new book from artist Paul Chan’s publishing house, Badlands Unlimited, reproduces a transcript from that interview, which was part of a series of videotaped encounters with artists including Lee Krasner, Joan Mitchell, Sol LeWitt, and Joseph Beuys. The conversations, conducted by Blumenthal in collaboration with fellow artist Kate Horsfield, are housed at the Video Data Bank.

In the book, Craig Owens: Portrait of a Young Critic, Owens describes his reckoning with feminist and postmodernist thought in the context of a life that took him from small-town Pennsylvania to the beating heart of the New York art world.

In the excerpt below, the book’s first chapter, Owens discusses his attempt to get away from writing in an apparently objective voice, and his desire to write a book that would liken the serial production of artists like Warhol to serial killing. Read more