Annette Michelson

Annette Michelson (November 7, 1922 – September 17, 2018) was an American art and film critic and writer. Her work contributed to the fields of cinema studies and the avant-garde in visual culture.[1]

Background and CareerEdit

Born in 1922, Michelson graduated from Brooklyn College in 1948. Between 1956 and 1966, she was art editor and critic for the Paris edition of the New York Herald Tribune while also writing for Arts Magazine and Art International. She worked as a writer for Artforum, where she edited the influential issues on 'Eisenstein/Brakhage' in 1973 and the 'Special Film Issue' in 1973. Together with Jay Leyda, she established the Department of Cinema Studies at New York University, where she taught numerous courses, supervised doctoral dissertations, and developed programs until retiring in 2004.[2]

Leaving Artforum in 1976, she founded the journal October together with Rosalind Krauss. October was formed as a politically charged journal that introduced American readers to the ideas of French post-structuralism, made popular by Michel Foucault and Roland Barthes. Michelson's early essays for the journal included several on Sergei Eisenstein and Dziga Vertov, as well translations of texts by Georges Bataille.[3] Krauss and Michelson remained on the journal's editorial board, along with Yve-Alain Bois, Hal Foster, Benjamin H. D. Buchloh, Denis Hollier, David Joselit, Carrie Lambert-Beatty, Mignon Nixon, and Malcolm Turvey.

Among her numerous translations, essays and articles, Michelson edited Kino-Eye: the Writings of Dziga Vertov (1984), and Cinema, Censorship, and the State: The Writings of Nagisa Oshima (1992).[2][4]

On August 10, 2015, the Getty Research Institute announced that Michelson had donated her complete papers and archives to the Institute.[2] The GRI also acquired the drawing Blind Time (1982) and a suite of lithographs, Earth Projects (1969), both by Robert Morris, from Michelson’s collection, as well as Michelson’s film library of over 1500 selections.[2]

Michelson published a collection of her works on avant-garde and experimental film as On the Eve of the Future: Selected Writings on Film (MIT Press) in 2017.[5] The volume includes the first critical essay on Marcel Duchamp's film Anemic Cinema, the first investigation into Joseph Cornell's filmic practices, and the first major exploration of work by Michael Snow.[6] It also includes important essays on Maya Deren, Stan Brakhage, and Hollis Frampton.

Michelson died from complications of dementia on September 17, 2018 at her home in the SoHo neighborhood of Manhattan.[7]


  1. ^ Annette Michelson papers, 1961-2014, Biography/Historical Note, Getty Research Institute.
  2. ^ a b c d Hood, Amy (August 10, 2015). "Critic and Scholar Annette Michelson Donates her Papers to the Getty Research Institute" (Press release). Getty Research Institute. Archived from the original on September 6, 2015. Retrieved October 12, 2015.
  3. ^ Bataille, Georges (Spring 1986). "Writings on Laughter, Sacrifice, Nietzsche, Un-Knowing". October. 36. JSTOR i231779.
  4. ^ Allen, Richard (2003). Camera Obscura, Camera Lucida: Essays in Honor of Annette Michelson. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press. ISBN 9053564942.
  5. ^ "On the Eve of the Future". MIT Press. Retrieved 2017-05-05.
  6. ^ Churner, Rachel. "Annette Michelson talks with Rachel Churner on 'On the Eve of the Future'". Retrieved 2017-05-05.
  7. ^ Genzlinger, Neil (September 18, 2018). "Annette Michelson, Film Studies Pioneer and Journal Founder, Is Dead at 95". The New York Times. Retrieved September 19, 2018.

External linksEdit