The Depth of the Surface, or, What Rolf Dieter Brinkmann Learned from Andy Warhol

by Gerd Gemünden
The Depth of the Surface, or, What Rolf Dieter Brinkmann Learned from Andy Warhol
Gerd Gemünden
The German Quarterly
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Dartmouth College

The Depth of the Surface, or, What Rolf Dieter Brinkmann Learned from Andy Warhol*

Ich finde gewohnliche Sachen schon,

weil sie nichts bedeuten, und da13 sie

nichts bedeuten, ist ihre Tiefe.

-Rolf Dieter Brinkmannl

Surfaceis anillusion, but so is depth.

In an essay on the American poet Frank O'Hara, Rolf Dieter Brinkmann states, "wir leben in der Oberflache von Bildern, erge- ben diese Oberflache, auf der Riickseite ist nichts-sie ist leer. Deshalb mulj diese Obe&che endlich angenommen werden, das Bildhafte taglichen Lebens ernst genommen ~erden."~

Inspired by O'Hara's poetry and by that of other contemporary American writers, Brinkmann proclaims an aesthetics of the surface that validates the beauty and s@cance ofthe everyday. Central to this aestheticsis the attempt to fuse the visual and the verbal. Incorporat- ing elements from film,photography, porn magazines, comics, the fine arts, etc., Brinkmann's own work presents a vigor- ous attempt to validate popular culture as a challenge to the canon of high art. His poetry, fiction, essays, and diaries entertain obvious parallels to the work of American Pop artists, especially to the paintings and films of Andy Warhol, who also strove to represent objects immediately recogniz- able by, and appealing to, large audiences. Beyond the similarities concerning the ob-

jects oftheir artistic representation, Warhol and Brinkmann both questioned the very relation between art and society by chal- lenging what they perceived as the elitism and esotericism of high modernism. It is in thiscontext of redefining the function of art and its modes of production, distribution, and reception that the political implications of the aesthetics of the surface emerge.

Taking issue with recent discussions about postmodernism and the notion ofsur- face, this essay contrasts Brinkmann's po- etic and essayistic work with Andy Warhol's notion of Pop in order to fathom the radical aspect of their respective aesthetics. This comparison implies an understanding of the political and cultural context of post- 1968 West Germany into which Brink- mann transferred Warhol (and the mis-and over-readingsitproduced),aswell as a look at the historical avantgarde which Brink- mann intended to redefine for his own pur- poses. A reading of selected texts by Brink- mann reveals the contributionhis workhas to make in the context of the present debate about postmodernism.

In his influential study on the cultural logic of postmodernism, Fredric Jameson identifies the fascination with the surface as one of the main constituents of contem- porary postmodernism: "the emergence of a new kind of flatness or depthlessness, a new kind of superficiality in the most lit- eral sense [is] perhaps the supreme formal feature of [postmodernism]."3 Comparing Vincent van Gogh's "A Pair of Boots" with Warhol's Viamond Dust Shoes," Jameson argues that Warhol's replacement of depth

The German Quarterly 68.3(Summer 1995) 235

through surface endows the image with a "gladd X-ray elegance [which] mortifies the reified eye of the vie~er."~

Warhol's con- flation of inside and outside is indicative of the disappearance of other oppositions that areat the core of modernism, including the dialectics of essence and appearance; the Freudian model of latent and manifest, or of repression; the existential model of authenticity and inauthenticity (alienation and disalienation); and the great semiotic Warhol's work-and much that goes under the label of postmodern art-abandons critical negativity because it delights in the excesses and contradictions of late capital- ism, from a postmodernist standpoint one could praise its antielitist attitude that foregrounds inclusion rather than exclu- sion while highlighting the fetishization of consumer culture. I would arguethat the continuing attraction of Warhol's paintings and his films (which are neglected by

opposition between signifier and ~ignified.~ Jameson) lies precisely in the playful ex-

The disappearance of these oppositions has radically changed our understanding of the relation of art to politics. Culture can no longer claim an autonomous or semiautonomous sphere in the practical world and has thus lost the utopian character Herbert Marcuse once ascribed to it. Thus, the question arises ifartstill retains a "criti- cal distance" frorn what it represents or whether it has expanded into, or been co- opted by-according to how one wishes to evaluate this development-the social realm.

Warhol's paintings are quite explicit about the connection between art and con- sumer culture and turn around the com- modification of objects and subjects alike -from the Coke bottles and Campbellsoup cans to the Marilyns and Elvises. One of the most famous pronouncements of The Philosophy ofAndy Warhol, after all,is that "business art is the step that comes &r art.% Calling his studio "The Factory," Warhol tried to imitate the mass production of industrial manufacturing, and through- out his prolific career took pride in his work ethic. As Christin J. Mamiya writes, there can be no doubt that "Pop art not only de- picted and reflected [consumer culture] but also appropriated the mechanisms and strategies of corporate society, ensuring the effective marketing of this movement and its absorption into the matrix of consumer

institution^."^ The question to what degree Warhol's work retains a "critical distance" is, therefore, a diflicult one. While, from a modernist standpoint, one may argue that ploitation of their own ambiguities, which thereby denies the viewer or spectator the security of a fixed position. Thisambiguity, I would further argue, is the effect of War- hol's fascination with the surface, a fasci- nation which is at the core of his paintings and films, his life style, and his self-fashioned "philosophy." As Stephen Koch puts it: "famous for being famous, [Warhol] is pure image."8

Warhol's best-known paintings show film stars or soup cans as they appear on the screen or advertising billboards; that is, the "original" (if one may call it that at all) is already two-dimensional, from which Warhol's silk-screens seem to subtract a further dimension. Films like Sleep, Eat, or Haircut depict precisely what their titles promise-"protagonists" that sleep, eat, or get a haircut. If one looks furthermore at the many interviews and autobiographical statements reflecting Warhol's life style and forms of self-promotion, it becomes clear that his fascination with the surface takes on fetishistic proportions. As he said in an interview, "I don't read much about myself, anyway, Ijust look at the pictures in the articles, it doesn't matter what they say about me; I just read the textures of the words. I see everything that way, the sur- face of things, a kind of mental Braille, I just pass my hand over the surface of things.* And he goes on: When I read magazines I just look at the pictures and the words, I don't usually read it. There's no meaning to the words, I just feel the shapes with my eye and if you look at some- thing long enough, I've discovered the meaning goes away."1° And finally: "If you want to know about Andy Warhol, just look at the surface: of my paintings and films and me, and there I am. There's nothing behind it."ll In their provocative superfici- ality, these statements are not without logic. The denial of depth is, first of all, a polemic against the elitism and esotericism of Abstract Expressionism and against the legacy of modernism in general. But it is also a personal defense mechanism: "I'd prefer to remain a mystery," says Warhol, using the surface as camouflage with the paradoxical effect that thismystery further arouses the curiosity of the beholder, whose unfulfilled desire it will be to distinguish the real from the fake. (It should be added that throughout his career, the pale master has cleverly used his shyness and passivity as a tool to exert power over his entourage and workers.) Most importantly for our purposes, the cult of the surface propagates an aesthetics of absolute legibility, instant disclosure of "meaning," naive%, immedi- acy ofthe unobstructedview, and total pres- ence.

Clearly, then, Warhol made use of the notion of surface both as aesthetic credo and as a provocative and polemical tool for establishing his own artistic identity (even if it was an identity that insisted on having no identity). It was precisely this combina- tion of the aesthetic and the political which made him attractive for Brinkmann. Since Pop art led to radical changes not only as to what we consider to be art, but also asto how we think about art's role in society and the institutionalization of art, the notion of surface became instrumental for the radi- cal changes Brinkrnann projected in the modes of production, distribution, and re- ception of art and its function in the social realm. As he made clear in his programmatic essay, "Der Film in Worten," Brink- mann understood his fascination with the sensuality of the surface and the suggestive power of images as direct opposition to the emphasis on rationality and reason domi- nant among the German Left:

Aufgekliirtes Bedtsein, auf das euro- pgsche Intellektuelle so lange stolz Monopolanspriiche erhoben haben, nutzt allein nichts, es ma sich in Bildern aus- dehnen, Obefiche werden-am Beispiel der Sexualitiit erweist sich der geringe Effekt abendliindisch-aufgeklarten Bedtseins: die Reklame hat sich effekti- ver ausgewirkt . . . ein langer Zug von Bil- dern, die vor dem hdukt, fiir das sie wer- ben, ihre Eigenbewegung durchgesetzt haben.12

Those,likeMartin Walser, who felt attacked by Brinkrnann were quick to condemn this kind of irrationalism asfostering "the latest form of fascism," and Yaak Kde ded him a "Vorgartenzwerg der US-PopSzene."13 To be sure, Brinkmann's plea to leave behind the 'usual accumulation of words" in favor of a growingflow of images, and to take as his role model contemporary American poets and artists, provided a calculated provocation in 1969 when the stu- dent movement and its indictment of U.S. politics in Vietnam were at a high point.14 But beyond the intent to provoke, Brink- mann's aesthetics were part of amuchlmger challengeto the modernist conception of art that endowed art with a certain autonomy and thus separated it &om the concerns of everyday life. This autonomy was supposed to prevent arthm turningintoa commodity or into somethingusell to the aims of soci- ety, but italso isolated and removed artfrom society. While some of his contemporaries thought that the solution shouldbe to abolish literature altogether, Brinkmann thought to revitalize literature by closing the gap be- tween high culture and mass culture and by creating works that would be available to, and understood, enjoyed, and further circulated by, large portions of the general public.

Ich stelle mireine Stadt mit Dichterlesun- gen vor, Wandzeitungen mit Gedichten, Gedichte, die an Haltestellen morgens verteilt werden . . . Ich stelle mireine Stadt vor, in der Dichter Schulkindern Gedichte schreiben beibringen, ich stelle mir eine Stadt mit Rock 'n' Rollkonzerten auf enb spannten Pllitzen vor, warme lassige Sommerabende, an denen die Gesichter entspannt sind."15

In his own writings, he strove to abandon exclusivity by appropriating materials and styles finm many different culturt?~, subculbs, media, and literary and nonliterary en=.Their subject matter dealt with the everyday and with objects of immediate rec- ognition (like Warhol's canvases), described in a style which allowed the reader instant understanding. As Brinkmann wrote in the preamble to Watwarts1&2, it washis intention"dieGedichte einfichgenug zumachen, wie Songs, wie eine W a&machen."16 His overall goal was not to change the gem of poetry, but its function. No longer understanding poetry as critical mflection of existing social realities, but as an active participation in the everyday, and endowing poetry with the task and the abil- itytotranscend conventional patterns ofper- ception and experience, Brinkmann con- ceives of the writing of poetry as a political ad. While Walter Benjamin thought that the aesthetization of the everyday was fascism, Andy Warhol thought that it was just fun. Clearly, Rolf Dieter Brinkmann learned more fhm the latter than from the former.

In order to assess how radical the impli- cations ofBrinkmann's work really are, two important historical qualifications have to be made. The first pertains to the reception of American culture in Germany in the late 1960s. As I have argued above, Warhol's work as a painter and filmmaker, and his role as single-handed inventor of Pop, both as art and as lifestyle, made him attractive for Brinkmann's search for revitalizing German cultural life-especially Warhol's wholesale rejection of art history, his inter- est in the everyday, film, mass media, and consumer culture. But, of course, Brink- mann's fascination with Pop was by no means unique among German youths. In the mid 1960s, a wave of enthusiasm for British and American rock music, poster art, flower child cult, and the drug scene swept the Federal Republic, in which Pop became the synonym for a counter-culture that rebelled against the constricting norms of society. As Andreas Huyssen has shown, much of the belief in the radical and subversive force of Pop has proven to be rather naive.17 The democratization of art that many German Leftists saw promised by Warhol, Lichtenstein, and others never materialized, as Pop art was easily assimi- lated by consumer Brinkmann shared, at least to a certain degree, this utopian belief in Pop artand its subsequent disappointment. After 1971, Brinkmann became disenchanted with American popu- lar culture and especially with the German reception of the underground literature for

whichhiswork as editor and translator had been so instrumental: Wich hat das ganz schon fertig gemacht und erschreckt und vor allem mit Eke1 erfiillt, als ich sah,wie die-zugegeben-einigermakn euphorische Anthologie [Acid] damals in die fal- schen Kande gelaufen ist!"lg As he writes in Rom, Blicke, by 1972 America had be- come the evil empire: "Die Erschopfung, Auszehrung des Abendlandes durch den Amerikanismus, durch ijberfremdung, durchTaumeln; and in Erkundungen fur die Prazisierung des "C.fuhls" fur einen Auf- stand: Reise Zeit Magazin (lbgebuch) he calls the U.S. "Vergammeltes Land des La~helns."~~

But while his own writings of that period-most of them published post- humously-are more critical about the capitalist and imperialist implications of American popular culture, and while a stay in Austin, Texas in 1974 forced him to square his imaginary America with the lived experience abroad (reflected in the po- etry volumes Westzt)arts1&2 and Eisu~asser an der Guadelupe Str.), Brinkmann never abandoned his project of surface art, with its fusion of the visual and the verbal asa means of recording the complexities of the everyday. The depth of Brinkmann's surface art clearly transcends that of American Pop art,or at least of its reception in West Germany.

This leads me to the second historical qualification concerning the contempora- neity of Brinkmann. Brinkmann's vision about radical changes in the relation be- tween art and society, about the infusion of high artinto popular culture, and about the validation of the everyday is not without important precursors in the first two dec- ades of this century. A short historical dgression is in order here to map Brinkmann's relation to the historical avant- garde--only then will the label "postmod- ern" as a description for both his style and his cultural politics, or rather, his politics of style, acquire any meaning.

As Peter Biirger has shown in his Theorie derAvantgar&, avantgarde move- ments of the first two decades of this cen- tury such as Dada and Surrealism took is- sue with the notion of autonomous art, which they perceived to be without any so- cial or political consequences. The radical remedy they suggested was to turn artinto something practical, while at the same time aestheticizing the social and political realm,thus closing the gap between artand life. As the proponents of these movements realized, it is not the content of a work of art, but the way it is situated within insti- tutions that determines its reception, and they therefore strove to change the ways in which art was produced, distributed, and received. As Biirger argues, this attack on the institution of art has failed-which leads himto speak of the historical avant- garde-as these institutions continue to exist to this day without having undergone significant changes; the avantgarde's only lasting achievement is a heightened sense of awareness of the function of art in bour- geois society. Contemporary movements and artists who take up ideas and strate- gies of the historical avantgarde are thus doomed to repeat itsmistakes and to fail.

Eine Kunst, die nicht mehr von der IR benspraxis abgesondert ist, sondern vollstlindig in dieser aufgeht, verliert mit der Distanz zur Lebenspraxis auch die Fiihig- bit, diese zukritisieren. Der Versuch, die Distanz zwischen Kunst und Lebenspra- xis aufzuheben, konnte zur &it der histo rischen Avantgardebewegungen no& uneingeschriinkt das Pathos histarischer Fortschrittlichkeit fiir sich in Anspruch nehmen. Inzwischen hat aber mit der Kulturindustrie die falsche Aufhebung der Distanz zwischen Kunst und Leben sich ausgebildet, wodurch auch die Wider- spriichlichkeit des avantgardistischen Unterfangens erkennbar ~ird.~'

The notion of "critical distance," alluded to earlier in connection with Jameson's discussion of the postmodern, appears here again as Biirger insists that, without this distance, art willbe coopted by commercialism. While the historical avantgarde considered the overcoming of the gap between art and life a form of progress, the ultimate failure of these movement. teaches us that this strat- egyis not tobe emulated. Following Adorno's AsthetischeZReorie (which Biuger criticizes elsewhere for its lack of historical under- shdmg), Biirger thus reiterates the pat divide between progressive art and the culture industry. In regard to the work of Andy Warhol, which he labels "Neo-avantgarde," he writes: 'die Abbildung von 100CampbellDosen enWt Widerstand gegen die WarengesellschaR nur fiirden, der ihndarin sehen


A similar critique is also found in the work of Hans M. Enzensberger. Anticipat- ing Biiqeis argument about the aporias of the avantgarde by more than a decade, En- zensberger expressed as early as 1962: "Jede heutige Avantgarde ist Wiederho- lung, Betrug oder Se1bstbetrug.m Like Biirger, Enzensbergerbelieved that thehis- torical avantgarde had not made good on its promise "asthetische oder politische Fesseln zu losen, hergebrachte Herrsch& abzuwerfen, unterdriickte Krdfte in Frei- heit zu setzen.* Those who today still claim to be "ahead" of the others are either the creation of the consciousness industry (Enzensberger's term for the culture indus- try)or take pride in belonging to a cultural elite that only speaks to the initiated.25 En- zensberger's own way out of the aporia of the avantgarde later in the decade was a call to abolish literature alt~gether.~~

While I would agree with Biirger and Enzensberger that the avantgarde's reli- ance on novelty and shock poses an inher- ent dead-end because these strategies quickly exhaust themselves, and while I would also agree that much of the radical impetus of the historical avantgarde has been swallowed, digested, and thus levelled by the big stomach of cultural institutions (both public and private), Iwould insist that the avantgarde's most important achieve- ment, namely recognizing the necessity for bridging the gap between high art and popular culture by questioning the auton- omy of art,continues to be ofutmost impor- tance. This line of questioning was also what led Brinkmann to take issue with Enzensberger's critique of the avantgarde. While Brinkmann agreed with Enzensber- ger's indictment of the elitism of experi- mental and hermetic poetry as an avantgarde gone stale, he heavily criticized the fact that Enzensberger had lumped Jack Kerouac into the same category. Ac- cording to Brinkmann, Enzensberge Js cri- tique remains caught in a Eurocentric school of thought that prematurely applies historical-aesthetic categories, because its emphasis on intellect blinds it to the sen- sual quality of Kerouac's and other Beat writers' writing. And while Brinkmann agrees that certain elements of the histori- cal avantgarde have been taken up by American writers, he feels that Enzensber- ger (and others) fail to see "daB europaische Spielarten der Literatur wie Surrealismus, Expressionismus, Dada .. . zuetwas spezi- fisch Amerikanischem gemacht worden

sind, sie wurden nicht nur aufgenommen, sondern auch verfindert, dem neuen Mate- rial ange~a13t."~~ This particular new American movement in literature and the arts presented a vitality that Brinkmann meant to transfer to Germany, in order to provide his own society with much-needed inspiration, an alternative to Enzensbergeis swan song on literature: "der "rod' der Literatur kann bloR durch die Literatursel- ber erfolgen, indem Geschriebenes sich nicht mehr dem zuordnet. Also: aufhoren iiber 'Literatur' zu reden . . . Literatur, Li- teratur . . . ds ob es noch darum ginge."28

The question to be asked, then, is the following: to what degree do Brinkmann's own appropriations of the new American sensibility present an "adjustment" of the material which he admired in the work of American writers and artists? Or, to return to the focus of my argument outlined above: to what degree does his adaptation and transformation of Warhol's surface art transcend both the Pop fad of the late1960s and the aporias of the historical avant- garde and contribute to what certain critics have called-for better or worse-an "uncoopted postmodernism" or "a postmod- ernism of resistance" that preserves a cer- tain utopianism, while moving beyond the binary oppositions typical of modernism and of much of the a~antgarde?~~

Let us consider the following poem taken from GodzilZa (1968), a book of poetry printed entirely on posters of magazine ad- vertising~ showing women in swim suits.

Andy Harlot Andy

Von einem bestimmten Augenblick

an hort man auf, nur eine Banane

zu sehen. Er ist Jean Harlow in

Verkleidung und sieht so scheu

aus, wenn die Seide raschelt. Die

Bedeutungen wechseln stiindig hin
und her.(Einmalist es eine Bana-
ne, einmal nicht!) Mein Leben ist

adeinmal um eine Idee kiiner
geworden, sagtaund zittert mit
den schwanen Augenwimpern ad
dewlben Stelle. Es folgt eine

andere Banane. Er zieht ihrmit
Bedacht die Schale ab und lutscht
sie auf.Die Bedeutungen wechseln
stiindig.Er sagt:was wir sehen, ist

nicht das,was wir sehen und f&ngt
von vorne an. (Einmalist es eine
Banane, einmal nicht!) Und addem
selben alten Sofa wie vorher sitzt

Jean Harlow in Verkleidung. Sie mijch-
te endlich kommen, kann es aber nicht
Sie mull zum Schlul3 erst no& eine Ba-
nane essen, die sie nicht mehr finden

The title of the poem refers to Andy Warhol's ht sound film,Harlot (lW),

featuring the transvestite Mario Montez dressed up asthe sex symbol Jean Harlow who, in the course of the seventy minutes of the film,devours one banana after the other. The 'plotn of the film revolves around the repetitive exploita- tion of ambiguity: Isita banana or a phallus? Is it a woman or a man? Is H-a-r-1-o-w a stand-in for W-a-r-h-o-l? "Die Bedeutungen wechseln sthdig . . .was wirsehen, ist nicht, was wir sehen." Obviously, Brinkmann is fascinated with Warhol's anmhic imagination-his destruction of traditional sexual behavior and his playful subversion of the dominant modes of cinematic representati~n.~l

Warhol's home-made Factory superstar Mario Montez acts out his (her!) sexualfantasies in front of the running cam- era, unrehearsed and unedited. This pretense to realism--everything is equally worth recording and storing, and anybody can be a star-is essential to Warhol's art. Equally essential is the amateurism of its execution (e.g., shaky camera movement, out-of-focus shots, actors looking directly into the camera, and at times inaudible

sound).AsWarhol comments: The Pop idea, aRer all, was that anybody could do any- w.n32

Imitating the serial quality of Harlot (one banana iseaten after another), Brink- mann's poem simply recounts in chronological order the scenes and lines of the film and refrains from interpreting it. The film invites, or even demands, a reception by which the viewer enjoys the sensuality of the viewed without intellectual reflection. Interpretation is a no-no because it destroys, but it is also futile because it can never contain the unlimited dissemination of meaning. As Ronald Tavel, the "writer" of Harlot, commented: "A hundred mean- ings depart in every direction from out of its meaningles~ness."~~

In the early poem, 'Zwischen den Zeilen," Brinkmann also re- fUtes this hermeneutic digging for mean- ing: "Zwischenl den Zeiled steht nichtd geschrieben.//Jedes Wort/ ist schwd auf weiW na~hpridbar.~~

Significantly, the poem forms averdict, while most ofhis later texts, much like Warhol's Harlot, celebrate the absence of meaning in a more playful manner.

By mounting his poem on an advertise- ment poster, Brinkmann further enhances the visual element already present in his purely descriptive text. Thistranslation of images into prose, as well as the infusion of texts with images, is at the core of Brink- mann's surface art. Warhol's serial paint- ings of coke bottles, soup cans, and Mona Lisas introduced the element of reading, and thus temporality, while his paintings of newspapers transformed the printed word into an object tobe looked at. InBrink- mann, this fusion of image and text is achieved through a highly descriptive prose interspersed with movie stills, photo- graphs (often taken by the author himself), and cut-outs from magazines. For Brink- mann, poetry is the form most suited "spon- tan erfal3te Vorgange und Bewegungen, eine nur in einem Augenblick sich deutlich zeigende Empfindlichkeit konkret als snap-shot festzuhalten."35 Accordingly, po- etry is to imitate "ZOorns ... ~berbelichtungen, Doppelbelichtungen .. . unvorhersehbare S M(Gedanken-schwenks) Schnitte: ein image tra~k."~6

Brinkmann's poems are therefore oRen very short and attempt to catch a random observation, as a camera would.

But what are the implications of Warhol's and Brinkmann's respective claims to realism: What do their works do to the objects they represent? And what bearing do these representations have for the social fhction of their art? To address these questions means to map Brink- mann's departure from Warhol. The minimalism of Warhol's films and paintings (with their emphasis on duration, repeti- tion, and random elements) and of Brink- mann's poetry (consider the many poems simply titled "Gedicht" or Thotographie" that consist of little more than a sentence describing a single image) suggests that anything is worthy of attention and can en- ter a work of art. Warhol's Factory super- stars can be seen as the incarnation of the objets trouvb and of the readymades of Marcel Duchamp that Brinkmann time and again alludes to in the poem "Vanille" and elsewhere. With approbation, Brink- mann quotes the last line from Warhol's novel a: "From the garbage into the book!" as a strategy for incorporating found mate- rials into one's own work.37 But this super- ficiality is deceiving. Both Warhol's and Brinkmann's surface arttransforms those elements of the everyday it selects. In Warho17s silk-screen of stars, and even in his paintings of soup cans or two-dollar bills, there is a materialistic envy of the unattainable, further enhanced through the voyeuristic detachment of its objects. Marilyn and Liz arefrozen in their "image asstars: no more soul, nothingbut a strictly imaginary status, since the star's being is the icon."38 While his paintings pretend a total legibility, Warhol himself is mute; while they emphasize immediacy, he with- draws. Havingabandoned the third dimen- sion, he is no longer the artist behind his work, but beside it. According to Warhol, the paintings mean what they are, there's no hidden intention, no signified. "I don't know where the artificialstops and the real begins," he says, conflating not only art and reality, but also art and artifice.39 But Warhol's unintentionality is precisely that, an intention. The aesthetization and fetishization of meaninglessness, executed in bold colors on huge canvases magnifying the everyday-and thus changing our per- ception-is what makes Pop into art. As Roland Barthes observes: Top is an art be- cause, just when it seems to renounce all meaning, consenting only to reproduce things in their platitude, it stages, accord- ingto certainmethodsproperto it andform- ing a style, an object which is neither the thing nor its meaning, but which is: its sig- nifier, or rather: the Signifier."*O

Rolf Dieter Brinkmann's portrayal of stars shows that his intention of changing our perception is headed in a different direction. While poems like "Eine iibergroh Photographie von Liz Taylor," "Der nackte FURvon Ava Gardner," and "Brief an Hum- phrey Bogart, schon weit entfernt" make good on Leslie Fiedleis call that the "new anti-Gods and anti-heroes" of postmodern literature should come "out of the world of Jazz and Rock, of newspaper headlines and political cartoons, of old movies immor- talized on T.V," these poems are never con- tent with just reproducing the glamorous image of the stars.41 They insist that the significance of their presence depends on being experienced by a subject. And they relate that presence to the world of the ex- periencing I: "Besserlbargeldlos in Tobruk/ mit Rock Hudson ad der Leinwand als ohm/ Geld verschwunden in/ der Stral3en- bahnl nach Miingersdofl wo sowieso nichts/los A note in Die Piloten dedi- cates the volume to allthose "die sich immer wieder von neuem gern auf den billigen Platzen vor einer Leinwand zuriicksinken lassen. Sie sind alle die Piloten, die der Titel meh~t."~~

As the metaphor of the pilot indi- cates, in the cinema one can "take off into the realm offantasy, but the spectators de- termine the course themselves by combin- ing their imagination with the one pre- sented on the screen.

In contrast to the glamorization of the star, the poem "Graham Bonney oder das komplizierte Gem" explores what hap- pens when we are suddenly face-to-face with such an icon. Thelyrical I and a Giend suddenly run into the pop singer as they walk down a street, but, surprised by the unexpected encounter, they let the situ- ation pass. As the verses "beideIwul3ten wir nicht, was wir machen sollted denn Gra- ham Bonney war uns so nah" indicate, it is bemuse of the proximity of the star that they do not know what to do.44 Contrasting the myth of the star with the banality ofthe encounter-which, as the "Nachtrag zu dem Gedicht iiber Graham Bonney etc." ex- plains, is based on a real experience-it becomes clear that, outside of a certain setting such as a rock concert, the star is just "ein Mensch wie du und i~h."~~

Harald Hartung has correctly pointed to the formal parallel between Brinkmann's poem and Warhol's prints, arguing that the metric and typo- graphic arrangement of the poem deliber- ately imitates techniques of Pop art:

Die Zeilenbrechung, die weder rhythmi- schen noch syntaktischen Niitigungen folgt, betont das Mechanische der Repm duktion. Andem als bei Celan bedeutet die Zerteilung von Wortern [edkannte; wahr/scheinlich] keine Sinn-oder Ton- akzentuierung, sondern bezeichnet die Schnittnachen, die entstehen, wenn ein sprachlicher WahrnehmungsprozeB nach der Schablone %yrik"(Zeile, Strophe) zurechtgestanzt wird. Was fiir Warhol der Siebdruck leistet, die Transponierung ei- ner authentischen Vorlage, etwa eines Fc+ tos, soll hier die Gedichtform be~irken.~~

While I agree with Hartung that Brink- mann's narrative poem strivesto be as easily understood as Warhol's prints of stars and consumer icons, it needs to be emphasized that there remains an important difference regardingthe material they use and its arrangement. For whew Warhol reiterates the iconographic aspect of the star photo or billboard reproduction- which can hardly becalled authentic, asHartung suggests, for Warhol is interested precisely in their in- authenticity-Brinkmann isdemonstrating that stars can be banal. Warhol, on the one hand, is especially concerned with the very packaging of images of commodities and his own workcanbe seen as 're-packaging pack- aging as a commodity itself."47 Brinkmann, on the other hand, tells usinhispoem about Graham Bonney what happens when the commodity appears without a package or when the package isunwrapped: no-.

A further example that may demon- strate what distinguishes Warhol from Brinkmann is the way in which they adapted the avantgarde's emphasis on de- mocratizingart by showing their audience how to become artists themselves. Warhol's definition of Pop as the idea "that anybody could do anythirqf suggests this very no- tion of democracy. As noted above, almost all ofhis films foreground their dilettantism and amateurism, and many of them can be given the credit "directed by Andy Warhol" only in a very remote sense, as he neither directed the actors, nor operated the cam- era. Nor was there any editing, for that mat- ter-sometimes Warhol was not even around for the shooting. While this may be seen as a critique of the romantic notion of creative genius, the execution of this critique still relied on Warhol's genius for or- ganization and promotion. As Stephen Koch and others have argued, it was pre- cisely because of his conspicuous absence that Warhol exerted both.artistic and po- litical control-not to mention the economic control, since it was always Warhol who footed the bill. Similarly, while his home- made superstars, such as Mario Montez, Ingrid Superstar, International Velvet, Candy Darling, and others, may be consid- ered parodies of Hollywood's star system, the parody cannot escape the necessity to imitate its target of ridicule. Thisproximity includes processes of imaging and media- tion that can hardly be called democratic (evenif subverted through a camp sensibil- ity) as well as fame's toll on the personal lives of many members of the Warhol en- tourage. Warhol's Do-it-yourself paintings fiuther demonstrate the limits of parody. Depicting a half-finished paint-by-num- bers sailboat or violin, these works suggest that anyone can produce a masterpiece. While this could be seen as an assault on high art, Warhol's parody in fact elevates its object to the level of high art. Taking its inspiration from the immediacy of the ev- eryday, the Do-it-yourself paintings rein- stall an aesthetic distance-no one, after all, would dare to go to the museum and complete Warhol's work. As this new, and much more profound aesthetic distance shows, Warhol may have crossed the border into the popular, but he has not closed the gap. These paintings do not represent the end of art and its disappearance into the everyday-merely the end of art as we knew it.

In this respect, Brinkmann's call to re- duce the distance between author and re- cipient of a literary work seems truer to the spirit of the historical avantgarde. While Brinkmann, like Warhol, criticized the ro- mantic notion of a creativity and inspira- tion anchored in a prophetic or visionary author, he followed the Dadaists' and Sur- realists' lead to activate the response of the recipient, something Warhol's Do-ibyour- selfpaintingscan only imitate.BothTristan Tzara's Pour faire un pdme dadakte and An& Breton's Manifeste du surrhlisme tell their readers how they themselves can produce texts, as does Brinkmann in his literary journal Der Gummibaum--signifi- cantly, all three texts do so in the form of a recipe: "Oder Sie schreiben ein Backrezept kgut schrneckende Platzchen auf. Dm ist ein schones Gedicht. Geben Sie noch 10 Gramm Pot dazu, dann werden die Platzchen noch schoner und auch das Gedicht 'Platz~hen.'"~~

As Brinkmann ex- plained elsewhere, "eine aus den Literari- schen Konventionen sich losende Subjek- tivierung des Schreibens ... erlaubt die Hereinnahme etwa eines Kochrezeptes in ein Gedicht undmacht dadurchein Gedicht relevanter, weil teilbt~rer."~~

Postmodern literature is thus a literature "die sich nicht mehr in Konkurrenz zu den bereits be- stehenden 'grof3en' Literaturerzeugnis- sen versteht" --a competition which is still implied in Warhol's notion of parody-and which can focus on the everyday without fear of being criticized for its banality50

A crucial distinction, then, between Brinkmann's and Warhol's aesthetics- and a much-debated question in the discus- sion about postmodernism in general-is the role of subjectivity. If the gap between authors and readers is (to be) closed, if the traditional concept of what constitutes a work of art is (to be) abandoned because everything is considered material and po- tentially a work of art, what, then, is the position of the creative subject? What re- spective strategies do Brinkmann and Warhol adopt to work toward their own dis- appearance? It is here that the notion of a postmodernism of resistance takes on its distinctive features.

Like Warhol's paintings, Brinkmann's poems acknowledge that such visual media as film, photography, and television have radically changed our modes of perceiving and understanding the world. These changes clearly transcend the realm of these media and have to have an impact on the way we write or paint or live. Warhol's and Brinkmann's respective attempts to come to terms with the significance of im- ages acknowledge that this is not just a question of style, but of staging subjectivity itself. Warhol's answer to the proliferation of images has been to become one, an at- tempt to interface with the surface of his art. What his silk-screen portraits and films likeEmpire, an eight-hour shot of the Em- pire State Building taken from a static camera, attest to, is the process of extreme dehumanization that the society of the spectacle has brought about. "Empire is a massive, absurd act of attention, attention that nobody could possibly want to give or sit through. Indeed, nothing could possibly tolerate it-and here's the point--but a ma- chine, something that sees but cannot pos- sibly ~are."~l

Perhaps Warhol's insight into the totality and ubiquity of the surface contains something of the "winner losesn logic which Jameson describes (in a dif- ferent context); the more powerfd Warhol is in describing an increasingly closed and terrifying environment, the more his work loses any critical capacity, any impulses of negation and revolt.52 In the end, Warhol reinvents the autonomy of art that seemed to have been overcome: "I think we're avac- uum here at the Factory. It's great."53

In line with his negation of subjectivity, Warhol stated that everybody should be- come a machine, a statement frequently and approvingly quoted by Brinkmann. And yet, Brinkmann'sunderstandingofthe notion of surface differs significantly from Warhol's disembodied images. Although Brinkmann refrains from interpreting the implications of Warhol's art and reads Em- pire in terms of a modernist self-reflexivity (Warhols Film Empire [kt] eine Reflexion iiber Film und filmische Zeit"), his appro- priation of Warhol's notion of surface indi- cates that he is interested in going beyond the dissolution of subjectivity by searching for the ways in which, even in an image- dominated and constituted reality, the sub- ject can interface with other surfaces and texts.54As he writes in "Notizen 1969 zu amerikanischen Gedichten und zu der Anthologie Siluerscreen": "Leben ist ein kom- plexer Bildzusammenhang. Es kommt daraufan, in welchen Bildern wirleben und mit welchen Bildern wir unsere eigenen Bil- der k~ppeln."~~

This emphasis on our orrm images indicates that Brinkmann is not willing to relinquish subjectivity as com- pletely as Warhol, because he realizes that the total abstraction from the self is as fic- titious as the belief in the self-contained, rational subject position, against which they both polemicize.

In After the Great Divide, Andreas Huyssen has wed that this re-introduc- tion of subjectivity is one of the decisive ele- ments that distinguishes the postmod- ernism of the 1970s hm that of the 1960s. For Huyssen, the American Pop, rock, and sex movements of the 1960s had become exhausted by the end of the decade. The postmodernism of the 1970s, by contrast, loosened its ties-acknowledged or unac- knowledged-to the historical avantgarde, thus avoiding the Scylla of repeating its aporias and the Charybdis of being coopted by the culture industry. "What was new in the 1970s was, on the one hand, the emer- gence of a cultwe of eclecticism, a largely affirmative postmodernism which had abandoned any claim to critique, transgres- sion, or negation; and, on the other hand, an alternative postmodernism in which re- sistance, critique, and negation of the status quo were redefinedin non-modernist and non-avantgardist term~."~6

While I would argue that Pop art, especially War- hol's work, is more than just the "endgame of the historical avantgarde" that Huyssen sees in it because it already pre-figures ways out of the avantgarde's aporias, Huyssen's distinction is useful for describ- ing Brinkmann's appropriation of Pop.57 Extending Huyssen's work to recent devel- opments in West Permany, Richard McCor- mick has shown that writers and filmmak- ers such as Peter Handke, Botho StrauS, Karin Struck, Wim Wenders, and Helke Sanders stage a return to subjectivity as a response to the predicament of modernism. McCormickcallstheir various strategies to redefine inwardness, to overcome the ex- cesses of rationalistic modernism, and to merge personal memory and historical dis- course "postmodern responses."58 While Brinkmann differs significantly from the above authors and from what has been called the "New Subjectivity," his insistence on subjective agency, however fractured or fragmented, shows rather similar strate- gies for fusing the personal and the politi- cal.Immediacy in hispoems always means being immediate to an experiencing sub- ject. When Brinkmann favors the replacing of sense with sensuality, he is attempting to still "the hunger for experience," and not to ridicule experience altogether.59 At the heart of hispoetry, the poet is still a person, not, as in Warhol's art, a persona.

Similarly, while Brinkmann shares the anti-intellectualism and anti-rationalism of Pop art and the celebration of the seduc- tive power of images because they chal- lenge the confinements of discourse, he in- sists that a literature that opens itself to the everyday and the banal still has to re- flect its means of incorp~ration.~~

What is called for is "eine Sensibilitiit ..., die auf gegenwiirtige Reizmuster zureagierenversteht, ohne ein schlechtes Gewissen zu bekommen und ohne sich dabei dennoch soweit darin zu verlieren, dal3 es zu einer puren Verdoppelung k~mmt."~l

As a writer interested in images, the threat of duplica- tion is, of course, always diminished by the fact that images have to betranslated-and thus interpreted-into words; but even the photo-collage, Wie ich lebe und warum," which contains no words apart from the title, highlights the Yeye behind the cam- era. The photos are often out of focus or taken at odd angles, as iftaken rather hast- ily; they show the banality of Brinkmann's apartment, individual rooms such as bath or study, its drab Cologne surroundings, and in one memorable instance, the feet of the photographer. Rather than duplicating the reality in front of the lens, these photos emphasize the mode of experience of the photographer-hence, Brinkmann can claim that they not only demonstrate how he lives, but why.

While this insistence on subjectivity distinguishes Brinkmann from Warhol, it is important to note that the experiencing Yeye of Brinkmann's work is no longer the alienated subject of modernism, as a brief

comparison ofBrinkmann's strategy to fuse the visual and the verbal with modernist precursors shows.62 When writers like Joyce, Dos Passos, or Koeppen imitated the use of film montage, they assembled the individual elements in such a manner that a certain narrative continuity still re- mained intact. In Brinkmann's notion of montage-most radically demonstrated in the posthumously published volumes Rom, Blicke; Erkundungen fir die Priizi- sierung des "Gefkhls" fir einen Aufstand: Reise Zeit Magazin (mgebuch); and Schnitte-the sudden zooms, reversing of angles, close-ups, and cuts leave the reader disenfranchised. In these latertexts, Brink- mann's surface is no longer the polished, aestheticized, and removed surface of Warhol, but a mimicry of the brutal, aggres- sive, and overbearing image-word-combi- nations found in newspapers, comics, and advertising. Nothing is integrated and brought into coherence, everything is simply added on and piled up. Florian Vahn has pointed out that the montage of Rom, Blick (which incorporates letters, post- cards, photos, newspaper clips, train tick- ets, and other found objects) denies the reader a position within Brinkmann's text, thus producing an uncanny exposure. "In- dem so Realitat in einzelne, beziehungslose Details zerlegt und auf Fakten reduziert wird, ist die Vermittlung von Erfahrung unmoglich-letztlich wird Erfahrung zer- st01-t."~~Yet, as Brinkmann insistsin the same text, he understands (his) writing as a vehement opposition to a rapid "Erfahrungsverlust und Erlebnisverlust."64 To accept the iconographic quality of everyday life-"das BildhaRe taglichen Lebensn- thus always means both a fragmentation of the subject and a mapping of its terrain, a description of the explosion of the selfand a collecting of the pieces. His descriptions of Rome as the garbage heap of Western civilization, interspersed with his minute drawings of the terrain covered in hisdaily walks and travels, entail both the long list ofpostmodernUno-longer-possibles,"as well

as first steps towards an "aesthetic of cog- nitive mapping" which is Jameson's answer to the transformations of space, time, and cultural politics in the postmodern era: "a yet unimaginable new mode of repre- senting in which we may again begin to grasp our positioning as individual and col- lective subjects."65

There is no doubt for Brinkmann that this "new realism; as Jameson somewhat confusingly calls it, is one that has to come to terms with the surface and the superfi- ciality of our image-dominated everyday culture. Wim Wenders-whose works are informed by a rather similar concern with a hion of the visual and the verbal, staged in his films as a tension between the image and the story-has recently argued for a simple retreat from images. Voicing his frustration with the ever-increasing import of foreign images, Wenders has described Germany as a nation without identity because it is "fremdbebildert." Ironically, the only remedy the filmmaker sees is a return to language:

Wenn die Welt der Bilder auch aus allen Fugen gerat, und wenn sich iiber den Fortschritt und die Bchnik die Bilder immer mehr verselbsthdigt haben, so dalJ sie jetzt schon aus der Kontrolle geraten sind und demnachst noch so vie1 mehr ge- raten werden, so gibt es doch auch eine andere Kultur, die Gegenkultur, in der sich nichts geiindert hat und in der sich nichts iindern wird: das Geschichtener- Wen, das Schreiben, das

Rolf Dieter Brinkmann knew about the power of the images, but he also knew that the salvation hm these evils mot be found in a naive retreat. Wm Wendem's statement that Wnser Hed .. . ist unsere deutsche Sprache" would have made him turn in his grave, not just because of that ominous word Wenders feels urged towrestle hm its fascist past, but because Brinkmann always mistrusted words more than images.67As Brinlunann's works never tire of demonstrating, the persuasive power of images willnot go away, even ifcouched in so many words. What matters, today per- haps more thanever, is "in welchen Bildern wirlebenundmit welchen Bildern wirunsere eigenen Bilder koppeln."


*The research for this article was made pos- sible by a grant from the American Council of Learned Societies.I would like to thank Silvia Spitta, Susanne Zantop, Werner Hoffmeister, and Andreas Huyssen for commenting on earlier versions. Since my essay is about what Rolf Dieter Brinkmann told his German readers about American culture, Iwant to dedicate it to a man who introduced Brinkmann to America:

A. Leslie Willson.

lRolfDieter Brinkmann, 'Anmerkungen zu meinem Gedicht 'Vde,'" Marz me 1(1969): 141-44, here 142. Subsequent references to Brinkmann's work will be by title only.

2"DieLyrik Frank O'Haras," Der Film in Worten:Prosa, Erzahlungen, Essays, Horspiele, Fobs, Collagen 1965-1974 (Reinbek: Fbwohlt, 1982) 207-22, here 215.

3F'redric Jameson, Postmodernism, or, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism (Durham: Duke UP, 1991) 9. Cf. also Todd Gitlin, Tosb modernism Defined, At Last!" Utne Reader (July/August 1989): 52-61; and Ihab Hassan, Toward a Concept of Postmodernism," The Postmodern lkrn:Essays in Postmodern Theo- ry and Culture (Columbus: Ohio State UP, 1987) 84-96. Both Gitlin and Hassan empha- size the notion of surface as constitutive for postmodernism.

4Jameson 9.

%Jameson 12.

6Andy Warhol, The Philosophy of Andy Warhol: From A to B and Back Again (SanDiego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1977) 92.

7Christin J. Mamiya, Pop Art and Consu- mer Culture: American Super Market (Austin: U of Texas P, 1992) 1.

8Stephen Koch, Stargazer: The Life, World and Films of Andy Warhol (New York: Marion Boyars, 1991) 24.

gGretchen Berg, "Nothing to Lose: An Inter- view with Andy Warhol," Andy Warhol: Film

Factory, ed. Michael O'Pray (London: BFI, 1989) 54-61, here 54.

'OBerg 61.

"Berg 56.

l2"Der Film in Worten," Der Film in Worten 2234, here 225.

13Martjn Walser, %r die Neueste Stim- mung im Westen," Kursbuch 20 (1970): 19-41, here 36; Yaak Karsunke, Frankfurter Rund- schau 27 June 1970: vi.

l4"Der Film in Worten" 223. '-in unkontrolliertes Nachwort zu meinen Gedichten," LiteraturrnagazcaZcn

5: Dm Ver- gehert von Horen und Sehen. Aspekte der Kd- turuernichtung,ed. Hermann Peter Piwitt and Peter Riihmkorf (Reinbek: Rowohlt, 1976) 228- 48, here 240.

IWorbemerkung," Westwarts 1& 2 (Reinbek Rowohlt, 1975) 5-7, here 7.

17Andreas Huyssen, 'The Cultural Politics of Pop," After the Great Divide: Modernism, Mass Culture, Postdrnism (Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1987) 14169, here 141. See also Jiirgen Wissmann, "Pop Art oder die Realit& als Kunstwerk," Die nicht mehr schiinen Kiin- ste: Grenzphanomene des kthetischen, ed. Hans Robert Jaul3 (Munich: Fink,1968) 507-


18For a particularly indicative indictment of Pop, see Jost Hermand, "Pop oder die These vom Ende der Kunst," Die deutsche Literatur der Gegenwart: Aspekte und 5??ndenzen, ed. Manfred Durzak (Stuttgart: Reclam, 1971) 285-99; and by the same author Pop Intem- tional: Eine kritische Analyse (Frankfurt a. M.: Athenaum, 1971); and Paul Konrad Kurz, "Beat-Pop-Underground," Ljber drne Lite- ratuc Standorte und Deutungen, 3 vols. (Frankfurta. M.: Knecht, 1971) 3: 233-79.

lgRom, Blicke (Reinbek: Rowohlt, 1979) 93. Brinkmann's disenchantment with American Pop is already prefigured in Warhol's artistic decline in the 1970s. This decline has been read by Klaus Theweleit as a political sell-out in the Nixon years, also noticeable in Elvis Presley. Klaus Theweleit, Buch der Konige: Recording Angels' Mysteries, vol. 2 (Frankfurt a. M.: Stxoemfeld/Roter Stern, 1994). Stephen Koch, still Warhol's most perceptive critic as faras the films are concerned, explains Warhol's "degra- dation" with the increasing artistic control of Paul Morrissey and Warhol's retreat &om the Fadory after he was shot at, and almost killed, by Valerie Solanas in June 1968.

20Rom, Blicke 164; Erkundungen fir die Prtizisierung des "Gefihls"fir einen Aufstand. Reise Zeit Magazin (Itcgebuch) (Reinbek Rc+ wohlt, 1987) 365.

21Peter Biirger, Theorie der Auantgarde (Frankfurta. M.: Suhrkamp, 1974) 68.

2ZBiirger85.This argument is developed in more detail in Russell A. Berman, %nsumge sellschaft: Das Erbe der Avantgarde und die falsche Aufhebung der asthetischen Autorm mie," trans. Birgit Diefenbach, Postmodeme: Alltag, Allegorie und Auantgarde, ed. Christ. Biirger and Peter Biirger (Frankfurta. M.: Suhrkamp, 1987) 56-71.

23Hans Magnus Enzensberger, me Ape rien der Avantgarde"inze1heiten 11: Poesie und Politik (Frankkt a. M.: Suhrkamp, 1984) 50-80,here 79.

24Enzensberger, "Die Aporien der Avant- garde" 67.

25A similar critique of contemporary move- ments labeled "avantgarden is found in Hans Platschek He writes: "Indem sie ihren Neuig- keitswert unverziiglich kassiert, hat sich die Avantgarde den Gesetzmaigkeiten des Kunst- marktes ausgeliefert. Ohne Kunstmarkt wb sie gar keine Avantgarde." Hans Platschek, "Schiisse in Hornberg oder Der Streit um die Avantgarde," Stichworte zur 'Geistigen Situa- tion der Zeit': 2. Band: Politik und Kdtur, ed. Jiirgen Habermas (Frankfurt a. M.: Suhr- kamp, 1979) 615-35, here 630.

261n his famous article, "Gemeinpktze, die Neueste Literatur betreffend," Enzensberger extendedhiscritiquetocontemporary attempts to politicize literature: "Die bisherigen Versu- che, gleichsam mit Gewalt aus dem Ghetto des Kulturlebens auszubrechen und 'die Massen zu erreichen', etwa mit den Mitteln des Agitprop- Songs oder des SMentheaters, sind geschei- tert. Sie haben sich als literarisch irrelevant und politisch unwirksam erwiesen." Kursbuch 15 (1968): 187-97, here 192. If Enzensberger understood this call for political action as the latest reincarnation of the historical avant- garde, it was obviously a misreading: Dada and Surrealism had not claimed to be art that was politically or socially relevant; instead they wanted to change the very function of art in order to better integrate art and life.

27"Der Film in Worten" 231.

28"Der Film in Worten" 236f.

2%. Ann Kaplan, %hduction," Postmod- ernism and its Discontents: Theories, Practices, ed. E. Ann Kaplan (London: Verso, 1988) 1-9, here 3f3 Hal Foster, Tostmodernism: A Preface," The Anti-Aesthetic: Essays on Postmodern Culture, ed. Hal Foster (Port Townsend, WA: Bay Press, 1983) ix-xvi, here xii. While there are now a number of interesting studies on Brinkmann, few situate his work in the larger debate about postmodernism. Notable excep- tions are: Sibylle Spath, "Rettungsversuche aus dem Ibdesterritorium": Zur Aktualitiit der Lyrik Rolf Dieter Brinkmanns (Fmnkfmt a. M.: Peter Lang, 1986) and Thomas Gross, Alltags- erkundungen: Empirisches Schreiben in der Athetik und in den Materialbtinden RolfDieter Brinkmanns (Stuttgart: Metzler, 1993). In Rolf Renner's account of postmodern German lib erature, Brinkmann assumes primarily the role of someone who, through his reception of American literature and editorial work, paved the way for others. LSeeRolfGiinter Renner, Die postmodem Konstellation: Theorie, Tkxt und Kunst im Ausgang der Moderne (Freiburg: Rombach, 1988) 144-61.

30Godzilla (1968); Godzilla was reprinted in:Standphotos: Gedichte 1962-1970 (Fteinbek: Rowohlt, 1980) 165. The original edition of Godzilla consisted of 200 copies; the reprinted ver- sion is only in black-and-white.

31Dieter Wellershof recalls Brinkmann's own experiments with filmmaking: "Die F'ilme, die er mit seiner Super-8-Amateurkamera drehte und im kleinen Kreis Freunden und Be- kannten vorfiihrte, waren meistens der starren Kameras Andy Warhols abgeschaut. Er hat beispielsweise die Kamera auf ein Stativ mon- tiert und nacheinander verschiedene Leute aufgefordert, sich drei Minuten moglichst reg- 10s und ohne Musik vor die laufende Kamera zu setzen. Das war ein stummes Verhor, und das Ergebnis war nicht uninteressant. Es war eine Imitation amerikanischer Underground- F'ilme."%much: Das lunge Leben des Rolf Die- ter Brinkmann, ed. Gunter Geduldig and Mar- co Sagurna (Aachen: Alano, 1994) 85. What is missing in Brinkmann's poetic adaptation of Warhol's film (and what by all accounts seems to be missing hm Brinkmann's own films as well) is the deconstruction of a rigid opposition of gender which is central to Warhol's notion of camp and his use of the drag queen. Biographi- cal information about Brinkmann reveals his ridicule of and often contemptuous behavior towards gays, for example his friend and co-editor RalfRainer Rygulla.

32Andy Warhol and Pat Hackett, POPism: The Warhol '60s (SanDiego: Harmurt Brace Jovanovich, 1990) 134.

%Ronald Tavel, "The Banana Ihry: The Story of Andy Warhol's Harlot," Andy Warhol: Film Factory 66-93, here 68. The quotation marks hming %riter" are based on the fact that Warhol did not want Tavel to produce an actual script for the actors; the soundtrack, written by Tavel and spoken by him and two other men off-camera, is largely inaudible and is used merely as a counterpoint to the images.

34Standphotos 60.

35Standphotos 185.

36"Notizen 1969 zu amerikanischen Ge

dichten und zu der Anthologie Silverscreen," Der Film in Worten 248-69, here 267. 37'Anmerkungen zu meinem Gedicht 'Va- nille'" 144.

38Roland Barthes, "That Old Thing, Art.. .," Post-PopArt,ed. Paul Taylor (Cambridge: Mas- sachusetts Institute of Technology P, 1989) 21- 31, here 24.

39Andy Warhol quoted in: Jonas Mekas, "NotesAfterFteseeing the Movies of Andy War- ho1,"Andy Warhol: Film Factory 28-41, here 37.

40Barthes 28f

41Leslie Fiedler, 'Cross the Border--Close the Gap," Collected Essays, 2 vols. (New York: Stein, 1971) 2: 461-85, here 481f.

42Standphotos 240.

43Standphotos 187.

44Standphotos 233.

45Standphotos 234.

46HaraldHartung, 'Lyrik der 'Postmoderne': Vier Beispiele zu einer kthetik der Oberfbche," Abhandlungen aus der Padagogischen Hoch- schule Berlin, ed. Walter Heistermann (Berlin: Colloquium Verlag, 1974) 303-28, here 313.

47Peter Wollen, %ding the Icebox," Andy Warhol: Film Factory 14-27, here 19f.

48"Ein paar Hinweise," Der Gummibaum: Hauszeitschrift fir neue Dichtung 1(1969). Quoted in: Sibylle Spath, "Die Entmythologi- sierung des Alltags: Zu Rolf Dieter Brink- manns lyrischer Konzeption einer befieiten Wahrnehmung," Tkxt+Kritik 7 (1981) 3749, here 39. As Spath points out, this article men- tions no author, but most likely was written by Brinkmann, who was the main editor of the journal. Contributors to the sh&lived journal (onlythreeissues were circulated in the form of pamphlets) included Nicolas Born, Peter Hand- be,Ernst Jandl, and Dieter Wellershof.

49"N0tizen" 251.

S0"Notizen" 251.

51Koch 61.

52Jameson 5.

S3Quoted in Koch 3.

~Brinkmann's reticence to interpret emer- ges in the following passage: "Die Sensibilitiit, die sich-'positiv und negatid-in den leeren, metallenen Landschafbn Roy Lichtensteins ausd~ckt, in den Bildern Andy Warhols . . . kann nicht mehr langer heute mit Interpreta- tionen von gestern begriffen werden" ("Der Film in Worten" 226). The quote on Warhol's Empire is from "Der Film in Worten" 236.

qotizen" 249. s6Andreas Huyssen, "Mapping the Post- modern,"After the Great Divide 178-221, here


5"Cf. Andreas Huyssen, The Search for !hadition: Avan-e and Postmodernism in the 1970s,"After the Great Divide 160-77.

58Richard McCormick, Politics of the Selfi Feminism and the Postmodern in West German Literature and Film (Princeton: Princeton UP, 1991).

59'his is the title of Michael Rutschky's per- ceptive study of the 1970s: Eflahrungshunger: Ein Essay iiber die siebziger Jahre (Cologne: Kiepenheuer & Witsch, 1980).

'?For a discussion of the subversive force of seduction, see Jean Baudrillard, Seduction, trans. Brian Singer (New York: St. Martin's, 1990), especially 53ff.

61"Die LyrikFrank O'Haras"2 13.

62Foran introductory discussion of the influence of film on modern literature and art, see Arnold Hauser's chapter on "The Film Age"in The Social History ofArt, 4 vols., trans.Stanley Godman (New York: Vintage,1958)4: 22649; for a discussion of the relation of filmto Expres- sionist poetry (much appreciated by Brink- mann),see Anton Kaes, "LiteraryIntellectuals and the Cinema," New German Critique 40 (1987): 7-34.

63Florian Vden, "Die zemende Stadt Der 'zemende' Blick: Zu Rolf Dieter Brink- mannsGroRstadtprosaRom, Blicke," Juni: Ma- gazin fir Kultur und Politik 5 (1991): 189-97, here 195.

64Rom, Blicke 417.


6Wim Wenders, "Reden iiber Deutsch- land," The Ad of Seeing: We und Gesprache (Frankfurt a. M.: Verlag der Autoren, 1992) 187-98, here 197.

6wenders 198.

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