Department of Art and Art History Calendar

Art History Lecture Series presents Larissa Dryansky

man holding puzzle

“A Thing is a Hole in a Thing It Is Not”: On Nothingness in American Art of the 1960s

In 1968 Carl Andre famously defined “a thing as a hole in a thing it is not.” This talk addresses the combined interest in “things” and emptiness in American art of the 1960s. Focusing on the works of Andre, Mel Bochner, Dan Graham, and Robert Smithson, it explores how philosophical approaches such as Sartreanism and notions culled from physics such as antimatter may shed light on the apparent paradox of these artists’ dual concern for materiality and nothingness.


Larisa Dryansky is Assistant Professor of Art History at the Université Paris-Sorbonne, Paris IV. She earned her doctorate in 2011 from the Université Paris 1, Panthéon-Sorbonne with a dissertation on cartography and photography in American art of the 1960s and ’70s. Her writings have appeared in the journals Les Cahiers du Musée national d’art moderne, 20/27, Revue Histoire de l’art, (Sic), Études photographiques, and in the edited volume Reframing the New Topographics (The Center for American Places at Columbia College Chicago, 2010). The Institut National d’Histoire de l’Art recently selected her dissertation for publication in its book series “L’art et l’essai.”