Chris Kraus

American novelist and critic

The artworld’s love affair with experimental fiction-slash-nonfiction owes a huge amount to Kraus, without whom art writing in particular would be far more moribund and hidebound. The LA writer (and former artist and filmmaker) has been a vital bridging figure since the start of the 1990s, first via her involvement with the Semiotext(e) publishing house and its Native Agents series, where she mostly advocated for and published first-person women’s fiction by the likes of Cookie Mueller and Eileen Myles; then through her epistolary roman-à-clef I Love Dick (1997), and her wrong-footing stream of books since: criticism, novels set in the artworld and echoing Kraus’s own life (eg Summer of Hate, 2012) and her recent After Kathy Acker, a lauded bio of the late writer, whom she knew well. More people are recognising Acker’s greatness as a result, just as more are reading Kraus and experiencing her postgenre prescience – a situation not hurt by last year’s Amazon TV series based on I Love Dick. That can only be a good thing.