The job of an art critic is to take perpetual inventory, constantly revising herideas about the direction of contemporary art and the significance of the work she writes about. Inthese essays, which span three decades of assessment and reassessment, Rosalind Krauss considerswhat she has come to call the "post-medium condition" -- the abandonment by contemporaryart of the modernist emphasis on the medium as the source of artistic significance. Jean-FrançoisLyotard argued that the postmodern condition is characterized by the end of a"master narrative," and Krauss sees in the post-medium condition ofcontemporary art a similar farewell to coherence. The master narrative of contemporary art endedwhen conceptual art and other contemporary practices jettisoned the specific medium in order tojuxtapose image and written text in the same work. For Krauss, this spells the end of serious art,and she devotes much of Perpetual Inventory to "wrest[ling] new media to themat of specificity." Krauss also writes about artists who are reinventing the medium, artistswho persevere in the service of a nontraditional medium ("strange new apparatuses" oftenadopted from commercial culture), among them Ed Ruscha, Christian Marclay, William Kentridge, andJames Coleman.