What’s the problem with critical art?

Hal Foster

  • Aisthesis: Scenes from the Aesthetic Regime of Art by Jacques Rancière, translated by Zakir Paul
    Verso, 272 pp, £20.00, June 2013, ISBN 978 1 78168 089 6

In the fierce critiques that the charismatic thinkers of postwar France directed at each other – Lévi-Strauss v. Sartre, Foucault v. Derrida, Deleuze and Guattari v. Lacan, to pick out just a few – the theoretical stakes were high, and the political implications seemed momentous. One could talk, seriously, of the ‘politics of theory’, and many of us distant onlookers did so. But that was a few decades ago; what about now? Are there any maîtres à penser left? Do we still want such figures?

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