Annotations on “Post-Critical”

This is an eight page text by American art critic Hal Foster about his proposal to embark in the “Post-Critical” from the aging modes of modernist critique. Foster suggested the readers to consider Bruno Latour and Jacques Ranciere ideas of a “new” type of criticality that is neither antifetishistic nor cynic – both are characteristic of modernist critic. For instance, Latour suggest an empathetic critic:

The critic is not the one who debunks, but the one who assembles. The critic is not the one who lifts the rugs from under the feet of the naive believers, but the one who offers the participants arenas in which to gather. The critic is not the one who alternates haphazardly between antifetishism and positivism like the drunk iconoclast drawn by Goya, but the one for whom, if something is constructed, then it means it is something fragile and thus in need of great care and caution.

At the end of the eight page text Foster identified two types of post-criticality in Art that resonate with Latour and Ranciere’s proposal. These are quasi-Gramscian and quasi-Adornian forms of critiquing.

  • Quasi-Gramscian
    – Towards social practice of art
  • Quasi-Adornian
    – Towards critical formalist notion in art, “but with the forlorn sense that its minimal autonomy now holds minimal negativity” (pp.8)

However, both of these according to Foster recalls Guy Debord’s complimentarity between Dadaists and Surrealists, which Debord wrote, “Dadaism abolish art without realizing it, and Surrealism sought to realize art without abolishing it.” (Societie du Spectacle, 1967). Moreover, armed with this realization in looking at art today post-criticality hopes to revitalize back the tradition of critical theory that is independent from corporate sponsors and out-datedness.

Readings from Introduction to Art Studies and Curatorial Practice (Research II)
Post-Criticality (2012)
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