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Hal Foster, who is the Townsend Martin, Class of 1917, Professor of Art and Archaeology at Princeton University, is an internationally renowned author of books on post-modernism in art.
Born in Seattle, the son of a partner in the distinguished law firm of Foster Pepper and Shefelman, Foster was educated at a private academy, Lakeside School, where one of his classmates was Microsoft founder Bill Gates. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hal_Foster_%28art_critic%29 [Jun 2005]
- The Return of the Real: Art and Theory at the End of the Century (October Books) - Hal Foster (Author) [Amazon US]
Dividing the century into two avant-gardes, the author passes on the one that runs from Picasso to Pollock and lays claim to another that begins with Duchamp and continues through Warhol into the present, a new avant-garde whose praxis will be bound to theory not metaphor. Foster, who teaches art history and comparative literature at Cornell and is an editor of the journal October, claims for his generation of cultural theorists, who came of age in the wake of minimalist and conceptual art, the primacy of ideas with their potential connection to real political time and space over objects. Following the leads of Althusser and Lacan, he urges structuralist re-readings of radical texts (including art) for content that breaks with "our decentered relations to the language of our unconscious" and "humanist problems of alienation." A chapter on recent "abject art" (like Mike Kelley and John Miller) finds interest in its surrealist-style rebellion to be as limited as ever by adolescent anarchical antics. For more productive models, Foster advocates the work of Renee Green, Mary Kelly, Fred Wilson?artists whose interdisciplinary approach bridges art, anthropology and ethnology. Thus as the old academy of the studio is replaced by this new one of the seminar room, reading becomes a primary activity for all, including artists, critics and historians. This book, however, is heavy reading throughout, and not a sentence goes by without linguistic convolution bringing the mind to a halt and forcing a re-reading. It's a brilliant work, but outside the seminar room, most readers will quickly decide to give up the struggle. Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
- The Anti-Aesthetic: Essays on Postmodern Culture (1983) - Hal Foster [Amazon.com]
A handsome new edition of the seminal collection of late-twentieth-century cultural criticism. Named a Best Book of the Year by the Village Voice and considered a bible of contemporary cultural criticism, The Anti-Aesthetic is reissued now in a handsome new paperback edition. For the past twenty years, Hal Foster has pushed the boundaries of cultural criticism, establishing a vantage point from which the seemingly disparate agendas of artists, patrons, and critics have a telling coherence. In The Anti-Aesthetic, preeminent critics such as Jean Baudrillard, Rosalind Krauss, Fredric Jameson, and Edward Said consider the full range of postmodern cultural production, from the writing of John Cage, to Cindy Sherman's film stills, to Barbara Kruger's collages. With a redesigned cover and a new afterword that situates the book in relation to contemporary criticism, The Anti-Aesthetic provides a strong introduction for newcomers and a point of reference for those already engaged in discussions of postmodern art, culture, and criticism. New afterword by Hal Foster; 12 b/w photographs.
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