Jean-François Lyotard

  • CRITICAL REFLECTIONS

    LET US CALL ART commentary any trace of a gesture of and in language that links to or with a work of art, whatever its distinctive matter, language, color, whether a closed or open volume, music, a weighty mute body in dance, or a speaking body in the theater. The “work of art” in question may be what we used to call (and still do) a work, a proposition, a performance, an installation (ephemeral or lasting), or finally, in the sense introduced by Marcel Duchamp, any object, situation, or occasion seized by commentary as being “of art,” that is, to be precise, giving rise to commentary. According

  • THE SUBLIME AND THE AVANT-GARDE

    IN DECEMBER, 1948, Barnett (Baruch) Newman wrote an essay entitled “The Sublime is Now.” In 1950-51, he painted a canvas that he called Vir Heroicus Sublimus; in the early and mid ‘60s, he cast three bronze sculptures entitled Here I (For Marcia) , Here II, and Here III; another painting, from 1962, was called Not There––Here; two others, from 1965 and 1967, were titled Now I and Now II. In 1949 he painted Be I (of which he did a second version in 1970), and in 1961-64 he painted Be II.

    How is one to understand the sublime––let us think of it as the focus of a sublime experience––as something “

  • PRESENTING THE UNPRESENTABLE: THE SUBLIME

    IT IS NOT JUST PHOTOGRAPHY that has rendered the profession of painting “impossible”; to claim that it was would be like saying that Stéphane Mallarmé’s work,or James Joyce’s, were simply responses to the development of journalism. Painting’s impossibility arises from the industrial and postindustrial—technoscientific—world’s greater need for photography than for painting, just as that world needs journalism more than it does literature. The momentum of this world brought with it the decline of the so-called “noble” professions which had belonged to the previous world, as well as the contraction

  • The Works and Writings of Daniel Buren: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Contemporary Art

    1. DB’S WORK EVIDENCES certain specifics that are well-known at this point. His work can be called a minimis (but not minimal). His materials have remained constant since 1965: vertical stripes of canvas or paper, alternately white and color, or alternating stripes of white and transparent plastic, each 8.7 centimeters wide. The height, breadth and shape of each piece varies according to site. The materials are either attached to a structure or are free-floating (paper on walls, on stairs, on banisters, on billboards, on warehouse loading docks, on roadsigns, on facades, on skylights, on train