Hal Foster

Hal Foster to Present the Sixty-Seventh Annual A. W. Mellon Lectures

The Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, has announced that American art critic and historian Hal Foster was named the next A. W. Mellon Lecturer.

The six-part lecture series, “Positive Barbarism: Brutal Aesthetics in the Wake of World War II,” will explore how artists began again after the mass deaths of the war, the Holocaust, and the atomic bomb, and will explore the early work of artists such as Jean Dubuffet, Asger Jorn, Eduardo Paolozzi, and Claes Oldenburg.

Foster’s criticism focuses on the role of the avant-garde within postmodernism. In 1983, he edited “The Anti-Aesthetic: Essays on Postmodern Culture,” a seminal text in postmodernism. Foster was educated at Princeton University, Columbia University, and the City University of New York. He taught at Cornell University from 1991 to 1997 and has been on the faculty at Princeton since 1997. In 1998, he received a Guggenheim Fellowship. Foster is also a regular contributor to Artforum. His essay “Real Fictions,” in the April 2017 issue of the magazine, questions how to grapple with criticism, art, and literature through the fluctuating position of “the real.”

Named for Andrew W. Mellon, founder of the National Gallery of Art, the lecture series was established in 1949, to recognize and present contemporary scholarship in the fine arts. Last year’s speaker, Alexander Nemerov, delivered the first lecture series dedicated to American Art, “The Forest: America in the 1830s.

“Positive Barbarism: Brutal Aesthetics in the Wake of World War II,” will be held in the East Building Auditorium at the National Gallery of Art on April 8, 15, 22, and 29, and May 6 and 13, 2018 at 2:00 PM.