PRINT September 1995


I’VE KNOWN THIERRY DE DUVE for about 15 years. We don’t see each other often, since we are usually on different continents, but he is one of the few writers on art about whom I regularly find myself wondering, What is he working on now?

Early in the last decade, Thierry was one of the first people to draw my attention to Kant’s esthetics. In the early ’70s I had studied The Critique of Judgment in the context of Hegel, Marx, and the Frankfurt School, a vantage point from which Kant seemed, ironically enough, to be uncritical, “bourgeois,” and conformist. Thierry’s interest in Kant, which developed partly through his involvement with Jean-François Lyotard, was connected with the evolution of new critical responses to what had become a “counterestablishment,” the school of social art history, and so had a theoretical, even polemical element to it. At the same time, it expressed something

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