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’80s THEN

Bertrand Lavier

DANIEL BIRNBAUM: In a way, postmodern thought is a French invention, isn’t it? Were French artists of the 1980s interested in the books of, say, Jean Baudrillard or Jean-François Lyotard?

BERTRAND LAVIER: Not really. Those texts held nothing particularly exotic or attractive for us. Lyotard might have been involved to some extent with the art of the ’70s, but not really with that of the ’80s. In the US the French thinkers were received in a different way. Philosophy tends to suffer from a kind of jet lag; it seems to take about a decade for a text to cross the Atlantic. At that point things are twisted and distorted—and made productive in a new way. That happened with French thought of the ’60s and ’70s. Baudrillard was, of course, quite important for people like Peter Halley.

Leo Castelli and Bertrand Lavier at Galerie Hans Mayer, Düsseldorf, 1989.


DB: Were those thinkers interested in the art that you and your colleagues were producing?

BL: No, not at

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