PRINT Summer 2006


Catherine de Zegher

IN THE NINETEENTH CENTURY, Charles Baudelaire said art criticism should be “passionate, partisan, and political.” For the poet and critic, these three words were synonymous—“political” meant “partisan” and “partisan” meant “passionate”—and without them there would be no point to modern, secular art. In this sphere, in other words, the safe space of neutrality, “objectivity” and dispassionate judgment has no place. Take a stand and get behind it: So should art do, and so shall this essay, concerning Catherine de Zegher’s recent departure from New York’s Drawing Center, where she had been director since 1999. Indeed, I am writing from a “partisan” point of view.

Under de Zegher’s directorship, the Drawing Center adhered to Baudelaire’s ethos. It was a space for art and programming with guts, vision, and imagination, a space to air contrary opinions and ideas, to present alternative structures

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