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David Rimanelli on Jean Baudrillard’s “What Are You Doing After the Orgy?”

Page from Artforum 22, no. 2 (October 1983). Jean Baudrillard, “What Are You Doing After the Orgy?”

The fascination of the pictures is the fascination of being seduced by a dead object, it is the magic of disappearance, and this particular magic can be found just as easily in pornographic images as in Modern art, where the prevailing obsession has been to literally not be viewable, to defy any and all possibilities of visual seduction.

—Jean Baudrillard, “What Are You Doing After the Orgy?”

IT WAS ANOTHER MOMENT, now impossible to reconstruct, a mix of naïveté and cynicism, philosophy and excess, that spawned Jean Baudrillard’s appearance in these pages during the 1980s. French poststructural theory arrived within this milieu as a reprieve from the tyranny of anti-intellectualism—an antidote to, and an extension of, the ideals of the ’60s. Critical discourse, which had previously appealed only to critics and historians, infiltrated gossipy conversations and prime-time

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