PRINT September 2012

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Hal Foster on criticism then and now

Frank Stella, Tampa, 1963, red lead on canvas. 99 3/8 x 99 3/8".

HOW CAN WE ACCOUNT for the sheer intensity of the criticism published in Artforum in its first heyday, from the mid-1960s to the early ’70s? That era of the magazine saw Michael Fried prosecuting Minimalism in his brief against “objecthood” (Summer 1967), Robert Morris deconstructing sculpture in his “notes” on the subject (various issues, 1966–69), and Rosalind E. Krauss parsing the “sense and sensibility” of post-Minimalist practice (November 1973), to name only a few salient examples. This writing was so incisive about the art of its moment; sometimes, though, it is fair to say, it overreached in its claims. Speaking in retrospect, Krauss designated hyperbole as the “very form of speech” in Artforum under the editorship of Philip Leider, and Fried admitted to the “tremendous stress on the writing” during the same period.¹ For Fried, this strain was born of the struggle “to get

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