PRINT February 2022


Sylvère Lotringer, Los Angeles, April 2016. Photo: Mark Seliger.

No one did theory like Sylvère Lotringer. Many recall his role in staging the watershed 1975 Schizo-Culture conference at Columbia University in New York, marking the arrival of that perverse chimera, “French theory,” on American shores. (Speaking at the symposium, Michel Foucault—then a young scholar largely unknown in the States—famously called Schizo-Culture “the end of the ’60s.”) He also presented the similarly outrageous Nova Convention in 1978, which made William S. Burroughs its cynosure. But mostly Lotringer, who died November 8 in Baja California, is remembered as the legendary instigator of Semiotext(e), the journal-cum-press that popularized thinkers from Jean Baudrillard to Paul Virilio and whose collision of street and academy continues to radically alter the cultural landscape.

“He was the one who made Nietzsche, Proust, Artaud, and Céline mean something in Manhattan,” writes his former student John Kelsey in a tribute in the following pages. Artforum invited four friends and colleagues—contributing editors Tim Griffin and Kelsey and Semiotext(e) coeditors Chris Kraus and Hedi El Kholti—to honor Lotringer and begin to consider the scope of his unique legacy.

Sylvère Lotringer at eleven, Israel, 1949–50.