Summary and Info
"You don't have to agree with all of Thierry de Duve's premises and arguments (needless to say I don't) in order to recognize that he has written a remarkable book. The essays gathered in Kant After Duchamp mount the most formidable case yet made for Duchamp's importance, and what makes de Duve's achievement all the more unexpected is that this is done by way of an intense engagement with the writings of Duchamp's seeming opposite, the critic Clement Greenberg. A third constant presence in these pages is Kant's Critique of Judgement, which at once governs de Duve's understanding of Greenberg's "formalism" and is itself brilliantly reinterpreted in the light of Duchamp's readymades. De Duve has always been an independent thinker. Now he has produced an indispensable book, a brilliant and learned "archaeology" of Duchampian modernism that is also a highly original contribution to philosophical aesthetics." -- Michael Fried, Herbert Boone Professor of Humanities, The Johns Hopkins University Kant after Duchamp brings together eight essays around a central thesis with many implications for the history of avant-gardes. Although Duchamp's readymades broke with all previously known styles, de Duve observes that he made the logic of modernist art practice the subject matter of his work, a shift in aesthetic judgment that replaced the classical "this is beautiful" with "this is art." De Duve employs this shift (replacing the word "beauty" by the word "art") in a rereading of Kant's Critique of Judgment that reveals the hidden links between the radical experiments of Duchamp and the Dadaists and mainstream pictorial modernism. Part I of the book revolves around Duchamp's famous/infamous Fountain. Part II explores his passage from painting to the readymades, from art in particular to art in general. Part III looks at the aesthetic and ethical consequences of the replacement of "beauty" with "art" in Kant's Third Critique. Finally, part IV attempts to reconstruct an "archaeology" of modernism that paves the way for a renewed understanding of our postmodern condition. The essays: Art Was a Proper Name. Given the Richard Mutt Case. The Readymade and the Tube of Paint. The Monochrome and the Blank Canvas. Kant after Duchamp. Do Whatever. Archaeology of Pure Modernism. Archaeology of Practical Modernism.
More About the Author
Thierry de Duve (born 1944) is a Belgian professor of modern art theory and contemporary art theory, and both actively teaches and publishes books in the field.