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UCI Critical Theory and Contemporary Art Practice: Jacques Derrida, Jean-François Lyotard, Bruce Nauman, and Others

With a Prologue by Georges Van Den Abbeele

by Ewa Bobrowska (Author)
©2020 Monographs 338 Pages
Series: Cross-Roads, Volume 24

Summary

This book is unique in both its subject matter and its approach. It focuses on the collaboration of J. Derrida, J.-F. Lyotard, J. Hillis Miller, D. Carroll, F. Jameson and others at the Critical Theory Institute at the University of California, Irvine and on the application of critical theory for the analysis of contemporary American visual art. The critical and philosophical analysis concerns the art of Bruce Nauman, Kosuth, Burden, Christo, Wodiczko, Johns, Rauschenberg, and others. The focus of the book is on irony and the sublime.
The book also includes the original Prologue by G. van Den Abbeele (Dean of the School of Humanities at UC Irvine 2013-2018) on the history of Critical Theory in the United States, and at UCI, in particular. The CTI’s uniqueness consisted in it being one of the best centers of the Critical Theory studies in the United States.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the editors
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Table of Contents
  • Foreword
  • Introduction: Between Irony, the Sublime, and Contemporary Art. Critical Discourse and Artistic Practice
  • PROLOGUE. Through Discerning Eyes: Origins and Impact of Critical Theory at the UCI’s Fifty-Year Retrospective (Georges Van Den Abbeele)
  • 1 Irony/the Sublime/Visuality, or, of the American Deconstructions of the Derridean Parergon
  • Parergonal Dynamics of Irony
  • Decentralization of Artistic Activities
  • New York Reality of the Lowest Rank
  • The Rhetoric of Irony and the Sublime (Jacques Derrida’s Concepts)
  • The Negative Dynamics of Différance
  • The Mute Irony of Writing
  • The Sublime of the Wrapping (Christo Javacheff and Jeanne-Claude Denat)
  • 2 Meditations on Mercy, Forgiveness, and the Irony of Death (Derrida’s Seminars on the Death Penalty)105
  • 3 The Discourse of the Visual Arts: Paul de Man’s Trope Theory and Contemporary American Painting and Spatial Installations
  • Introductory Remarks
  • Intentional Structure of a Contemporary American Artwork (De Man’s Theory and the Art of Ad Reinhardt, Jasper Johns, and Robert Rauschenberg)
  • Between de Man’s Referential Aberration and Rorty’s Irony
  • The Art of Writing
  • 4 Postmodern Visual Sublime: On the Margins of Fredric Jameson’s Postmodernism, or, the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism
  • Introduction
  • The Sublime in Postmodern Space
  • The Hysterical Sublime
  • Data: Time and Space
  • Lyotard’s Sublime of the Experiment vs. Jameson’s Sublime of Form
  • Video Art and the Issue of Temporality
  • Postmodernism and the Spatio-Temporal: Conclusions
  • Allegory and Metaphor
  • Postmodernism Disputed: Jürgen Habermas, Ihab Hassan, Jean-François Lyotard, Fredric Jameson
  • 5 Emptiness, the Sublime, and Infinity: Broadening the Territory of Art
  • Experiment in American Art: Black Mountain College, John Baldessari, and Multiplex: Directions in Art, 1979 to Now at MoMA
  • Land Art and the Sublime
  • Jean-François Lyotard’s Space-Time Continuum of the Kantian Sublime (Lessons on the Analytic of the Sublime: Kant’s Critique of Judgment, §§ 23–29 by Jean-François Lyotard)
  • 6 “Like the hole in a bone socket that lets you see without showing you anything at all:” Blindness (in California Art) for Bruce Nauman and Contemporary Philosophical Discourse237
  • Jacques Derrida, Jean-Luc Nancy, and Others
  • Bruce Nauman as a California Artist
  • Art of the Intimate
  • Body as a Sphere
  • 7. J. Derrida and J. Kosuth: The Tyranny of the Letter; or, Art for Philosophy269
  • The Crisis and the Heyday of Language
  • Deconstruction of the Book
  • Writing, Différance, and Kosuth’s Conceptualism
  • Thought Is Art
  • Lines, Billboards, and Gaps
  • An Infinity Game (Exercise in Nonlinearity)
  • The Deconstruction of Artworks
  • The Age of Final Solutions
  • Art as an Idea: The Alternatives of Ironic Lectures
  • 8 Chris Burden and the Sublime Rhetoric of the Revealed Truth: Performance Art at UC Irvine
  • 9 Paraesthetics and Theory
  • Paraesthetics
  • 10 Instead of Conclusion: Prosopopoeia, Irony, and Community
  • Irony, Deconstruction, and Cosmopolitanism
  • Jacques Derrida’s Writing
  • Novelty, Narrative, and Literary Criticism
  • Irony and Self-Creation
  • The Ideal of Compassion and Imagination (Richard Rorty and Jacques Derrida)
  • Prosopopoeia, Imagination, and Community: Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century References
  • Plato’s, Rorty’s, and Lyotard’s Teachings About Virtue
  • The Sublime, the Future, and Experimentation
  • Prosopopoeia, Irony, and Community in Krzysztof Wodiczko’s Art
  • 11 Interview with Professor Georges Van Den Abbeele, Dean of the School of Humanities at the University of California, Irvine conducted by Ewa Bobrowska in 2017
  • Bibliography
  • Index
  • Series index

cover

Bibliographic Information published by the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek
The Deutsche Nationalbibliothek lists this publication in the Deutsche
Nationalbibliografie; detailed bibliographic data is available in the internet at
http://dnb.d-nb.de.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
A CIP catalog record for this book has been applied for at the Library of
Congress.

About the editors

The Author
Ewa Bobrowska is a philosopher, art theorist, and visual artist. She obtained her PhD at the Department of Philosophy, University of Warsaw, and was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California, Irvine.
Currently she works as Assistant Professor at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. She is also a member of a number of academic associations, including Polish Philosophical Society, Aesthetic Society and Athens Institute for Education and Research.

About the book

Ewa Bobrowska

UCI Critical Theory
and Contemporary Art Practice: Jacques Derrida,
Jean-François Lyotard, Bruce Nauman, and Others

This book is unique in both its subject matter and its approach. It focuses on the collaboration of J. Derrida, J.-F. Lyotard, J. Hillis Miller, D. Carroll, F. Jameson and others at the Critical Theory Institute at the University of California, Irvine and on the application of critical theory for the analysis of contemporary American visual art. The critical and philosophical analysis concerns the art of Bruce Nauman, Kosuth, Burden, Christo, Wodiczko, Johns, Rauschenberg, and others. The focus of the book is on irony and the sublime.
The book also includes the original Prologue by G. van Den Abbeele (Dean of the School of Humanities at UC Irvine 2013-2018) on the history of Critical Theory in the United States, and at UCI, in particular. The CTI’s uniqueness consisted in it being one of the best centers of the Critical Theory studies in the United States.

This eBook can be cited

This edition of the eBook can be cited. To enable this we have marked the start and end of a page. In cases where a word straddles a page break, the marker is placed inside the word at exactly the same position as in the physical book. This means that occasionally a word might be bifurcated by this marker.

Table of Contents

Foreword

Introduction: Between Irony, the Sublime, and Contemporary Art. Critical Discourse and Artistic Practice

Georges Van Den Abbeele

Prologue. Through Discerning Eyes: Origins and Impact of Critical Theory at the UCI’s Fifty-Year Retrospective

1. Irony/the Sublime/the Visual: On American Deconstructions of the Derridean Parergon

Parergonal Dynamics of Irony

Decentralization of Artistic Activities

New York Reality of the Lowest Rank

The Rhetoric of Irony and the Sublime (Jacques Derrida’s Concepts)

Negative Dynamics of Différance

The Mute Irony of Writing

The Sublime of the Wrapping (Christo Javacheff and Jeanne-Claude Denat)

2. Meditations on Mercy, Forgiveness, and the Irony of Death (Derrida’s Seminars on the Death Penalty)

3. The Discourse of the Visual Arts: Paul de Man’s Trope Theory and Contemporary American Painting and Spatial Installations

Introductory Remarks

Intentional Structure of a Contemporary American Artwork (De Man’s Theory and the Art of Ad Reinhardt, Jasper Johns, and Robert Rauschenberg)

Between de Man’s Referential Aberrations and Rorty’s Irony

The Art of Writing

4. Postmodern Visual Sublime: On the Margins of Fredric Jameson’s Postmodernism, or the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism

Introduction

The Sublime in Postmodern Space

The Hysterical Sublime

Data: Time and Space

Lyotard’s Sublime of the Experiment vs. Jameson’s Sublime of Form

Video Art and the Issue of Temporality

Postmodernism and the Spatio-Temporal: Conclusions

Allegory and Metaphor

Postmodernism Disputed: Jürgen Habermas, Ihab Hassan, Jean-François Lyotard, Fredric Jameson

5. Emptiness, the Sublime, and Infinity: Broadening the Territory of Art

Experiment in American Art: Black Mountain College, John Baldessari, and Multiplex: Directions in Art, 1979 to Now at MoMA

Land Art and the Sublime

Jean-François Lyotard’s Space-Time Continuum of the Kantian Sublime (Lessons on the Analytic of the Sublime: Kant’s Critique of Judgment, §§ 23–29 by Jean-François Lyotard)

6. “Like the hole in a bone socket that lets you see without showing you anything at all:” Blindness (in California Art) for Bruce Nauman and Contemporary Philosophical Discourse

Jacques Derrida, Jean-Luc Nancy, and Others

Bruce Nauman as a California Artist

Art of the Intimate

Body as a Sphere

7. J. Derrida and J. Kosuth: The Tyranny of the Letter, or, Art for Philosophy

The Crisis and the Heyday of Language

Deconstruction of the Book

Writing, Différance, and Kosuth’s Conceptualism

Thought Is Art

Lines, Billboards, and Gaps

An Infinity Game (Exercise in Nonlinearity)

The Deconstruction of Artworks

The Age of Final Solutions

Art as an Idea: The Alternatives of Ironic Lectures

8. Chris Burden and the Sublime Rhetoric of the Revealed Truth: Performance Art at UC Irvine

9. Paraesthetics and Theory

The States of “Theory”

Paraesthetics

10. Instead of Conclusion: Prosopopoeia, Irony, and Community

Irony, Deconstruction, and Cosmopolitanism

Jacques Derrida’s Writing

Novelty, Narrative, and Literary Criticism

Irony and Self-Creation

The Ideal of Compassion and Imagination (Richard Rorty and Jacques Derrida)

Prosopopoeia, Imagination, and Community: Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century References

Plato’s, Rorty’s, and Lyotard’s Teachings About Virtue

The Sublime, the Future, and Experimentation

Prosopopoeia, Irony, and Community in Krzysztof Wodiczko’s Art

11. Interview with Professor Georges Van Den Abbeele, Dean of the School of Humanities at the University of California, Irvine conducted by Ewa Bobrowska

Bibliography

Index

←10 | 11→

Foreword

This monograph is unique in both its subject matter and its approach. It focuses on the collaboration of Jacques Derrida, Jean-François Lyotard, J. Hillis Miller, David Carroll, Fredric Jameson, and others at the Critical Theory Institute1 at the University of California, Irvine and on the possible application of critical theory as a methodology for the analysis of contemporary American art. The focus is on American aesthetics, particularly the categories of irony and the sublime as constitutive modes of various structural destabilizations in representational and non-representational practices in the field of contemporary visual arts in the United States.

This research group’s uniqueness consisted in it being one of the best and most active centers of the critical theory studies in the U.S., which brought together internationally renowned, distinguished philosophers, literary critics, and social theorists. Apart from the pivotal thinkers already mentioned above, the list of collaborators includes also: Murray Krieger, Edward Said, Geoffrey Hartman, Wolfgang Iser, Étienne Balibar, Jean Luc Nancy, Rosalind E. Krauss, Gabriele Schwab, and more recently, through the annual Wellek Library Lecture Series2: Catherine Malabou, Peter Sloterdijk, Donna Haraway, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, David Harvey, Angela Davis, Homi Bhabha, Gayatri Spivak, Jean Baudrillard, Judith Butler, and many others. Moreover, the invited speakers of the second UCI critical theory annual lecture series established in the 90s: the Koehn Public Lecture in Critical Theory have been, among others, Judith Butler, Hortense Spillers, Benedict Anderson, Slavoj Žižek, Jacques Rancière, and Alain Badiou/Étienne Balibar.

The field of critical theory in the U.S. is diverse and interdisciplinary. Apart from UC Irvine, one needs to emphasize first of all UC Berkeley as another important UC critical studies center (The Program in Critical Theory). At UC ←11 | 12→Irvine, the critical theoretical exploration has encompassed the influence of the sociologists and philosophers of the Frankfurt School of Social Research, Kant’s critical philosophy, the field of literary criticism continuing the tradition of the Yale school of criticism, critical theory research at Johns Hopkins, Yale, and Cornell Universities, continental philosophy, social, political, and cultural theory, aesthetics, postcolonial studies, etc. The unique interdisciplinary profile of the research in the humanities carried out at Irvine and its, above all, deconstructive, as well as literary and philosophical orientation has distinguished UC Irvine in America and abroad. The proposed monograph presents the mode of theory developed by the Irvine thinkers with a particular emphasis on their engagement with aesthetics. As „the relevance of the problems of power, social justice and the role of art … have been constant concerns for theory over the last half-century and more”3 this approach highlights one of those fields – the one related to artistic creativity, which is usually underestimated by social theorists, even though it inherently permeates and gives shape to theoretical studies in critical theory.

This monograph is unique in its focus on the aesthetic aspect of the Irvine critical theory, which is traced against the background of the development of American art at that time. In this way, it points to new dimensions of critical theory, the essential yet circular interdependence of art and theory or philosophy observed by Derrida. It offers both a general perspective on the development of the critical theory program, in aesthetics in particular, at UCI and, at the same time, presents how this approach is relevant to the analysis of contemporary art at this time.

This edition is an extended (by more than 30 %) and revised translation of the book Parateoria. Kalifornijska szkoła z Irvine by Ewa Bobrowska published in Polish (Polish Academy of Sciences Press, 2013).

San Bernardino Mountains, California photo Ewa Bobrowska

Details

Pages
338
Year
2020
ISBN (PDF)
9783631827291
ISBN (ePUB)
9783631827307
ISBN (MOBI)
9783631827314
ISBN (Hardcover)
9783631792148
Language
English
Publication date
2020 (November)
Tags
Sublime Irony Postmodern Philosophy Aesthetics Chris Burden Joseph Kosuth Bruce Nauman Deconstruction
Published
Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Warszawa, Wien, 2020. 338 pp., 16 fig. col., 11 fig. b/w.

Biographical notes

Ewa Bobrowska (Author)

Ewa Bobrowska is a philosopher, art theorist, and visual artist. She obtained her PhD at the Department of Philosophy, University of Warsaw, and was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California, Irvine. Currently she works as Assistant Professor at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. She is also a member of a number of academic associations, including Polish Philosophical Society, Aesthetic Society and Athens Institute for Education and Research.

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Title: UCI Critical Theory and Contemporary Art Practice: Jacques Derrida, Jean-François Lyotard, Bruce Nauman, and Others