Critical and Theoretical Perspectives
Edited By Rina Arya
Peter Jones Bacon and Bataille
In recent years critical attention has been focused on the hitherto neglected work, at least in Anglo-Saxon academic circles, of the renegade Surrealist Georges Bataille (1897–1962). In 1990, Stoekl noted that: There seems to be taking place, both in the US and abroad, a considerable revival of interest in the work of Georges Bataille. In the last five years, no fewer than five major works have been published in English translation. (Stoekl, 1990: 1) Much of the attention to Bataille’s work has been in relation to literature and critical theory, especially French post-structuralist thought, notably that of Derrida and Foucault. However, today ‘Bataille is no longer simply a footnote at best in the works of other writers, but a major theorist in his own right’ (Stoekl, 1990: 2), whose concerns ran a gamut of disciplines such as literature, sociology, and philosophy. In the light of this recent interest in Bataille, it is timely to consider his inf luence on art practice. Bataille’s extensive writings on art (insepa- rable from his other concerns) are well known, for example, his work on Goya, Manet, and Surrealism as well as prehistoric and primitive art. But Bataille’s inf luence on art practice has been little explored until late. A 1991 French exhibition,1 based on Bataille’s last text The Tears of Eros (1961), a combined illustrated history of eroticism and painting, traced Bataillean themes in the art of his time and ours. The exhibition featured work by such luminaries as Pablo Picasso and...
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