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Francis Bacon

Critical and Theoretical Perspectives

Edited By Rina Arya

This collection of essays on Francis Bacon (1909-1992) pays tribute to the legacy, influence and power of his art. The volume widens the relevance of Bacon in the twenty-first century and looks at new ways of thinking about or reframing him. The contributors consider the interdisciplinary scope of Bacon’s work, which addresses issues in architecture, continental philosophy, critical theory, gender studies and the sociology of the body, among others. Bacon’s work is also considered in relation to other artists, philosophers and writers who share similar concerns. The innovation of the volume lies in this move away from both an art historical framework and a focus on the artist’s biographical details, in order to concentrate on new perspectives, such as how current scholars in different disciplines consider Bacon, what his relevance is to a contemporary audience, and the wider themes and issues that are raised by his work.


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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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