Benjamin Buchloh: "The Ends of a Critic" [res. Yve-Alain Bois & Hal Foster]

Apr 9, 2024, 5:00 pm6:30 pm
N107 (SoA)


Event Description

Graduate Program in Media + Modernity | Princeton University


Benjamin Buchloh

“The Ends of a Critic”

[Response: Yve-Alain Bois, Hal Foster]

Tuesday, April 09, 2024 @5pm ET

N107 (School of Architecture)


:: co-sponsored by the Department of Art & Archaeology ::


In The Ends of a Critic, Yve-Alain Bois will interrogate Benjamin Buchloh and Hal Foster on their new book, Exit Interview.

In Exit Interview, a conversation in three parts, eminent critics and art historians Hal Foster and Benjamin H. D. Buchloh discuss the intellectual foundations and motivations of Buchloh, tracing an arc from family history to activist politics of the 1960s and ’70s to encounters with significant artists, including Michael Asher, Marcel Broodthaers, Louise Lawler, Gerhard Richter, Martha Rosler, and Lawrence Weiner. Foster engages Buchloh on his education and ambitions; his time in communes in Berlin; and his experiences in London as an aspiring fiction writer; and his return to Germany in 1971 to work at art galleries, publish the short-lived but influential magazine Interfunktionen, and teach at the Dusseldorf Academy. Together they chart Buchloh’s path from Europe to North America, first to Nova Scotia, then Los Angeles, and finally New York, as a publisher, professor, curator, and critic. Building on years of collaboration and friendship, Foster and Buchloh’s compelling conversations move from biography and anecdote to important reflection on one’s critical life as a whole. Their discussion is a study in dialectical thought as they explore what Foster calls the “fascinating contradictions” that have structured Buchloh’s approach to culture. The interview retains the intimacy of a frank and generative dialogue, with close examinations of the connections between politics and art. Exit Interview closes with a postscript by Buchloh that reflects on his rigorous commitment to the potential of critical art, despite the relentless commodification of everyday life.


Benjamin H.D. Buchloh served as the Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art at Harvard University's Faculty of Arts and Sciences from 2005 to 2021.A selection of his essays on American and European artists of the post-WWII period has been published in two volumes, Neo-Avantgarde and Culture Industry (MIT Press, 2000),and Formalism and Historicity (MIT Press, 2015). A third volume, Refuse and Refuge is currently being prepared for publication. His monographic study of the work of Gerhard Richter was published in 2022. Buchloh was awarded the Golden Lion for Contemporary Art History and Criticism at the Venice Biennale in 2007.


Yve-Alain Bois was Professor in the School of Historical Studies at the Institute for Advanced Study from 2005 to 2022. He is recognized as an expert on 20th-century European and American art and has curated a number of influential exhibitions, including Piet Mondrian, A Retrospective (1994); L’informe: mode d’emploi (1996); Matisse and Picasso: A Gentle Rivalry (1999); and Picasso Harlequin 1917–1937 (2008). His books include Painting as Model (MIT Press, 1990) and An Oblique Autobiography (no place press, 2022). Bois is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a recipient of the Alfred H. Barr, Jr., Award.


Hal Foster is the Townsend Martin Class of 1917 Professor of Art History at Princeton University. He is the author, most recently, of What Comes After Farce? Art and Criticism at a Time of Debacle, and Brutal Aesthetics, his 2018 Mellon Lectures at the National Gallery in Washington. A member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, he co-edits October and writes regularly for The London Review of Books.


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