Dialectical Conversions

BookDialectical Conversions

Dialectical Conversions

Donald Kuspit’s Art Criticism

Value: Art: Politics, 5


January 26th, 2011



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Few art critics in Western art history have ever had the broad-ranging impact over several decades of Donald Kuspit, a philosopher and psychoanalyst who from 1970 until the present has been a commanding figure on the international stage. A student of German thinker Theodor Adorno under whom he earned the first of his three doctorates, Kuspit introduced a new type of philosophical art criticism into the art world. He drew on both phenomenology and Critical Theory before he then increasingly adopted psychoanalysis. Since Kuspit himself has always measured his own place in the history of art criticism by how rigorously he engages with competing approaches, this book is a searching survey of Kuspit’s role in triggering several historic shifts within art criticism, beginning with his now legendary 1974 article in Artforum, “A Phenomenological Approach to Artistic Intention.” Dense and demanding, yet deft and incisive, Kuspit’s multi-faceted art criticism has become world famous for reasons that artists, critics, art historians, and philosophers from at least ten different nations explain from various points of view. Divided into three parts and introduced by a lengthy introduction, the book features comments by recognized artists like Rudolf Baranik, Anselm Kiefer, and April Gornik, as well as critical commentaries by many scholars and critics from around the world on the richness of Kuspit’s insights into art.


Author Information

David Craven was Distinguished Professor of Art History at the University of New Mexico. Brian Winkenweder, Associate Professor of Art History, Linfield College.

Table of Contents

Section TitlePage
List of illustrations
List of contributors
Introductory Essay by David Craven, “Donald Kuspit’s Achievement,”
Donald Kuspit, “My Journey: From New York to Frankfurt & Back,”
Lawrence Alloway & Donald Kuspit, “An Editorial about Art Criticism” (1979),
The 1983 Jewett Mather Award for Art Criticism to Donald Kuspit
by Jeanne Siegel, Brian O’Doherty, and Diane Vanderlip,
I. Essays about Kuspit by Artists and Interviews with Artists:
1. Rudolf Baranik, “The Innovative Art Criticism of Kuspit,”
2. Anselm Kiefer “A Dialogue with Kuspit at Documenta,”
3. Georg Baselitz “A Conversation with Kuspit at the Guggenheim,”
4. April Gornik “The Significance of Kuspit’s Criticism for Artists,”
5. Rosalyn Schwartz “The Impact of Kuspit’s Criticism on Artists,”
II. Essays about Kuspit by Art Critics and Art Historians:
A. The USA
6. Ray Kass & Howard Risatti, “Donald Kuspit & Clement Greenberg in Dialogue,”
7. Matthew Biro, “Modern & Postmodern Art Criticism: The Unique Place of Kuspit,”
8. Matthew Baigell, “Donald Kuspit’s Jewish Consciousness,”
9. Joseph Masheck, “On Kuspit, Kant, and Greenberg,”
10. Patricia Mathews, “The Engagé Art of May Stevens,”
11. Diane Waldman, “Kuspit and the New Subjectivism in the 1980s,”
12. Brian Winkenweder, “Kuspit’s Humanness, Subjectivity and Psychoanalysis,”
B. Asia, Canada, Europe, and Latin America
13. Ananda Chakrabarty, “Soulages’s Paintings and Kuspit’s Criticism,”
14. Richard Leslie, “Dialogues in Difference: Alloway & Kuspit,”
15. Anna María Guash, “Talking With Kuspit in Barcelona,”
16. Raúl Quintanilla, “Reagan’s Anti-Aesthetic and Kuspit’s Criticisms,”
17. Tijen Tunali, “Abstract Art as Ideological Critique: Kuspit on Kandinsky,”
III. Selected Papers about Kuspit’s Accomplishment at the International Association of Philosophy in Leeds (2003): “A Close Encounter with Donald Kuspit”
18. Mark Van Proyen, “Criticism and the ‘Metaphysics’ of Art: Donald Kuspit,”
19. Lucy Bowditch, “Kuspit on Gerhard Richter and the Teutonic Chill,”
20. Randall K. Van Schepen, “Dialectic & Selfhood in Kuspit’s Art Criticism,”
21. Lynn M. Somers-Davis, “A Taste for Sham: Examples of Perversion & Suffering,”
A Selected Bibliography of Donald Kuspit’s Writings