Hal Foster discusses his new book, Bad New Days: Art, Criticism, Emergency with Blake Stimson.
Bad New Days examines the evolution of art and criticism in Western Europe and North America over the last twenty-five years, exploring their dynamic relation to the general condition of emergency instilled by neoliberalism and the war on terror.
Considering the work of artists such as Thomas Hirschhorn, Tacita Dean, and Isa Genzken, and the writing of thinkers like Jacques Ranciere, Bruno Latour, and Giorgio Agamben, Hal Foster shows the ways in which art has anticipated this condition, at times resisting the collapse of the social contract or gesturing toward its repair; at other times burlesquing it.
Against the claim that art making has become so heterogeneous as to defy historical analysis, Foster argues that the critic must still articulate a clear account of the contemporary in all its complexity. To that end, he offers several paradigms for the art of recent years, which he terms abject, archival, mimetic, and precarious.
Hal Foster is Townsend Martin Professor of Art and Archaeology at Princeton University. A co-editor of October magazine and books, he is the editor of The Anti-Aesthetic, and the author of Design and Crime, Recodings, The Return of the Real, Compulsive Beauty, and The Art-Architecture Complex.
Blake Stimson is Professor of Art History at the University of Illinois, Chicago and author most recently of Citizen Warhol (Reaktion Books, 2014).