Many postwar American artists were influenced by French philosophy, literary studies, and social sciences. Accordingly, a number of French authors gathered under the label “French Theory”—a name referring roughly to structuralism and post structuralism—has received sustained attention in the United States. As early as the early 1960s, this reception helped to shape both American artistic practice and the fate of French thought in a crucial way. At the turn of the twenty-first century, the wealth of works from the human sciences and philosophy in American culture became the subject of numerous studies.
French Theory and American Art examines some of the main historical conditions of this reception. It considers significant texts, artists, authors, and events that were instrumental in the introduction of French thought into the artistic field of the United States. The relation between artistic creation and theoretical thought, between singular, inventive uses and creative misunderstandings of theory, constitutes the other major question of the present volume.
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ContributorsPhilip Armstrong, Victor Burgin, François Cusset, Larisa Dryansky, Benjamin Greenman, Rachel Haidu, Sylvère Lotringer, Stephen Melville, Laura Mulvey, Kassandra Nakas, Peter Osborne, Jean-Michel Rabaté, John Rajchman, Katia Schneller, Alexander Streitberger, Hilde Van Gelder, Erik Verhagen