Informed by both structuralism and poststructuralism, these essays by art critic and historian Yve Alain Bois seek to redefine the status of theory in modernist critical discourse. Warning against the uncritical adoption of theoretical fashions and equally against the a priori rejection of all theory, Bois argues that theory is best employed in response to the specific demands of a critical problem. The essays lucidly demonstrate the uses of various theoretical approaches in conjunction with close reading of both paintings and texts.
About the Author
Yve-Alain Bois studied at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes under the guidance of Roland Barthes and Hubert Damisch. A founder of the French journal Macula, Bois is currently a professor in the School of Historical Studies at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, NJ.
“A remarkable book, an excellent and innovative example of bow the major experiences of modern painting, from Matisse and Picasso to Mondrian, Newman, or Ryman require a specific use of theory to be correctly interpreted. A genuinely original contribution, in both style and approach, to a 'new history' of art which reconciles critical theory to historical research.”
—Louis Marin, École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris