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Light in Buffalo: When Foucault Kept Manet in Mind
Michel Foucault's view of Manet's Bar at the Folies-Bergère provided the conceptual center for his lecture at the Albright-Knox Gallery in Buffalo in the spring of 1970, the first year he taught at SUNY Buffalo. His thinking did not stop at the picture frame that year, or any other year, and the ways in which the work of art occupied his mind bears re-examination. Foucault did not flatten his thinking when he looked at works of art; nor did he separate the questions he asked of art from those he was asking elsewhere, about discourse, about Nietzsche, about Attica. But they would not be exactly the same. He asked his questions to co-exist.
Molly Nesbit is the Mary Conover Mellon Chair of Art History at Vassar College and a contributing editor of Artforum. Her books include Atget’s Seven Albums (Yale University Press, 1992) and Their Common Sense (Black Dog, 2000). Since 2002, together with Hans Ulrich Obrist and Rirkrit Tiravanija, she has been curating the succession of Utopia Stations, an ongoing collective book, exhibition, seminar, web and street project. The Pragmatism in the History of Art (Periscope, 2013), is the first volume of Pre-Occupations, a series collecting her essays; the second, Midnight: The Tempest Essays, was published in 2017 by Inventory Press.
This lecture series is made possible by a generous grant from Fred Weintz and Rosemary Weintz
Image: Edouard Manet, "A Bar at the Folies-Bergère" (Courtauld Art Institute). Poster for GIP meeting, December 1971
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