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The 20th century has made the question of Marxism an obscure one. The absence of an International Left suggests the irrelevancy of Marxism to the present. Yet historically, Marxism mattered to society at large. It was understood to be relevant, not simply as an anti-capitalist politics, but as a framework for addressing the potentials raised by modern society. Can this history say anything about our own present moment? Does Marxism matter today? This event will explore the question.

A teach-in on the Communist Manifesto led by Platypus Affiliated Society member Jeremy Cohan, PhD candidate in Sociology at NYU, at the New School in NYC on February 17, 2011.

Posted below are two videos from the day-long symposium, What is Critique?, held on November 20th, 2010, at Parsons, the New School for Design, New York. The first video is from the afternoon panel, The Art Critique: Its History, Theories, and Practices. This panel consisted of Tom Butter, Simone Douglas, and James Elkins; it was moderated by Laurie Rojas. The second video is documentation of the evening panel, The Relevance of Critical Theory to Art Today. The panel consisted of J.M. Bernstein, Chris Cutrone, Lydia Goehr, and Gregg Horowitz; it was moderated by Chris Mansour. Both videos can also be found at http://streamingculture.parsons.edu/the-art-critique-its-history-theories-and-practices/.

The Art Critique: Its History, Theories, and Practices

The Relevance of Critical Theory to Art Today

What is Critique? was a day-long symposium that consisted of two panel discussions with artists, critics, teachers, and students and investigated the role that art critiques and criticism play in art production. The first half of the day focused on the nature and function of art critiques as a form of criticism and pedagogy. The latter part of the day was a panel discussion addressing the relationship between critical theory, art production and reception. More information can be found at http://newyork.platypus1917.org/critique/.

An all day symposium, "What is Critique?" was held on Nov. 20th, 2010 at the New School in New York City. The first video is from the afternoon panel, entitled The Art Critique: Its History, Theories, and Practices. This panel consisted of Tom Butter, Simone Douglas, and James Elkins; it was moderated by Laurie Rojas. The second video is documentation of the evening panel, entitled The Relevance of Critical Theory to Art Today. The panel consisted of J.M. Bernstein, Chris Cutrone, Lydia Goehr, and Gregg Horowitz; it was moderated by Chris Mansour.

Abstract: What is Critique? is an all day symposium that consists of panel discussions with artists, critics, teachers, and students city-wide that investigates the role that art critiques and criticism play in art production. The first half of the day will focus on the nature and function of art critiques as a form criticism and pedagogy. The latter part of the day will be a panel discussion addressing the relationship between critical theory, art production and art reception.

The Art Critique: Its History, Theories, and Practices

Video streaming by Ustream

The Relevance of Critical Theory to Art Today

Video streaming by Ustream

A transcript of Chris Mansour's opening remarks to The Relevance of Critical Theory to Art Today can be found in the Platypus Review #39 (Click below):

An edited transcript of The Relevance of Critical Theory to Art Today can be found in Platypus Review #31 (Click below):

Speaker Biographies:
James Elkins grew up in Ithaca, New York, separated from Cornell University by a quarter-mile of woods once owned by the naturalist Laurence Palmer.

He stayed on in Ithaca long enough to get the BA degree (in English and Art History), with summer hitchhiking trips to Alaska, Mexico, Guatemala, the Caribbean, and Columbia. For the last twenty-five years he has lived in Chicago; he got a graduate degree in painting, and then switched to Art History, got another graduate degree, and went on to do the PhD in Art History, which he finished in 1989. (All from the University of Chicago.) Since then he has been teaching at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He is currently E.C. Chadbourne Chair in the Department of Art History, Theory, and Criticism.

His writing focuses on the history and theory of images in art, science, and nature. Some of his books are exclusively on fine art (What Painting Is, Why Are Our Pictures Puzzles?). Others include scientific and non-art images, writing systems, and archaeology (The Domain of Images, On Pictures and the Words That Fail Them), and some are about natural history (How to Use Your Eyes).

Current projects include a series called the Stone Summer Theory Institutes, a book called The Project of Painting: 1900-2000, a series calledTheories of Modernism and Postmodernism in the Visual Art, and a book written against Camera Lucida.

He married Margaret MacNamidhe in 1994 on Inishmore, one of the Aran Islands, off the West coast of Ireland. Margaret is also an art historian, with a specialty in Delacroix. Jim’s interests include microscopy (with a Zeiss Nomarski differential interference microscope and Anoptral phase contrast), optics (he owns an ophthalmologist’s slit-lamp microscope), stereo photography (with a Realist camera), playing piano, and (whenever possible) winter ocean diving.

Tom Butter has been exhibiting sculpture, drawings and prints in NYC and internationally since 1980. His work is included in several museum collections in the United States, and has been reviewed in many art publications. Recipient of 3 NEA Grants and 2 New York Foundation for the Arts Grants, Butter has taught in many east coast fine art programs, including those at RISD, Tyler, Yale University, Harvard, University of the Arts, School of the Museum of Fine Arts, MICA. A member of the faculty at Parsons the New School for Design in the Fine Arts Department since 1986, he was recently Director of the MFA Program ’06-’07. Currently adjunct faculty at Parsons and Brooklyn College (CUNY), staff writer Whitehot Magazine, website:www.tombutter.com

Simone Douglas is the director of the MFA in Fine Arts at Parsons. She works across photography, video and installation, and has curated numerous exhibitions. Her works have been exhibited internationally at, and are held in, collections including the Victoria & Albert Museum, London; the Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney; and the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne. Additional exhibitions include at the Photographers Gallery, London; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney; and the Australian Centre for Photography, Sydney. She was project director and curator for Picture Sydney: landmarks of a new generation at the Australian Museum, a Getty Conservation Institute Initiative. She has been a guest scholar at Koln International School of Design, and initiated the international art and design collective Conjecture and served on the Board of Directors at First Draft Gallery, Sydney. Most recently, Simone is running an international visual research project, The Exquisite Corpse. Before joining the faculty at Parsons, Simone held faculty posts at the College of Fine Arts, University of NSW; National Art School, Sydney; and Sydney College of the Arts, University of Sydney (tenured) where she is currently an honorary faculty member. She holds an M.F.A. and a Grad. Dip. Prof. Art Studies from the College of Fine Arts, University of NSW and a B.A. in Visual Arts from Sydney College of the Arts, University of Sydney

Gregg M. Horowitz is Chair of Social Science and Cultural Studies at Pratt Institute and Associate Professor of Philosophy at Vanderbilt University. He works on the philosophy of art and art history, political philosophy, and psychoanalysis. He has special research interests in the relation of aesthetics, cultural theory and art criticism to critical social theory.

Horowitz is the author of SUSTAINING LOSS: ART AND MOURNFUL LIFE (Stanford University Press, 2001), and, with A. Danto and T. Huhn, THE WAKE OF ART: CRITICISM, PHILOSOPHY, AND THE ENDS OF TASTE (Gordon and Breech, 1998). More recently, he has authored “The Residue of History: Dark Play in Schiller and Hegel” in GERMAN IDEALISM – AN INTERNATIONAL YEARBOOK (Walter de Gruyter, 2007), pp.179-98 and essays on Andreas Gursky, Tony Oursler, and Wallace Stevens.

Lydia Goehr is Professor of Philosophy at Columbia University. She is one of the 2009-2010 recipients of the Lenfest Distinguished Columbia Faculty Award for exceptional teaching in Arts & Sciences. In 2005, she received a Columbia University Presidential Award for Outstanding Teaching and in 2007-8 was recipient The Graduate Student Advisory Council (GSAC)’s Faculty Mentoring Award (FMA). She has also been a recipient of Mellon, Getty, and Guggenheim Fellowships, and in 1997 was the Visiting Ernest Bloch Professor in the Music Department at U. California, Berkeley, where she gave a series of lectures on Richard Wagner. She has been a Trustee of the American Society for Aesthetics. In 2002-3, she was the visiting Aby Warburg Professor in Hamburg and a fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin. In 2005-6, she delivered the Royal Holloway-British Library Lectures in Musicology in London and the Wort Lectures at Cambridge University. In 2008, she was a Visiting Professor at the Freie Universität, Berlin (Cluster: “The Language of Emotions”) and in 2009, a visiting professor in the FU-Berlin SFB Theater und Fest. She is the author of The Imaginary Museum of Musical Works: An Essay in the Philosophy of Music (1992; second edition with a new essay, 2007); The Quest for Voice: Music, Politics, and the Limits of Philosophy [essays on Richard Wagner] (1998); Elective Affinities: Musical Essays on the History of Aesthetic Theory [essays on Adorno and Danto] (2008), and co-editor with Daniel Herwitz of The Don Giovanni Moment. Essays on the legacy of an Opera (2006). She has written many articles, most recently on the work of Theodor W. Adorno, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, and Arthur Danto. She offers courses in the history of aesthetic theory, the contemporary philosophy of the arts, critical theory, and the philosophy of history. Her research interests are in German aesthetic theory and in particular in the relationship between philosophy, politics, history, and music. With Gregg Horowitz, she is series editor of Columbia Themes in Philosophy, Social Criticism, and the Arts, Columbia University Press. She is presently writing a book on the contest of the arts.

Jay Bernstein is Chair and University Distinguished Professor in Philosophy at The New School for Social Research. He received his BA in 1970 from Trinity College in Religion and his PhD in 1975 from the University of Edinburgh. He is the author of numerous books and articles on philosophy; his recent books on art include The Fate of Art and Against Voluptuous Bodies: Late Modernism and the Meaning of Painting.

Chris Cutrone teaches at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the University of Chicago, where he is completing his dissertation on Adorno’s Marxism. He is the original lead organizer of Platypus.

Monday, November 15, 7pm

Thomas Hunter Hall, 930 Lexington Avenue, Room 414

A n evening in conversation with

Alan Goodman (correspondent for Revolution newspaper, voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party)

Richard Rubin (The Platypus Affiliated Society)


Questions for the panelists:

1. Historically, what role has the Marxist Left played in the development of Israel? What would a critical Marxist perspective on Israel, the ideology of Zionism and the Palestinian conflict look like? Has a Left critique historically been applied?

2. What is the relationship between American political hegemony and Israel? How has this traditionally been understood by the "Left", and how is it now portrayed? Has this understanding obscured attempts at political and theoretical analysis? How has it affected the international "Left's" approach to the actual political opposition among Palestinians?

3. Why have leftist approaches to the conflict emphasized a politics of resistance over cogent political visions? Do measures, such as BDS campaigns and the Flotilla effort, that seek to 'delegitimize' Israel and the ideology of Zionism through resistance to its immediate means and policies ameliorate immediate social conditions or clarify political conditions? If not, what sort of approach should be emphasized?

Suggested background reading from the Platypus Review:

Which way forward for Palestinian liberation? (PR: April 2010)

http://platypus1917.org/2010/04/08/which-way-forward-for-palestinian-liberation-2/

Catastrophe, historical memory and the Left: 60 years of Israel-Palestine (PR: May 2008)

http://platypus1917.org/2008/05/01/catastrophe-historical-memory-and-the-left-60-years-of-israel-palestine/

Related Platypus events:

Which Way Forward for Palestinian Liberation? (Chicago: April 2010)

http://platypus1917.org/2010/04/04/which-way-forward-for-palestinian-liberation/

Platypus: Israel-Palestine and the One State Solution (Chicago: March 2008)

http://www.archive.org/details/PlatypusIsrael-palestineAndTheOneStateSolution

School of the Art Institute of Chicago, 112 S. Michigan Ave.

The Platypus Affiliated Society is proud to announce its second annual international convention, What is Left, and where to begin? Platypus has organized four days of activities. Starting on Wednesday May 26th with a film screening at University of Chicago’s Woodlawn Collaborative and Thursday with theater and poetry performances at Decima Musa in Pilsen. On Friday May 28th, the Platypus Affiliated Society will convene for the panel discussion on The Question of Imperialism in the 20th Century at School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). On Saturday May 29th, Platypus will host a selective series of workshops and panel discussions at SAIC (112 S. Michigan Ave.)  Activities will focus on political and cultural issues that have shaped the Left historically and today. Sunday May 30th, Platypus members will be leading a series of talks on The Platypus Experience: Perspectives from three generations and The origins of today’s Left in the 1970s New Left. Saturday and Sunday spaces are limited and require registration. Click here to register.

NOTE: If you would like to attend the convention and live in the NYC area, please contact us at newyork@platypus1917.org to arrange transportation with us. We will be finalizing all transportation arrangements by Wednesday, May 26th.