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The Return of the Real: Art and Theory at the End of the Century: Avant-garde at the End of the Century (October Books) Paperback – 31 Oct 1996


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Product details

  • Paperback: 322 pages
  • Publisher: MIT Press (31 Oct. 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0262561077
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262561075
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 1.4 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 81,584 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

"The Return of the Real is one of the most cogent and theoreticallyself-aware readings of contemprary art I have seen." Howard Singerman, Department of Art History, University of Virginia

From the Back Cover

'As the twentieth century lurches to its end, the rhetoric of 'post' has been increasingly supplanted by an awareness of uncanny repetition. No one has more skillfully mapped the resulting spatial displacements and temporal heterogeneities than Hal Foster. Lively and accessible in style, theoretically astute and politically engaged, The Return of the Real is a model of cultural criticism at its most incisive.' Martin Jay, Professor, Dept. of History, University of California, Berkley

'Hal Foster's essays have time and again defined the point where theoretical imagination converges with urgent questions in the practice of art, and he offers a guiding intelligence for anyone who wants to know why contemporary art matters in the wider debates about the shape and direction of American culture.' Thomas Crow, Robert Lehman Professor of the History of Art, Yale University

'The compelling analyses in The Return of the Real make clear that Hal Foster is one of the few contemporary critics who consistently asks and thinks through the most probing questions about the turbulent intersection of late twentieth-century art, cultural theory, and global capitalism, and who keenly knows that the answers to them can never be reassuring or fashionable affirmations but rather new and disquieting questions.' Jonathan Crary, Columbia University


Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Postwar culture in North America and Western Europe is swamped by neos and posts. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Jonas K. Laursen on 5 Jun. 2006
Format: Paperback
Hal Fosters book about art theory from 1960 till today is a very good book in many ways.

His subject is complex but he writes in a direct way and if you're interested in the subject you will appreciate the relative ease with which he writes about his complex subject.

Especially his critique of Peter Bürger and his "theory of the avantgarde" is good I think. He engages in a discussion with the German art theorist in a very enlightening way.

Also his use of Lacan and his screen that shows "the real" is very nuanced. You begin to appreciate the new art in a way you didn't before you started reading this book.

All through the book you sense the writer's strong commitment to his subject. He really loves modern art and you feel it reading his book.

A great book.
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1 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 19 Nov. 1998
Format: Paperback
Foster offers a very coherent discussion of contemporary art.
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0 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 20 July 1999
Format: Paperback
It's a little conplex but appliavle to many kinds of contemporary art theories.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 7 reviews
31 of 38 people found the following review helpful
How can this be anything but five stars! 26 July 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Granted, I'm not a Phd. in art history, so I can't claim how much of Foster's thinking is his own and how much he "borrows," but these essays, all interrelated and commenting on each other, carefully dissect postwar art, culture, politics, theory. I've read these essays four or five times and come away with a different insight on art each time. The definite highlight for me was the essay on traumatic realism (which ranges from the opposing simulacral and ideological readings of Warhol, to the tearing of the screen in Cindy Sherman, to the abject in art, to the opposing needs to deconstruct the subject and also reaffirm the subject in racial/sexual/cultural discourse.) Whew! It's a daring essay and is the rosetta stone, I think, of the entire book. His insight on the loss of critical distance (which accounts for why the Left and Right sound so much alike these days)needs to be heeded. Long live all the October writers!
14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Very productive reading 24 Nov. 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The book is full of productive suggestions for writing on contemporary visual arts. For a foreign reader, it provides a cogent overview of different moments in recent art; a fine sampling of commentary on theoretical writing, and valuable insight into current art criticism in the U.S. "The Return of the Real", meaning by that the Lacanian "Real", is a thought-provoking, stimulating idea that runs through the book and has refreshed my own critical work. I am indebted to this book.
17 of 31 people found the following review helpful
interesting essays, but ... 26 Sept. 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Foster is a good synthesizer on contemporary art, but ... when you read the footnotes, it feels like he's doin a lot of borrowing from other, less known work. And he never really discusses about the art he mentions, it's all allusions and side comments. And photos of pieces he never even mentions in the text. Still, it's about the best book-lentgh work I can think of on this, and some of the essays are killer.
0 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Not in bad condition 16 July 2013
By Tae K. Kim - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Has some notes and scratches, but not in bad condition.
I think they provide good products. I recommend it. ^^
7 of 19 people found the following review helpful
excellent analysis ensured by rich Aesthetic knowledge 17 Dec. 1999
By university student majoring in Aesthetics - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
A quite interesting book about visual arts since '1960 written by the author and editor of "Anti-Aesthetics".@Especially the analysis of the recent relationship between Art and Anthropology/Ethnography is unique and suggestive.
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