What does it mean to write "This is not a pipe" across a bluntly literal painting of a pipe? Rene Magritte's famous canvas provides the starting point for a delightful homage by the French philosopher-historian Michel Foucault. Much better known for his incisive and mordant explorations of power and social exclusion, Foucault here assumes a more playful stance. By exploring the nuances and ambiguities of Magritte's visual critique of language, he finds the painter less removed than previously thought from the pioneers of modern abstraction - "confronting them and within a common system, a figure at once opposed and complementary." Foucault's brief but extraordinarily rich essay offers a startling, highly provocative view of a painter whose influence and popularity continue to grow unchecked. "This is Not a Pipe" also throws a new, piquantly dancing light on Foucault himself.