Hal Foster, Arthistorian

Creaturely Cobra, Animal Jorn

Lecture: Hal Foster

14.4 2011


Hal Foster is an American art critic and art historian, born in Seattle in 1955 and a professor at the department of art and archaeology, Princeton University, since 1997. He is currently a Siemens Fellow at the American Academy in Berlin.

Foster has had a seminal influence on our understanding of postmodernism and its relationship to modernism, most recently in his extensive textbook, Art Since 1900. Modernism, Antimodernism, Postmodernism (2004), co-written with Rosalind Krauss, Yves-Alain Bois and Benjamin H. D. Buchloh. As early as in 1983, Foster published a number of ground-breaking essays in The Anti-Aesthetic. Essays on Postmodern Culture, now regarded as a standard work on postmodernism. Foster began his career as an art critic in 1970s New York, working mainly for Artforum and Art in America, where he was part of the editorial team between 1981 and 1987. In 1990, he presented his dissertation on surrealism at New York City University, later published as Compulsive Beauty (1993).

Since 1991, Foster is co-editor of the magazine October, together with his former tutor Rosalind Krauss and others. He is the author of numerous influential books, including Recodings. Art, Spectacle, Cultural Politics (1985), The Return of the Real. The Avant-Garde at the End of the Century (1996), Design and crime and other diatribes (2003) and Prosthetic Gods (2004).