Catherine M. Soussloff: Foucault On Painting

[Foucault] has something to say to almost every field in the arts, humanities, and social sciences.
Listen on Google Play Music

Foucault on Painting
By Catherine M. Soussloff

Catherine M. Soussloff discusses her book Foucault on Painting with Chris Richardson. Soussloff, Professor of Art History, Visual Art & Theory, University of British Columbia and Professor Emeritus, University of California, Santa Cruz is the author of Foucault on Painting (University of Minnesota Press) and editor of Foucault on the Arts and Letters: Perspectives for the Twenty-First Century (Rowman and Littlefield). In 2015, she was Visiting Lecturer at the Collège de France. She has published articles and books on Jewish identity and visual culture (Jewish Identity in Modern Art History, California), the historiography of art history, early modern art theory, and contemporary issues in art, art history, and performance. Soussloff has held fellowships from the Institut d’Histoire de l’Art (INHA), Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Getty Research Institute, and the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. She is the author of The Absolute Artist: The Historiography of a Concept (Minnesota) and The Subject in Art: Portraiture and the Birth of the Modern (Duke). She was an editor of The Encyclopedia of Aesthetics, 2nd edition (Oxford). Her work in progress includes the essay “Artist in the World” and a book on the bodily self in art and theory.


“A series of essays by the most persuasive of the philosophers of history in the 20th century. White allows us to understand how the structure and tropes of literary representation determine our understanding and writing of history. Given Foucault's extensive use and understanding of "discourse", White's examination of narrative and history-writing helps us to articulate how Foucault's representation of art and visual culture signify to their audience and for the disciplines.”


“A series of studies of important historical texts on art and literature in which painting and images occur. This is one of the earliest and most detailed investigations of the meaning of "painting," "tableau", and language, although it has never been translated. These studies were very important for Foucault, Damisch, Arasse, and other French writers who theorized about painting and photography in the late 20th century, and as such, had a major influence on the first and second generations of October art historians: Krauss, Bois, Crimp, Foster, etc.”


“This volume collects translations of the French phenomenologist's incredibly important essays on painting, originally published 1950-60. These essays and Merleau-Ponty's thinking about vision and visuality, proved to be of utmost significance to the generation of French philosphers and art historians who followed him: Foucault, Damisch, Marin, Arasse, and others.”


“To my mind the most informed and interesting recent book attempting to understand the totality of Foucault's contribution to philosophy, culture and history.”



“The first book attempting to understand Foucault's use-value and consequences for the arts and humanities. Taken as a whole, this collection of essays by scholars from diverse disciplinary affiliations presents a compelling case for Foucault's significance today in architecture, literature, art history, film, dance, and music.”


“This article begins by proposing that Foucault is correct in his interpretation of Velasquez's painting Las Meninas in the first chapter of The Order of Things where he argues for the painting's centrality to understanding the transition in conceptions of representation from the Renaissance to modernity. The article examines this proposition in the specific context of the art theory of the seventeenth century in regard to Velasquez and his context in Madrid and Rome, contending that the work and literary reputation of Leonardo da Vinci determined the Spanish artist's contribution and Foucault's interpretation.”