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Johanna Drucker: A review of TJ Clark’s Farewell to an Idea


Journal of Art Historiography

Los Angeles Review of Books

‘Recognizing Complicity’ by Johanna Drucker

May 3rd, 2015

The following essay is part of the Los Angeles Review of Books special series «No Crisis»: a look at the state of critical thinking and writing — literary interpretation, art history, and cultural studies — in the 21st century. Click here for the full series. 

T. J. CLARK begins the first long essay in this book with a measured but keen sense of drama, reporting two major historical events while gesturing to pressing issues offstage: On October 16, 1793 (or 25 Vendémiaire Year 2), “a hastily completed painting by Jacques-Louis David, of Marat, the martyred hero of the revolution […] was released into the public realm.” At midday on that same day, “Marie-Antoinette was guillotined. Michelet tells us that her death, so long demanded by Hébert and the Paris wards (the so-called sections), in the event went off…

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