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Hal Foster

Hal Foster is Townsend Martin ‘17 Professor of Art and Archaeology at Princeton University and the author of Prosthetic Gods (MIT Press) and other books.

Titles by This Author

How to imagine not only a new art or architecture but a new self or subject equal to them? In Prosthetic Gods, Hal Foster explores this question through the works and writings of such key modernists as Gauguin and Picasso, F. T. Marinetti and Wyndham Lewis, Adolf Loos and Max Ernst. These diverse figures were all fascinated by fictions of origin, either primordial and tribal or futuristic and technological. In this way, Foster argues, two forms came to dominate modernist art above all others: the primitive and the machine.

Art and Theory at the End of the Century

In The Return of the Real Hal Foster discusses the development of art and theory since 1960, and reorders the relation between prewar and postwar avant-gardes. Opposed to the assumption that contemporary art is somehow belated, he argues that the avant-garde returns to us from the future, repositioned by innovative practice in the present. And he poses this retroactive model of art and theory against the reactionary undoing of progressive culture that is pervasive today.

Surrealism has long been seen as its founder, André Breton,wanted it to be seen: as a movement of love and liberation. In Compulsive Beauty, Foster reads surrealism from its other, darker side: as an art given over to the uncanny, to the compulsion to repeat and the drive toward death.

Titles by This Editor

The Writings of Thomas Hirschhorn

For the artist Thomas Hirschhorn, writing is a crucial tool at every stage of his artistic practice. From the first sketch of an idea to appeals to potential collaborators, from detailed documentation of projects to post-disassembly analysis, Hirschhorn’s writings mark the trajectories of his work. This volume collects Hirschhorn’s widely scattered texts, presenting many in English for the first time.

Edited by Hal Foster

Still little-known in the United States, Richard Hamilton is a key figure in twentieth-century art. An original member of the legendary Independent Group in London in the 1950s, Hamilton organized or participated in groundbreaking exhibitions associated with the group—in particular This Is Tomorrow (1956), for which his celebrated collage Just what is it that makes today's homes so different, so appealing?, crystallizing the postwar world of consumer capitalism, was made.

Edited by Hal Foster

Richard Serra is considered by many to be the most important sculptor of the postwar period. The essays in this volume cover the complete span of Serra's work to date—from his first experiments with materials and processes through his early films and site works to his current series of "torqued ellipses." There is a special emphasis on those moments when Serra extended aesthetic convention and/or challenged political authority, as in the famous struggle with the General Services Administration over the site-specific piece Tilted Arc.