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Dialectical Passions: Negation in Postwar Art Theory, Gail Day, New York: Columbia University Press, 2010

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Abstract Gail Day’s Dialectical Passions not only traces the trajectories of leading New Left critics of art and architecture – T.J. Clark, Manfredo Tafuri, Massimo Cacciari, Craig Owens, Fredric Jameson and Hal Foster – it also provides a meditation on the problem of negation and the experience of defeat. This review retraces Day’s arguments, reflecting on her recovery and re-interrogation of negation and dialectics in postwar art theory. In particular, it aims to critically assess her stress on the ‘negative thought’ of Tafuri and Cacciari and the possibilities of reactivating a thought of negativity in the contemporary moment.

Affiliations: 1: University of Chichester b.noys@chi.ac.uk

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