unofficial website (last update: 07/06/02)

Brief Introduction
Published Books (English)
Edited Book
Essays in Magazines and Journals
Essays collected in Books & Catalogues
Courses outline
Materials in different languages (other than English)

Brief Introduction (combined sources)

Thierry de Duve writes and teaches on modern and contemporary art. Committed to a reinterpretation of modernism, his work has long revolved around Marcel Duchamp's readymade and its implications for aesthetics.
Thierry de Duve is Director of Studies, Association de prefiguration de l'Ecole des Beaux-Arts de la Ville de Paris. Under Jacques Chirac reign, Thierry de Duve had been given six years to create a philosophy, find a building, equip and staff a new Fine Art Academy for the City of Paris. However, due to financial problems in Paris, the project has been abandoned in year four. His visiting professorships included posts at the Sorbonne, MIT and Johns Hopkins University, the Elliot and Roslyn Jaffe Distinguished Visiting Professor in Contemporary Art in Penn's History of Art Department and fellowships at the Center for the Advanced Study of the Visual Arts at the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C.
He recently curated the exhibition "Look-100 Years of Contemporary Art,", at the Brussels Palais des Beaux-Arts. (
This year (2003), he is the curator for the Belguim Pavilion at La Biennale di Venezia.
He is now working on  Archaeology of Modernism in Painting.

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Published Books (English)

Pictorial Nominalism:
On Marcel Duchamp's Passage from Painting to the Readymade
(Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1991).
Clement Greenberg Between the Lines :
Including a previously unpublished debate with Clement Greenberg
(Trans. Brian Holmes; Editions Dis Voir, 1996)
Kant After Duchamp
(Cambridge: MIT Press, 1998)
Look, 100 Years of Contemporary Art
(on the occassion of the exhibition Voici, 100 ans d'art contemporain, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels, 23 November 2000 - 28 January 2001; curator: Thierry de Duve)
(trans. Simon Pleasance and Fronza Woods; Ghent-Amstersam: Ludion, 2001).

Text by: Thierry De Duve
Binding: Hardcover, 302 pages
Publisher: Ludion 2001

Publisher's Review:
Devoted to the art of the art of the twentieth century, "Look!" seeks to transmit rather than pass judgment on a century in which presentation has replaced representation. The challenge taken on by "Look!" is to present the works of art in such a way that they present themselves, that they address us, their spectators, and that they speak to all of us. "Look!" is therefore divided into three parts: the first, "Here I Am", presents works in which human beings are presented even if they are not specifically represented; the second, "Here You Are", features works that address their spectators face to face, that rely on the viewer to complete them; and the third, "Here We Are", displays a community of works that testify to what binds us together as a global human society. Lavishly illustrated and historically refreshing, "Look!" features extensive text by internationally renowned art historian and philosopher Thierry de Duve.

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Edited Book
The Definitively Unfinished Marcel Duchamp.
(Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1993).

Johnathan Rajchman
The question as to what went on with respect to painting in the sixties is obviously a very complicated moment that we won't be able to settle here. Some years back, I was interested in one thesis, or hypothesis, that was made about this question by a Belgian philosopher and art critic named Thierry de Duve. He was writing back in the eighties, a time of appropriation art, a sort of neo-expressionism. He is a scholar of Duchamp. He proposed the following idea: "What happened in the sixties connected to painting, was that we started to have forms that ceased to be based in tradition or medium and became what he calls generic. One started talking about Minimal Art, or Pop Art, or Conceptual Art, or Land Art, Performance, later appropriation itself. And if one painted it was because one was first an artist. In some sense, he thought that the contemporary situation of painting was a post-medium situation. But I think if we now read this analysis, which I think is still quite interesting, we find this trait: That he still tries to conceive of a problem of the contemporary situation in painting without really breaking with a Modernist theory of painting. On the contrary, his analysis is a way of continuing that theory in kind of end game phase that can be seen in Newman's monochromes or even in Richter's color charts. And, if one looks at challenging, interesting, theoretical, thoughtful criticism, it is surprising how much of it starts with this picture of painting playing out some kind of end. It seems to me this is part of a languages no longer appropriate. So much so that you wonder if it's not the theory that's playing it out this end game and projecting on this situation.
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Essays in Magazines and Journals

"Time Exposure and the Snapshot: The Photograph as Paradox"
October, #5 (Summer 1978), pp 113-25.

(1982; Eng. reprinted 2001 from 1982 Venice Biennale Catalog)
"Marthe Wery: Painting, Close To and From Afar"
Marthe Wery, Penser en peinture (Ghent: Ludion, 2001).

"The Readymade and the Tube of Paint"
Artforum, #24, 1986, pp 110-?.

"Joseph Beuys, or the last of the Proletarians"
October, #45 (Summer 1988), pp. 47-62.

"Yves Klein, or The Dead Dealer"
October, #49 (Summer 19??), pp. 72-90.

"Authorship stripped bare, even"
RES Anthropology and aesthetics, #19/20 (1990/1991), pp. 234-241.

"Echoes of the readymade: Critique of Pure Modernism"
October, #70 (Autumn 1994), pp. 47-62.

"Critical Reflection"+ Jeff Wall on Thierry de Duve
Artforum, Sep 1995, 72-73, +

"Michael Snow: The Deictics{?} of Experience, and Beyond"
Parachute 78 (April-May-June 1995).

(1998 i)
"How Manet's A Bar at the Folies-Bergere Is Constructed"
Critical inquiry, Fall 1998 (Volume 25, Number 1).

(1998 ii)
"Intuition, Logic, Intuition"
Critical inquiry, Fall 1998 (Volume 25, Number 1).

(1998 iii)
"People in the image/people before the image: Address and the issue of community in Sylvie Blocher's l'annonce amoureuse"
October, Summer98 Issue 85, p106, 21p

"Marthe Wery: or Freedom in Painting"
Marthe Wery, A Debate in Painting (Brussels: La lettre volee, 1999).

"Taking Care of Painting"
Robert Ryman, Painting from the Sixties (exhib. cat.; Brussels: Xavier Hufkens Gallery, 2000).
{thanks woonie for providing the material}

"On Incarnation: Sylvie Blocher's L'annonce amoureuse and Edouard Manet's A bar at the Folies-Bergere"
Time and the Image  (ed. Carolyn Bailey Gill; Brussels: Xavier Hufkens Gallery, 2000).

" The Post-Duchamp Deal - Remarks on a few sepcifications of the word 'Art' "
A Prior: Meg Stuart #6 (Autumn/Winter 2001-02).
{thanks woonie for providing the material}

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Essays collected in books & catalogues

"The New Museum" [???]
in: Mediamatic, vol. 3#4, zomer/summer 1989.
"Ex Situ" [???]
in Installation art.(London : Academy Editions, c1993), pp.24-30.
"When Form Has Become Attitude-And Beyond" [???]
in Nicholas de Ville and Stephen Foster ed., The Artist and The Academy (Southampton: John Hansard Gallery, 1994), pp. 23-40.
"Back to the Future: The Sequel"
in Jody Berland, Will Straw, & David Tomas ed., Theory rules: art as theory; theory and art, pp. 33 -
"The Mainstream and the Crooked Path"
Jeff Wall (Phaidon Press, 1996), pp. 26-53.
"Kant, Immanuel: Kant, Duchamp, and Judgment"
Encyclopedia of Aesthetics (New York : Oxford University Press, 1998), pp.59-61
"Bernd and Hilla Becher and Monumentary Photography" (See German Version below)
Bernd and Hilla Becher: Basic Forms (New York: Te Neues, 1999), pages 7-22.
Roni Horn (London: Phaidon Press, 2000).
Ryman Robert - Paintings from the sixties
"On Postmodernism, Ethics, and Aesthetics in the Age of Global Markets,"
Capital Culture: A Reader on Modernist Legacies, State Institutions, the Value(s) of Art
(Ed. Jody Berland and Shelley Hornstein; McGill-Queen's University Press, 2000).
"Come On, Humans, One More Stab At Becoming Post-Christians!"
in Heaven (curated by Doreet LeVitte Harten) illustrated catalogue.
(Ostfildern : Hatje Cantz, 1999).
"Dan Graham and the Critique of Artistic Autonomy,"
in Dan Graham Works 1965-2000 (edited by Marianne Brouwer; Dusseldorf : Richter Verlag, 2001), pp.49-66.
"Silver and Exact"
in Sylvie Eyberg / Val'erie Mannaerts (Yves Gevaert & Communaut'e francaise de Belgique, 2003), pp.106-173.

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Courses outline

20th Century Art: 1945 to Now
Lectures Spring 1997

Faculte de philosophie et lettres (Catholic University of Louvain / UCL)
Histoire de l'art et archeologie: epoque contemporaine, peinture et sculpture

De Duve's Three Paradigms
CIRCA 89 Art Education Supplement

Two models, even though in reality they contaminate each other, divide up the teaching of art. On the one hand, there is the academic model; on the other, there is the Bauhaus model. The former believes in talent, the latter in creativity. The former classifies the arts according to techniques, what I would call metier; the latter according to medium. The former fosters imitation; the latter invention. Both models are obsolete. [1]

Thierry de Duve thus introduces his interrogation of the dominant paradigms in art education in Europe and North America. His full analysis, as laid out at a conference at the University of Southampton in 1993, is succinct, direct and persuasive. This analysis leads him to postulate a further paradigm of art education. De Duve now sees "the most advanced art schools" organised according to "the disenchanted, perhaps nihilistic, after-image of the old Bauhaus paradigm." In place of the models of "talent-metier-imitation" (academic) and "creativity-medium-invention" (modernist) De Duve posits a "new triad of notions: attitude-practice-deconstruction." He reserves his most scathing critique for this, as he terms it, "imploded paradigm." Describing the development of art education in the 1970s, he points to the prior emergence of conceptual art, with special mention for the When Attitude Becomes Form exhibition of 1969 (Bern/London) and claims:

Linguistics, semiotics, anthropology, psychoanalysis, Marxism, feminism, structuralism and post-structuralism, in short 'theory' (or so-called 'French theory') entered art schools and succeeded in displacing-sometimes replacing-studio practice while renewing the critical vocabulary and intellectual tools with which to approach the making and appreciating of art.

De Duve acknowledges that this shift in emphasis from creativity to attitude occurred "with considerable differences depending on national and local circumstances." He concludes that in general, however, "with or without the conscious or unconscious complicity of their teachers, what had started as an ideological alternative to both talent and creativity, called 'critical attitude', became just that, an attitude, a stance, a pose, a contrivance."

The tendency toward a reorganisation of Fine Art courses which plays down the separation of traditional studio disciplines and mediums (the familiar trio of painting, print, and sculpture) may be seen to be part of this foregrounding of critical attitude or critical process. The much-vaunted interdisciplinarity of contemporary educational initiatives may do service for a great number of conflicting agendas, and can in itself become just a stance or a pose. Whatever the case, it is clearly exemplary of De Duve's third paradigm of art education.

De Duve's analysis more thoroughly questions the dominant paradigms of art education than most available accounts, which tend by and large to privilege a theory-practice dichotomy. I cite it here because it underlines a profound sense of crisis when it comes to the formulation of a definitive core philosophy to the teaching agenda. I also cite it here in order to take license in questioning art education along other lines: along the lines of a performance script I rehearse quietly between classes.

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Thierry de Duve has put forward a radical rereading of Kant's notion of aesthetic judgment. Duchamp's ready-mades and their impact on the retheorization of contemporary art-making has suggested to de Duve a transformation of Kant's aesthetics into a kind of Kant after Duchamp posturing; in that new setting, the notion of aesthetic judgment can be applied to the specificities of contemporary art. From the start, that reformulation of Kant's notion of aesthetic judgment bears witness to an intense interest on de Duve's part in the work of Clement Greenberg. For some years now, de Duve has commented upon and attempted to explain Greenberg's basic arguments, not only Greenberg as art critic and principal theoretician of modernism, but also Greenberg as kantian philosopher, and such a process has always been developed with sympathy but at the same time with a critical eye toward Greenberg's lapses in doctrine and theoretical hesitations.
Herman Parret
"La reddition et l'adresse. Les esthetiques de Clement Greenberg et de Thierry de Duve face a Kant"
Etho-Semiotics of Contemporary Arts vol. 5, no 2

Stephen Melville
"Kant after Greenberg"
    Review of
    Greenberg's Collected Essays and Criticism,
    (TdD) Clement Greenberg between the lines &
    (TdD) Kant after Duchamp
Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, 56, 1 (Winter 1998), pp. 67-74

Barry Schwabsky
Review of Thierry de Duve's
    Kant After Duchamp.
    Clement Greenberg Between the Lines: Including a Previously Unpublished Debate with Clement Greenberg.
    Du Nom au Nous.
    La Deposition: A propos de Decue la mariee se rhabilla de Sylvie Blocher.
    Jeff Wall. (Thierry de Duve, Arielle Pelenc, and Boris Groys).
On Paper I 6 (July/August 1997), pp. 40-42. (thanks for Barry Schwabsky's supply of information and e-text)

Mark Cheetham
Book Review: Kant After Duchamp
Leonardo Electronic Almanac Volume 5, No. 6 (June 1997)

Molly Nesbit
Critique of Poor Judgment
Review of (TdD) Kant after Duchamp
Book Forum [Art Forum supplement] Summer 1996, pp.3+.

Robert Radford
Review of
    (TdD) Kant after Duchamp,
    The Private Worlds of Marcel Duchamp,
    The Duchamp Effect, &
    Duchamp - a biography.
[???], pp. 636-637.

David Hopkins
Review of
    (TdD) Pictorial Nominalism,
    (TdD ed.)The definitely Unfinished Marcel Duchamp,&
    West Coast Duchamp.

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Materials in different languages other than English
Nominalisme pictural: Marcel Duchamp, la peinture et la modernite (Paris : Les editions de minuit 1984)
Essais dates I, 1974-1986 (Paris : Ed. de la difference, 1987).
Pikturaler Nominalismus: Marcel Duchamp. Die Malerei und die Moderne (Aus dem Franzosischen von Urs-Beat; Munchen:Verlag Silke Schreiber, 1987)
Au nom de l'art. Pour une archeologie de la modernite (Minuit, 1989)
Resonnances du readymade. Duchamp entre avant-garde et tradition (1989)
Cousus de fil d'or. Beuys, Warhol, Klein, Duchamp (Villeurbanne, Art ed., 1990; Dijon: Impr. Dips).
Faire ecole (1992) 1995
Kant nach Duchamp (Munchen 1993)
La Deposition (1995)
Du nom au nous (1995)
Clement Greenberg entre les Lignes (1996).
Kant despues de Duchamp
Kijk, 100 jaar hedendaagse kunst [Thierry de Duve vert. uit het Frans] (Gent 2000).
Voici, 100 ans d'art contemporain (Ludion, Gand, 2000).

"Performance Hic et Nunc" [???]
"A propos du ready-made", Parachute # 7 (ete 1977), p. 22.
"Dan Graham und die Kritik der kunstlerischen Autonomie", (Bern, 1983)
"Reponse a cote de la question "Qu'est-ce que la sculpture moderne?", publie dans le catalogue "Qu'est-ce que la sculpture moderne?" (Paris, Editions Centre Pompidou, Musee national d'art moderne, juillet-octobre 1986), pp. 275-291
"Ryman irreproductible", Parachute nX 20, automne 1980, repris in Essais dates I, 1974-1986, (Paris : Editions de la Difference, 1987), pp. 119-158.
"La performance ici et maintenant", Essais dates (1974-1986) (Paris: La Difference, 1987).
"Pose et instantane, ou le paradoxe photographique", Essais dates (1974-1986) (Paris: La Difference, 1987).
"en reference a Michel Foucault dans Resonances du readymade", (Nimes: Jacqueline Chambon, 1989).
~Catalog, "La Couleur Seule: l'Experience du Monochrome," Octobre Des Arts, Art Contemporain Lyon, Lyon, France, 1989. Essays by Thierry de Duve,
La deposition: A propos de Decue la mariee se rhabilla de Sylvie Blocher
"Cousus de fils d'or", (Art edition, 1990).
~La Place du gout dans la production philosophique des concepts et leur destin critique, 1992 (Actes du colloque organise par les Archives de la critique d'art sous la direction de Elisabeth Lebovici, Didier Semin et Ramon Tio Bellido). Essays by Thierry de Duve,
"Bernd und Hilla Becher oder die monumentarische Photographie," Bernd und Hilla Becher: Grundformen (Munich: Shirmer/Mosel, 1993), pp. 7-22.
"Living Pictures en particulier : Adresse et communaute dans L'annonce amoureuse de Sylvie Blucher", (Trafic nX 23, 1997).
"Kant despues de Duchamp", articulo aparecido en la revista Confines No 4,Buenos Aires, Julio 1997.
"Marthe Wery : un debat en peinture (a debate in painting / Marthe Wery ou la liberte en peinture)", (Bruxelles: La Lettre volee, 1999).
Kunsten og varket, Astetikstudier nr. 6. Lene Tortzen Bager og Ansa Lonstrup (red.):
Skriftserien Astetikstudier udspringer af forskningsprogrammet Moderne astetisk teori: Det astetiskes aktuelle funktionsforandring. Bogen indeholder bl.a. en artikel af Thierry de Duve. I 1996 var Thierry de Duve gasteprofessor ved projektet, og dette er den forste introduktion af ham pa dansk.
Aarhus Universitetsforlag, 1999.
"Jeff Wall : Peinture et photographie", in Valerie Picaude & Philippe Arbaizar, eds., La confusion des genres en photographie (Paris: Bibliotheque Nationale de France, 2001).

Chinese translation of Au nom de l'art. Pour une archeologie de la modernite. (Changsha: Hunan Art Press, 2001/10)
forthcoming translation: Nominalisme pictural: Marcel Duchamp, la peinture et la modernite

Chinese (simplified character)


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Thierry de Duve: Petites reflexions sur la crise de l'art et la realite du design
in Tr@verses numero 1

Johnathan Rajchman
Translator of Thierry de Duve's works

"Thierry de Duve Interviewed by Cay Sophie Rabinowitz," (Brussels, April 3, 2000) Les Infos du Paradis

TeilnehmerInnen: u.a. Benjamin Buchloh, Dietrich Diederichsen,Greil Marcus, Dieter Schwarz, John Miller, Anne Rorimer, Thierry de Duve, Jutta Held
37 Grazer Kunstverein, Juli 1990.

Valerie Favre (mit Thierry de Duve)
1995 ICI ET LA, Musee de l'Ardenne, Musee Rimbaud, Charleville Mezieres

Transnihilistic Propositions. (Discussion in De Rode Hoed, Amsterdam. Participants: Thierry de Duve, Gijs Frieling, Manfred Stumpf and Hent de Vries). ASCA Yearbook 1999

Thierry de Duve: "Come On, Humans, One More Stab At Becoming Post-Christians!"
Political Theologies Conference, June 27-29, 2001 in Felix Meritis, Amsterdam

Les Carnets de l'atelier Brancusi : L'Oiseau dans l'espace, exposition, Galerie de l'atelier Brancusi, 27 juin-30 septembre 2001
de Athena Tacha-Spea, Thierry de Duve, Sandra Miller, Marielle Tabart (Introduction)

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website host (left) with Theirry de Duve,
in front of Sylvie Eyberg's work
at Belgium Pavilion, Giardini
Venice Biennale di Venezia 2003