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The Conspiracy of Art Paperback – August 19, 2005

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 232 pages
  • Publisher: Semiotext(e) (August 19, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1584350288
  • ISBN-13: 978-1584350286
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6.1 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #399,734 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"[Baudrillard] proves himself to be as much of a thoughtful iconoclast as ever." Canadian Art

About the Author

Jean Baudrillard (1929--2007) was a philosopher, sociologist, cultural critic, and theorist of postmodernity who challenged all existing theories of contemporary society with humor and precision. An outsider in the French intellectual establishment, he was internationally renowned as a twenty-first century visionary, reporter, and provocateur.

Sylvère Lotringer is Jean Baudrillard Chair at the European Graduate School, Switzerland, and Professor Emeritus of French literature and philosophy at Columbia University.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Steward Willons TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 5, 2006
Format: Paperback
This is a fascinating collection of some of Baudrillard's most polemical writings on art. He freely admits in one of the interviews within that he is, by no means, an art expert. He doesn't appreciate it and he doesn't necessarily *like* it. He does respect traditional/classical art's beauty and importance. This positions him in an excellent place to offer remarkably disinterested observations. He's not partial to any one movement, any one school, or any one artist (with the possible exception of Andy Warhol) and he pulls no punches in his critique of the meaninglessness of contemporary art.

It is important to note that Baudrillard is NOT an art hater. From his interviews and from other writings, I get the impression that art is simply "not his thing". I believe this is a positive factor because he isn't required to tip-toe around issues for fear of being rejected by the art community, a community he is happy to avoid altogether.

As a student of contemporary art, and as a contemporary artist myself, I don't always agree with Baudrillard, at least to the extent that he goes. In his essay, "The Conspiracy of Art", he tends to make sweeping generalizations. Such is the format of his polemic - a brief essay. Had he developed these ideas in a longer format, I'm sure some points would be smoothed by further explanation and clarification. Fortunately, this book includes and number of interviews where he explains some of his points and gets a chance to defend himself against his many critics.

I believe this text would be most useful to any student of contemporary art. Baudrillard does raise many important issues, even if his conclusions are questionable. Even if you hate every word, it's at least an amusing read. I've always enjoyed his style. It's very conversational - a welcome relief from reading the prolix, convoluted texts of Deleuze and Lacan. He is clear, cogent, and concise.
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18 of 23 people found the following review helpful By S. Koropeckyj on January 1, 2008
Format: Paperback
I always thought that Baudrillard's ideas were interesting. I always thought that they were an interesting way to look at certain issues, a new lens of sorts. However, upon reading this book, I finally understood Baudrillard and as a result found his theory to be inane. Baudrillard makes a lot of sense before you really read the evidence (oh, wait he doesn't use evidence) or rather analysis he provides.

The first problem that I found with the book is its utter lack of defining terms. If a reader has not read Simulations and Simulacra, then this book would be completely unaccessible. However, Baudrillard just throws terms around, seemingly knowing the definition himself, but withholding it from the reader. Words like 'event' come to mind. Actually 'null' is also strangely ambiguous in this book. The 1970s seemed to pass over Baudrillard and this was written as though post-structuralism never happened (was that an event). So what does this come down to? A lot of Baudrillard's criticism is then nothing more than a linguistic problem... He says that a certain thing happens as a result of art, but then that is just a word, an undefined floating signifier that leaves me, and probably will leave you, uncertain as to what is the worth of anything written.

Another gripe that I have is the sequence of the articles and interviews. (Actually I think many of the interviews could have been left out entirely, since many interviews were nothing more than the interviewers massaging Baudrillard's late-inflated ego.) Some of the essays make absolutely no sense until later essays are read. It seems as though they were thrown together randomly or perhaps intentionally in the most incomprehensible way possible.

At the end of the day, I thought Baudrillard was cool.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By B. Figares on January 9, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I love reading Baudrillard, he always puts me in a defiant mood. If you can somewhat relate to his work, this book won't disappoint you.

Disclaimer: i'm a 'casual reader' of philosophy, i don't appreciate long treatises very much, partly because i find it very hard to follow textbooks on this subjects (philosophy and psychology) and partly because i really don't care that much to follow through the treatises at all. If you feel this describes your reading habits, then all the better, journey onward!
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Bruce P. Barten on December 21, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Having a financial crisis is merely a crack in time compared to the way money dominates what happens in a society which has exhausted other motivations. I find some support in an interview printed in The Conspiracy of Art (2005) where Jean Baudrillard is quoted as saying:

Money is obscene,
but it's not all the financial
and banking scandals that bug me most.
. . . What I find most degrading really
are discourses.
The discourses of justification,
of repentance.
The people who use these kinds
of arguments are completely dishonorable.
For instance they said some really stupid
things about what happened to the old folks,
the deaths, the heat wave.
In short, they alleged that people today
are living too long.
The latest poll, meticulously orchestrated,
topped it all. They found that a vast proportion
of the elderly who died were mentally diminished.
I found that truly disgraceful.
Not only did they die because they lived too long,
but they were declared mentally incompetent as well.
So they weren't really human.
People who say those things should be shot.
What you get to read in the papers today
makes your blood boil. (pp. 81-81).

Fans of the movie Bowling for Columbine have already concluded that the main purpose of the media is to make blood boil so the leaders have the opportunity to keep building nuclear submarines. Spelling it out so it is all so clear can make culture seem like a high horse eating its way through hair.
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