Hal Foster (art critic)  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Harold Foss "Hal" Foster (born August 13, 1955) is an American art critic and historian.

Foster's criticism focuses on the role of the avant-garde within postmodernism. In 1983, he edited The Anti-Aesthetic: Essays on Postmodern Culture, a seminal text in postmodernism.

In Recodings (1985), he promoted a vision of postmodernism that simultaneously engaged its avant-garde history and commented on contemporary society.

In The Return of the Real (1996), he proposed a model of historical recurrence of the avant-garde in which each cycle would improve upon the inevitable failures of previous cycles.

He views his roles as critic and historian of art as complementary rather than mutually opposed.

Foster has been critical of the field of visual culture, accusing it of "looseness". In a 1999 article in Social Text, Crimp rebutted Foster, criticizing his notion of the avant-garde and his treatment in The Return of the Real of sexual identity in Andy Warhol's work. Furthermore, this criticality spreads to both the practice and the field of design in his book Design and Crime (2002).

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