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Book Review: Ian Verstegen on Frederic Schwartz, Blind Spots after Ten Years

6 January 2015

Persistence of Vision – Blind Spots after Ten Years   

Review of:

Frederic Schwartz, Blind Spots: Critical Theory and the History of Art in Twentieth-Century Germany. Yale University Press, 2005. 300 pp.

Ian Verstegen 13/IV1

Abstract: Frederic Schwartz’s important book, Blind Spots, is revisited after ten years and an inadequate reception within art history. Its pioneering discussion is summarized and then, taking into account the passage of a decade and the emergence of new priorities in the intellectual landscape (and particularly the overall ‘return to Marx’), its major points are assessed. Arguing that its deconstruction of Frankfurt school figures risks conflating its project with a common sense view of history, the review urges a reconsideration of the category of “physiognomy” and the consequent oppositions that a caricature of it produces.

Keywords: Frankfurt School, Walter Benjamin; Ernst Bloch, Siegfried Kracauer, Hans Sedlmayr

Starting with this review, the journal will publish book reviews as they become available and will consolidate those reviews in the subsequent December issues of the journal

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