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Radical Coherency

Selected Essays on Art and Literature, 1966 to 2005

“We got to talking”—so David Antin begins the introduction to Radical Coherency, embarking on the pursuit that has marked much of his breathless, brilliantly conversational work. For the past forty years, whether spoken under the guise of performance artist or poet, cultural explorer or literary critic, Antin’s innovative observations have helped us to better understand everything from Pop to Postmodernism. 

Intimately wedded to the worlds of conceptual art and poetics, Radical Coherency collects Antin’s influential critical essays and spontaneous, performed lectures (or “talk pieces”) for the very first time, capturing one of the most distinctive perspectives in contemporary literature. The essays presented here range from the first serious assessment of Andy Warhol published in a major art journal, as well as Antin’s provocative take on Clement Greenberg’s theory of Modernism, to frontline interventions in present debates on poetics and fugitive pieces from the ’60s and ’70s that still sparkle today—and represent a gold mine for art historians of the period. From John Cage to Allan Kaprow, Mark Rothko to Ludwig Wittgenstein, Antin takes the reader on an idiosyncratic, personal journey through twentieth-century culture with his trademark antiformalist panache—one thatwill be welcomed by any fan of this consummate trailblazer.

384 pages | 6 x 9 | © 2011

Art: Art Criticism, Art--General Studies

Literature and Literary Criticism: General Criticism and Critical Theory

Table of Contents



Art Essays

Warhol: The Silver Tenement

Alex Katz and the Tactics of Representation

Jean Tinguely’s New Machine

Lead Kindly Blight

“It Reaches a Desert in which Nothing Can Be Perceived but Feeling”

Art and the Corporations

Video, the Distinctive Features of the Medium

Have Mind, Will Travel

the existential allegory of the rothko chapel

Duchamp: The Meal and the Remainder

Allan at Work

Literary Essays

Modernism and Postmodernism: Approaching the Present in Modern American Poetry

Some Questions about Modernism

radical coherency

The Stranger at the Door

The Beggar and the King

“the death of the hired man”


Wittgenstein among the Poets

john cage uncaged is still cagey



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