Donald Kuspit  

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"Beginning with Manet's Olympia, 1863 (for many the seminal modern picture) and jumping to Picasso's Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, 1907 (another "breakthough"), and then to the dolls that Hans Bellmer made in the 1930s and the somewhat different looking but equally perverse dolls that appear in Cindy Sherman's Untitled Film Stills, 1979 -- her later grotesquely dismembered dolls are explicitly Bellmeresque, especially when they are composites of fragments that don't add up to a complete body -- and throwing in Egon Schiele's nudes, Balthus's adolescent girls, Piero Manzoni's canned shit, and Gilbert and George's shit cookies (many other works can be mentioned), one realizes that many of the masterpieces of modern art depend on perversion to make their dramatic point." --"Perversion in Art" (2002) by Donald Kuspit

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Donald Kuspit (born March 26, 1935) is an American art critic, poet, and Distinguished Professor Emeritus of art history and philosophy at the State University of New York at Stony Brook and former professor of art history at the School of Visual Arts. Kuspit is one of America's most distinguished art critics. He was formerly the A. D. White Professor-at-Large at Cornell University (1991–1997). He received the Frank Jewett Mather Award for Distinction in Art Criticism in 1983 (given by the College Art Association). In 1983 he received an honorary doctorate in fine arts from Davidson College, in 1996 from the San Francisco Art Institute, and in 2007 from the New York Academy of Art. In 1997 the National Schools of Art and Design presented him with a citation for Distinguished Service to the Visual Arts. In 1998 he received an honorary doctorate of humane letters from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In 2000 he delivered the Getty Lectures at the University of Southern California. In 2005 he was the Robertson Fellow at the University of Glasgow. In 2008 he received the Tenth Annual Award for Excellence in the Arts from the Newington-Cropsey Foundation. In 2014 he was the first recipient of the Gabarron Foundation Award for Cultural Thought. He has received fellowships from the Ford Foundation, Fulbright Commission, National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, Guggenheim Foundation, and Asian Cultural Council, among other organizations. He has doctorates in philosophy (University of Frankfurt)and art history (University of Michigan), as well as degrees from Columbia University, Yale University, and Pennsylvania State University. He has also completed the course of study at the Psychoanalytic Institute of the New York University Medical Center.


Art criticism

  • The New Subjectivism: Art in the 1980s (1986)
  • The Inner Voice Visualized: Alfred DeCredico's Abstractions (1991)
  • The Cult of the Avant-Garde Artist (1992)
  • The Dialectic of Decadence (1993)
  • The Photography of Albert Renger-Patzsch (1993)
  • Signs of Psyche in Modern and Postmodern Art (1994)
  • Primordial Presences: The Sculpture of Karel Appel (1994)
  • Szczesny (1995)
  • Health and Happiness in Twentieth Century Avant-Garde Art (1996)
  • Idiosyncratic Identities: Artists at the End of the Avant-Garde (1996)
  • Chihuly (1997)
  • Jamali (artist) (1997)
  • Joseph Raffael (1998)
  • Daniel Brush (1998)
  • Hans Hartung (1998)
  • The Rebirth of Painting in the Late 20th Century (2000)
  • Psychostrategies of Avant Garde Art (2000)
  • Redeeming Art: Critical Reveries (2000)
  • Don Eddy (2002)
  • Perversion in Art (2002)
  • Hunt Slonem (2002)
  • Hans Breder (2002)
  • Steven Tobin (2003)
  • April Gornik (2004)
  • The End of Art (2004)
  • F. Scott Hess (2006)
  • New Old Masters (2007)
  • William Conger (2008)
  • Mia Brownell (2010)
  • Leigh Rivers Aerial Perspectives (2012)
  • Szczesny: Neue Wilden works from the 80s (2012)


  • Self-Refraction (1983)
  • Apocalypse with Jewels in the Distance (2000)
  • On the Gathering Emptiness (2004)

Further reading

  • Kuspit, Donald (2010). Psychodrama: Modern Art as Group Therapy. London: Ziggurat. Template:ISBN. A collection of essays.


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