THAP 2632 – Paz/Duchamp Reading Questions


We discussed Duchamp’s ‘Large Glass’ and ‘Étant donnés (Given: 1 The Waterfall, 2. The Illuminating Gas)’ in some detail this week, and also discussed Paz’s interpretation of the works.

Monday’s class  will involve you splitting into your assigned group and responding to one of the ‘reading questions’ from those provided below. See here:

Reading Questions – Paz’s Water Writes Always in Plural…

You will be assessed on this response.

Ample time will be given for group discussion.  Your group will provide a 5-10 minute response to the selected/allocated question.

All the best.

THAP 2632 – Reading, Paz on Duchamp (Water Writes Always in the Plural)

Hello 2nd Years,

Below is our next key text. It is by Octavio Paz and entitled “Water Writes Always in the Plural”, which explores Duchamp’s The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even and his later work Étant donnés (Given: 1 The Waterfall, 2. The Illuminating Gas).  I will provide an overview and introduction to Paz, the key text, Duchamp and the two works in our next class. It would be great if you could read by then:

Octavio Paz – ‘Water Writes Always in Plural’



THAP 2632 – Update


Last week week looked at Foucault’s interpretation of Magritte’s Ceci Nest pas Une Pipe. Various issues came up, one of which was the particular mode of interpretation Foucault employs in reading Magriite’s philosophical paintings, and the manner in which his interpretation mirrors or ‘comes to’ the work.

The discussion also centred around the ‘arbitrariness of the sign’ – that is, the manner in which words do not “refer” to things themselves. We looked at how Magritte (and Foucault, in his own way) were exploring this basic idea of Saussurean linguistics.  We then looked at Peter Greenaway’s Dear Phone as another example of this logic. To jog your memory:

Greenaway’s H is for House deals with similar terrain. I couldn’t find it at the time, but see here (only online version I could find). Note: streaming is a little slow:

A forum for further discussion of Foucault’s essay will be encouraged this week.

We will also explore other contexts that assign value and meaning to art.

Look forward to it.

THAP 3432 – Readings, Yve-Alain Bois – The Task of Mourning

Hi Third Years,

Please read the text below for class on Thursday:


It is by Yve-Alain Bois, and entitled “Painting: the Task of Mourning”. The essay is taken from his book of 1991, entitled “Painting as Model”. This text is central to our discussion over the next fortnight.

You might also like to read an interview between Bois, Andrew McNamara and Rex Butler. This may be useful in contextualising our discussion further. The interview can be found here:

An Interview with Yve-Alain Bois

A third text by Bois, and the key text of his book Painting as Model, can be found below. This is suggested reading at this point, and not a ‘set’ reading for Thursday. It is an essay that will be discussed in later weeks. See here:

Painting as Model

On Thursday we will begin to explore the first reading – namely, “Painting: The Task of Mourning”.

Very best.

THAP 3432 – Danto Reading Questions Take II

Hi All,

Last week a variety of things intervened in Assessment 1 – Italy, an Alfa Romea, the sea, Brigitte Bardot, Jack Palance, Fritz Lang, a Greek statue, betrayal, death, a boat, a revolver, the cinema, misunderstandings, a fool, a tragic love story, etc. A lot happened really. Time permitting we might talk about all that, but our main task is to move through the Danto Reading Questions.  You will break into groups, be allocated a question, have half an hour to develop a response, then present to class.

Here are the questions again for your convenience:



THAP 2632 – Reading – Foucault This Is Not a Pipe

Here are chapters 1-3 (very short chapters) from Michel Foucault’s This Is Not a Pipe – an unusual and playful interpretation of Rene Magrittes work, and a kind of homage to the artist.

We will introduce the text and open up discussion on Monday, and then explore in group work the following week. So a fortnight on this text, but please try to read for Monday’s class.

Michel Foucault This Is Not a Pipe Chapters 1-3

Actually, I think it may be possible to read the entire book here with Scribd, or download/print. See link:



If interested, here is a further discussion on Foucault and Magritte:

Foucault and Magritte


THAP 2632 – Sontag Against Interpretation Questions

Hi Second Years,

We have read Sontag’s Against Interpretation. See here again:


And by now you will have also read Sontag on Godard’s Vivre Sa Vie, which we also watched in class. See here again:


In our next class we will be exploring the above through a series of questions in group work. Don’t worry too much about time – you will have 40 minutes at least of class time to develop a response in your group before responding, and you should by now be familiar with the texts. Here are the questions:


Sontag Against Interpretation Questions

If you get time today or tomorrow morning you might also like to read a section from the article below. It is a slightly stuffy and outdated overview of Sontag’s ‘Against Interpretation’, found through pages 560-563 in the document below. It may provide a useful overview. NOTE: the rest of the article, outside of this section on Sontag, should be ignored. See here:

W.L.Hedges on Sontag (and others)



Hello 3rd years,

Three texts have been provided on Danto’s ‘end of art’ thesis, all of which you have no-doubt read by now. We also spent last week discussing various aspects of this idea.

This week you will break into reading groups, and respond to a set question on the theme and/or the texts. The questions can be found here:


Each group will be given 30-45 minutes to select a question and develop a response. This task makes up a (small) percentage of your final mark.

I look forward to it verily.