Caravaggio vs. David Hockney? (was Re: Butler)

Doug Henwood dhenwood at
Mon Feb 22 05:53:12 PST 1999

[This bounced because the attached JPEG of Caravaggio was too big. Anyone who wants the image, I'll be happy to forward it.]

Yes I'd like it.

Yoshie writes:

>>with an invocation to compare Caravaggio and David Hockney.
>>Chuck, I can't see why this comparison would prove or disprove the claim
>>that Butler and Foucault have had effects on conceptions of sexuality.
>>You want to claim they have had *less* effect than other
>>things/ideas/people I think, but why? And who, exactly -- Hegel?
>I didn't reply to Chuck's post because his intent was unclear to me.
>Reading it again, I suppose he is giving us a familiar narrative of decline
>from modern to postmodern. If so, such an exercise has been already done,
>with regard to Van Gogh's and Andy Warhol's shoes, for instance, so I don't
>see any need to reproduce it. (This sort of narrative always reminds me of
>Oswald Spengler's _The Decline of the West_.)

Yes. And I didn't even believe Jameson (though I have every respect for Chuck).

>More specifically, Chuck seems to suggest the following (incomplete)
>Caravaggio = __________ (fill in the blank)
>David Hockney = Foucault

Well Caravaggio would be a pre-Foucault abstractionI guess. Am I wrong Chuck?

>BTW, what of Foucault's own taste? I imagine Foucault would have preferred
>a Caravaggio to a Hockney as a cover picture of one of his books. For
>instance, "Flagellazione." (Take a look at the JPEG attachment.)

Of course he would. I don't know that that would be a problem for Chuck using Caravaggio as an argument against Foucault. It's just that I can't see what the argument was.

>An aside to Chuck: Read, for instance, Richard Dyer on homophobia in Film

But is that going to help? Noir is not painting. Maybe, I'm hoping Chuck will explain his point further.


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