Skip to Main Content

Michael Fried Lecture: Struth Channels Kant: The Technology Photographs01:04

Michael Fried, J. R. Herbert Boone Professor of Humanities Emeritus at Johns Hopkins University, is a poet, art critic, art historian, and literary critic/historian. His early art criticism, culminating in the 1967 essay “Art and Objecthood,” remains central to contemporary discussions of modern art. He is also the author of books on 18th and 19th century French painting from Chardin to Manet, on Thomas Eakins, on Adolph Menzel, on Caravaggio and a number of his followers, on recent photography and video, on Flaubert’s novels Madame Bovary and Salammbô – the list could go on. Later this spring a new book by him, What Was Literary Impressionism?, will be published by Harvard University Press. Starting nearly ten years ago, Thomas Struth has been making impressive photographs of technological installations of various kinds. The photographs are beautiful and challenging, offering a kind of privileged glimpse of devices and structures that typically are not available to be seen. In this lecture, Michael Fried offers a surprising reading of those photographs in relation to Immanuel Kant’s great text on aesthetics, The Critique of Judgment.