Anthony Merino, Foucault for Dummies, Arts & Opinion. Arts, Culture, Analysis, Vol. 13, No. 3, 2014
Anthony Merino, renowned independent art critic, has published over 70 reviews. He is a ceramic artist and has lectured internationally on contemporary ceramics.
Michel Foucault wrote anti-historical histories. He is most noted for his histories of four social domains: mental illness, crime and punishment, health systems, and sexuality. With a few exceptions, he does not talk much about art. He wrote a short book on René Magritte’s “Ceci n’est pas une pipe,” French for “This is not a pipe,” and in The Order of Things, Foucault wrote on Diego Velázquez’s painting “Las Meninas.” Foucault has been called a lot of things: historian, structuralist, Marxist, linguist, colonialist, nihilist and sociologist. He wrote two books on art, but these were not central to his work. So, why read Foucault? His influence on contemporary thought and society is profound. His thought seeps through academic disciplines into popular culture. Intellectual paranoia permeates his writing. For Foucault the most insidious forms of domination are those guised as given. Foucault was also a serial inverter who constantly switched cause and effect. Foucault’s writings say nothing about making a ceramic pot. The process of making a pot can however, illuminate many of the more difficult theories Foucault promoted.