David Hickey (born circa 1939) is an American art and cultural critic. He has written for many American publications including Rolling Stone, Art News, Art in America, Artforum, Harper’s Magazine, and Vanity Fair. He is currently Professor of English at the University of Nevada Las Vegas and Distinguished Professor of Criticism for the MFA Program in the Department of Art & Art History at the University of New Mexico.
John Rajchman (born June 25, 1946) is a philosopher working in the areas of art history, architecture, and continental philosophy. John Rajchman is an Adjunct Professor and Director of Modern Art M.A. Programs in the Department of Art History and Archaeology at Columbia University. He has previously taught at Princeton University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Collège International de Philosophie in Paris, and The Cooper Union, among others. He is a Contributing Editor for Artforum and is on the board of Critical Space. John Rajchman received a B.A., from Yale University and Ph.D., from Columbia University.
“My challenge to both John Rajchman and David Hickey:
Dave Hickey, in the 1990’s, stated “nothing new has happened for 30 years.” I don’t agree. I feel, Mr. Hickey has to redeem himself. He has to reevaluate that statement. He says that nothing new has happened during my lifetime. That made me loose interest in investigating what he was saying. In fact, I don’t think I read anything by him since that statement because I judged it all worthless. I need a different kind of attention. As a thinker and an artist, I need to be aroused, not be put to sleep. In a way, putting people to sleep is common now. They should be giving lectures to a group of cows. No kidding! Have you ever seen a cow look up? They don’t look up. They just act like “life is wonderful.”
John Rajchman I believe does have an insight in what I do as an artist. Yet, I also question some of what he writes. He stated that “The house (materiality of life) has not been designed yet”. The word ‘design’ in this context I find questionable. It implies that creation or birth is intentional and that there is a Creator behind it. That’s a very culturally correct phrase to say, yet in my mind, birth is unintentional in it’s purity. John Rajchman writes “the jurisprudence of the singular,” I say, “the laws of chance.”
My fundamental questions to people are, does infinity have to have a starting point? Are beginnings the opposite of infinity? Is everything made of two halves?
If you ask a scientist today why the solar system works the way it does, his response would probably be because it simply does. There is a word for the solar system in Icelandic which literally means “Circular Nonsense.”
This acceptance of nonsense or unexplained events around us is the basis of faith. Even though it is nonsense, we have to have faith in it, in order to enjoy it. Chaos and delirium are necessary, for we should accept them for what they are. They are simply things without an end product or result. My recent sculpture, Plus and Minus Zero, represents the eternal synthesis of the infinite past with the infinite future. It’s the strangest unity in the universe. It’s also hard to distinguish between a Creator/Super Author and the actual creation or product. It’s a synthesis of contrast.
Only eternity is autonomous and self sufficient, and only a birth implies an absolute critic. We need a new perspective, period.”
Dave Hickey’s response made April 24, 2012:
“I was wrong. I am writing a book called Pagan America to make up for it, so I’ll have to wait for redemption. Thanks.” David Hickey