Teoría de la retaguardia / The Theory of the Rear-Guard
Non-fiction , 2018
Four decades ago, Peter Burger published The Theory of the Avant-Garde. It was a cult book focused on the two main tasks that art demanded at the time: to break its representation and to destroy the barrier that separated it from life. To fail in this double task would have had supposed, according to Burger, the defeat of the Avant-Guarde and maybe something worse: its impossibility.
Forty years later, The Theory of the Rear-Guard is and ironic manifest that has emerged from that failure, even though he does not waste his time mourning it or disguising it. Primarily because in the book it is understood that our times are not characterized by the distance between art and life, but by a tension between art and survival, which is the continuation of life by any means necessary.
In the discomfort that emerges from that survival, The Theory of the Rear-Guard talks about an art that leaves splinters in politics, iconography or literature; fields from which he comes back more and more battered every time to his usual Ithaca: the museum. Ever since that round trip, this austere and sharp book—in which Duchamp stumbles upon Lupe, the revolution upon the museum, Paul Virilio upon Joan Fontcuberta or Fukuyama upon Michael Jackson—wonders if contemporary art will ever end. Because if it were mortal, then it would be necessary to write its ending.
“Iván de la Nuez is one of the sharpest art critics that can be read today in Spanish.” El Confidencial
“We have to read Iván de la Nuez to convince ourselves that art critic can be an essay nicely thought-out and well-written.” Letras Libres
“Iván de la Nuez is a sniper that has spent twenty years publishing books that are milestones of an original and coherent exploration of the contemporary symbolic environment […], and he does that with a rigorous but accessible and fun writing style.” César Rendueles. Babelia, El País
“Iván de la Nuez transforms art criticism in the art of criticism.” Rafael Rojas