Editor-in-Chief Noah Charney features "Q&A with Thierry Lenain" in the Spring/Summer issue of The Journal of Art Crime.
Thierry Lenain is a Belgian professor of art theory at Université Libre de Bruxelles. He is the author of Monkey Painting (Reaktion, 1997) which, as the title suggests, is about what happens when monkeys are given painting materials, and the recent Art Forgery: the History of a Modern Obsession (Reaktion, 2011). We chatted with Lenain, who also has an academic article published in this issue.Noah Charney: What led you to write Art Forgery, when your previous research has been on other topics?
Thierry Lenain: There is indeed a link with my previous topics. If we leave out a book based on a PhD dissertation, pertaining to the question of play in Nietzsche’s philosophy, those topics all dealt with things whose inclusion in, or exclusion from, the category of artworks is problematic and an object of controversy. Such was, typically, the case of monkey painting. To most, the results of the graphic or painting plays of non-human primates have strictly nothing to do with art: only a misleading resemblance with action-painting could prompt someone to think otherwise, they say. But to others, those plays should indeed be regarded as reflecting the very pre-human roots of art and, in that measure, should certainly not be excluded from the category of art (this category rather must be extended so as to accommodate “animal art”).You may read the rest of this interview in The Journal of Art Crime by subscribing through ARCA's website.