This introduction discusses Carl Einstein's literature, political militancy, and philosophy as well as his career in art criticism and art history. Einstein was an enigma not only to postwar academics but also to his own contemporaries. The reviews of Negro Sculpture and The Art of the 20th Century were equally numerous and uncomprehending. Some of Einstein's acquaintances provided him with a source of income; others gave him new ideas, a political home, or access to artists and collections. The contexts through which Einstein kept moving never grounded his texts. To the contrary, his perennial shifts from the one to the other worked to sustain their author's groundlessness. The rest of this introduction explores Einstein's politics as discourse, along with its foundation in writing and his claim that anarchism was a profoundly “constructive” endeavor. It also considers groundlessness as the structure of Einstein's writing. Finally, it provides an overview of the chapters in this book.
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