May 1, 2008 - Artforum - May 2008
May 1, 2008

May 2008

May 2008

In this issue of Artforum: May ’68. The sheer magnitude of the events that took place in Paris and around the world forty years ago this month remains striking, and indeed, those paroxysms of protest are often the stuff of nostalgia—and yet their true significance is perhaps still unclear when it comes to the shapes of aesthetic, social, and political narratives today. Seeking to take stock of our own moment, Artforum invited more than a dozen art historians, artists, and philosophers to investigate that seminal moment of rupture in historical counterpoint, beginning with critical theorist and Semiotext(e) founder Sylvère Lotringer speaking at length with Italian political philosopher Antonio Negri.

“In the end, when we think about it, May 1968 was not about exalting confrontations and struggle; that’s still its ‘modern’ aspect. Nineteen sixty-eight was something else completely—the pleasure of discovering a new humanity, a deep joy in ourselves and around us, of realizing that elements of expression, imagination, and life can exist together.” —Antonio Negri

Plus: Feminist scholar Ti-Grace Atkinson muses on politics and aesthetics; art historian Benjamin H. D. Buchloh considers the critical activities of Daniel Buren and BMPT; scholar Sally Shafto reflects on the Zanzibar group’s intermingling in film of leftist politics and cinematic dandyism; and architectural and urban theorist Tom McDonough rereads French sociologist Henri Lefebvre’s newly republished study of 1968,
The Explosion.

“Gradually, every mature artist and her/his work add up to a coherent theory about the world. Here is where I believe there is an analogy between the artist and the radical political theorist.” —Ti-Grace Atkinson

“It will be one of the questions for our decade to ponder why the spaces and practices of contestation that opened at the end of the’60s were—or so it seems now, at least—irredeemably hijacked by corporate clowns designing handbags.” —Benjamin H. D. Buchloh

And: Art historian and critic Tom Holert assesses the legacy of art and education after 1968; author Chris Kraus offers a short history of sexual mores and the underground newspaper Suck, published in Amsterdam from 1969 to 1974; artist Liam Gillick considers how art production today remains steeped in questions posed forty year ago; contributing editor Arthur C. Danto recounts his experiences during Columbia University’s student revolts in the spring of 1968; and art historian Paul Galvez and Cologne-based painter Michael Krebber visit the traveling retrospective of Gustave Courbet.

“I think Courbet truly understood dogs.” —Michael Krebber

In addition: Amy Taubin probes the multimedia practice of New York–based filmmaker and musician James Nares; Barry Schwabsky speaks with Ed Ruscha; P. Adams Sitney investigates loneliness and lyricism in the films of Peter Hutton; Bob Nickas weighs in on Philip Taaffe’s retrospective at the Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg; Chinese artist Qiu Zhijie lists his Top Ten; and Artforum looks ahead to the summer season with previews of fifty shows opening worldwide.

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