Issues
Issue #09
With: Julieta Aranda, Brian Kuan Wood, Anton Vidokle, François Bucher, Luis Camnitzer, Jill Magid, Nina Möntmann, and Simon Sheikh
The aesthetics of political engagement has become common currency within artistic production and discourse, and the abundance of works and exhibitions now announcing themselves as politically charged are often criticized for their distance from actual social forces outside art. While institutional critique successfully identified certain parallels between these forces and the workings of art institutions, it seems that this has simply given way to a more nuanced (and however richer)...
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6 Essays October 2009
That is why this story from ancient Egypt is still capable after thousands of years of arousing astonishment and thoughtfulness. It resembles the seeds of grain which have lain for centuries in the chambers of the pyramids shut up air-tight and have retained their germinative power to this day. —Walter Benjamin, The Storyteller 1 Information isn’t memory, and it does not accumulate and store for memory’s sake. It works exclusively for its own profit, which depends on...
To read is to resuscitate ideas buried in paper. Each word is an epitaph. —Simón Rodríguez 1 I started learning to write and read at age six and received my first serious art education when I was 14. These periods mark two points in my biography at which my instincts for exploration were seriously curtailed. Instead of being guided in a search to name unnamed things, I was forced to learn the names of known things. These memories truly trouble me—but that’s not all....
Living in Amsterdam in the spring of 2004, I received a letter from a senior advisor to the Netherlands’ chief government architect. Enclosed was a job description, translated from Dutch. The Government Buildings Agency was hiring on behalf of the Algemene Inlichtingen- en Veiligheidsdienst, or the Dutch secret service. The Organization had doubled in size over recent years due to the new wave of global terrorism and was thus moving to a larger building. As a government building funded with...
The big social groups (consisting of classes, parts of classes, or institutions ... ) act with and/or against each other. From their interactions, strategies, successes, and defeats grow the qualities and “properties” of urban space. —Henri Lefèbvre (Under)Privileged Urban Spaces By the end of the 1980s, during the period in which Martha Rosler was realizing her three-part exhibition and action project If You Lived Here..., New York was frequently described as the...
Lucy Lippard’s famous essay on activist art should need no introduction or art historical contextualization; what’s more, “Trojan Horses: Activist Art and Power,” published in the seminal 1984 anthology Art After Modernism , represents but one entry point into a truly impressive body of work dedicated to the politics of art and representation from the 1960s up to today. 1 As such, the essay can be situated both in an ongoing debate—making it ripe for revisitation—and in the trajectory of...
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