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Conceptualism and the political referent in contemporary art

This book examines the impact of Civil Rights, Black Power, the student, feminist and sexual-liberty movements on conceptualism and its legacies in the United States between the late 1960s and the 1990s. It focuses on the turn to political reference in practices originally concerned with abstract ideas. The book traces key strategies in contemporary art to the reciprocal influences of conceptualism and identity politics. The central concept is a reversal of the qualitative assessment made by artist and theorist Joseph Kosuth in 1969. The book overviews the 1960s-1970s shift from disciplinary-based Conceptual Art to an interdisciplinary conceptualism, crediting the influence of contemporaneous politics dominated by identity and issue-based politics. It offers a survey of Adrian Piper's early work, her analytic conceptual investigations, and her transition to a synthetic mode of working with explicit political reference. The book explores how Conceptual Art is political art, analysing several works by synthetic proposition artists. It then surveys several key 1980s events and exhibitions before taking in depth the 1993 Whitney Biennial as its central case study for understanding the debates of the 1980s and the 1990s. Examining the ways in which Hans Haacke's work referenced political subject matter, simultaneously changing the conception of the processes and roles of art-making and art, the book argues against critics who regarded his work to be "about" politics. It also looks at the works of Charles Gaines, David Hammons, Renée Green, Mary Kelly, Martha Rosler, Silvia Kolbowski, Daniel Joseph Martinez, Lorna Simpson, and Andrea Fraser.

From Hans Haacke’s Systems Theory to Andrea Fraser’s feminist economies
Nizan Shaked

5 Institutional gender: from Hans Haacke’s Systems Theory to Andrea Fraser’s feminist economies The essence of Marx’s notion of commodity fetishism is the rendering of the social nature of capitalist production as invisible to the producers. Without this illusion, the division of society into two parts, state and market, public and private, would not be possible. (Ann E. Davis)1 A visitor to the 1984–85 exhibition “Difference: On Representation and Sexuality” at the New Museum in New York may have wondered what a conceptualist work concerned with the critique

in The synthetic proposition
Abstract only
Nizan Shaked

, language, visual systems of signification, the operation of cultural hierarchies, and the formulation of a political sense of being. These artists did not assume the existence of any inherent or essential identity, they instead established identity politics as a mode through which to consolidate political and aesthetic agency. The artists addressed in this book: Adrian Piper, Joseph Kosuth, David Hammons, Renée Green, Mary Kelly, Martha Rosler, Silvia Kolbowski, Daniel Joseph Martinez, Lorna Simpson, Andrea Fraser, Hans Haacke, and Charles Gaines, based their practices

in The synthetic proposition
Kuba Szreder

, paradoxically, tuned to → co-opt such rebellious impulses. Moreover, due to the competitive nature of artistic circulation and resulting atomisation of the projectariat, an organiser of any art strike has to cope with the influx of potential strike breakers, considering that the picket lines, due to the porous and distributed nature of apparatuses at play, are very easily crossed. In this context, it is interesting to quote another counterargument to Djordjević's initiative, formulated by Hans Haacke

in The ABC of the projectariat
Kuba Szreder

). Very sensibly, TJ Demos stresses collective rather than individual responsibility, which has to be built up gradually and with a focus on long-term action. Otherwise, it defaults to the consumer guilt of middle-class professionals and risks turning into a paradox of individual withdrawal, already signalled by Hans Haacke when he was asked to partake in an art strike in the early 1980s (more in the entry → A is for art strikes ). He refused because, as he argued, only politicised artists would partake – and they are already marginalised. The same rule of thumb

in The ABC of the projectariat
Abstract only
Sara Callahan

critique, editor Alexander Alberro outlined the historical trajectory of the practice from its inception in the late 1960s to its most recent iterations. 9 Alberro identified two stages of institutional critique as it changed over time. The early practitioners were concerned with critiquing the institution – particularly the art museum – in order to make it adhere better to its stated ideals. The strategies of this group of artists (represented by Hans Haacke, Mierle Laderman Ukeles and the Guerilla Girls, among others

in Art + Archive
Caroline Turner
Jen Webb

distinction between political art and non-political art, because every form of artistic practice either contributes to the reproduction of the given common sense – and in that sense is political – or contributes to the deconstruction or critique of it. Every form of art has a political dimension.60 This places a responsibility on artists who agree with Mouffe’s perspective. The artist Hans Haacke, for instance, said in conversation with Pierre Bourdieu that ‘in the practical world, the evacuation of the political is tantamount to inviting whoever wants to occupy the vacuum

in Art and human rights
Leah Modigliani

collective movement away from the use of photography as a ready-made or indexical imprint, which had been used with political purpose in the 1970s by artists like Hans Haacke and Martha Rosler, towards a renewed commodification of traditional forms of painting.17 Disturbed by this turn of events, critics revisited artists’ use of photomontage in the 1920s. Dada, Constructivism, and Productivism used photomontage in two ways; either as heterogeneous photographic fragments assembled into composite images that worked to create an aesthetic of shock or disruption in viewers

in Engendering an avant-garde
Marc James Léger

, including projects by Gulf Labor, Jeremy Deller, Tania Bruguera, Charles Gaines, Sergei Eisenstein, Steve Reich, Chris Marker, Hans Haacke, Thomas Hirschhorn, Isa Genzken, Marcel Broodthaers, Alexander Kluge, Nancy Holt, Robert Smithson, Adrian Piper, Coco Fusco, Marco Fusinato and Ousmane Sembène. Two of the participating avant-gardists, Harun Farocki and Chantal Akerman, have since passed away. One could mention as well the fact that the 2015 Creative Time Summit was held at the Biennale, August 11–13, with keynote presentations by Achille Mbembe, Antonio Negri, Amy

in Vanguardia
Andrew Patrizio

(London: Studio Vista, 1965), 38. 38 Ibid. 39 Ackerman, ‘Art and Evolution’, 36. 40 Ackerman, ‘Art and Evolution’, 32. Emphasis in original. 41 György Kepes, ed., The Nature and Art of Motion (London: Studio Vista, 1965), viii. 42 György Kepes, Arts of the Environment (New York: Braziller, 1972), 72. Also discussed in Demos 2016 and Luke Skrebowski ‘Recovering Hans Haacke’s Systems Art’, 2008. 43 Jack Burnham, ‘Systems Esthetics’, Artforum , September 1968: 1, http

in The ecological eye