Delirium and Resistance: Activist Art and the Crisis of Capitalism ペーパーバック – 2017/4/20
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In this follow-up to his influential 2010 book, Dark Matter: Art and Politics in the Age of Enterprise Culture, Sholette engages in critical dialogue with artists’ collectives, counter-institutions, and activist groups to offer an insightful firsthand account of the relationship between politics and art in neoliberal society. Sholette lays out clear examples of art’s deep involvement in capitalism: the dizzying prices achieved by artists who pander to the financial elite, the proliferation of museums that contribute to global competition between cities in order to attract capital, and the strange relationship between art and rampant gentrification that restructures the urban landscape.
With a preface by noted author Lucy R. Lippard and an introduction by theorist Kim Charnley, Delirium and Resistance draws on over thirty years of critical debates and practices both in and beyond the art world to historicize and advocate for the art activist tradition that radically—and, at times, deliriously—entangles the visual arts with political struggles.
''Read this book and you will never see contemporary art the same way again. So much of what's wrong with the global economy is wrong with the establishment art world and Sholette has been examining this for a long time in everything he does as an art person. In the many art worlds that exist, we're happy and proud to be a part of his."--Guerrilla Girls
''Sholette is representative of a new artist type that emerged after Conceptualism in that his work as a critic, theorist, and curator is central to his practice as an artist. No-one else has come up with a category that rivals 'dark matter' as a hermeneutic for analysing the current political economy of art and the economic situation of artists, in all their variety. No-one else has quite the long-term commitment to collective practice or the record of publications on the theme. He is one of the most cogent artist-theorists currently working in the domain of social practice art.''--Andrew Hemingway, University College London
"Shifting between artistic practice, curating, writing, and activism, Sholette has been surfing the waves of activist art for more than three decades. His work is based on the multitude of lines drawn from the political art of the 20th century and expanding its realm as it reaches out to the transversal activisms of the 21st century. Delirium and Resistance is a manifesto documenting these developments in their broadest forms, from 1980s anti-gentrification efforts and 1990s tactical media practitioners, to the post-occupy-practices of our current circumstances." --Gerald Raunig, author of DIVIDUUM: Machinic Capitalism and Molecular Revolution, Part 1
"Versed in the violent vicissitudes of political economy, Sholette is certainly better equipped than most who write about art and politics to analyze how the constraints on contingency exerted by capital can generate inescapable contradictions."--Critical Inquiry
"Artist/activist Gregory Sholette introduces the term 'bare art' to denote capitalism's treatment of artworks as pure commodities. Stressing the importance of grassroots organizing, he examines how the current marketing system impacts art production and costs."--Art in America
"One of the most fascinating aspects of this book, then, is the number of questions it raises about what lies beneath the surface of the public sphere, and what it means to shine a light on previously obscured beliefs and practices...Delirium and Resistance suggests that one of the main challenges for activist artists is to find new ways to harness this power from below without letting it bubble up too conspicuously, in order to resist bare art and imagine new ways to confront the crises of the future."
--FIELD Journal of Socially-Engaged Art Criticism
"Delirium and Resistance also summarizes the experience of someone who has been on the barricades enough to relativize both the seemingly endlessness of pessimism and precipitation of euphoria. It is, ultimately, a book written by an artist who has dared to try out many of the ideas on art, power, society and transformation instead of simply enunciating them....His insight provides a rare mix of emergence and history, strategy and conscious planning, enthusiasm and patience, a conjunction highly appreciated in a moment of superabundance of theories and ideals of emancipative action."--Afterall
"Sholette reads the events of Occupy Wall Street as an archival lesson, marking a reactivation of collective political memory and initiating new secrets to liberate the future: 'something being written, call it a promissory note, an obligation to a future reader from a place already dislocated in time.' In this sense, what activists occupied in Zuccotti Park was not just space but time, shared with past and future resistance movements around the world."
"Sholette embraces the complex, creative and political opportunities accorded by collaborative practice, as radical reaction to the relentless focus on the 'artist as auteur' still pushed by countless art schools. By working collectively, artists can offer prefigurative models of real democracy."--Frieze
"No matter where you live today, Scholette's plea for a more engaged level of artistic intervention feels more urgent than ever."--We Make Money Not Art
Delirium and Resistance (henceforth D&R) is a book of essays Sholette wrote over about twenty years (from 1997 to 2016), but covering movements going back to the 1980s, with references to the 1960s. The book is divided into three sections: “Art World,” “Cities Without Souls,” and “Resistance”—respectively, these deal with art today as a supreme capitalist enterprise, the paradox of artists vs. gentrification in cities, and, finally, the efflorescence of social practice amid a bare art world. D&R builds on the author’s signature concept of artistic dark matter: the ninety-nine percent who support the art industry with tuition, fees, dues, purchases of art materials, and debt, and through their own unremunerated artistic efforts—all amounting to a “missing mass,” while a tiny number of artists and artworks meet with material success.
In making itself known through multitudes of extra-institutional activities, this dark matter ironically illuminates the fully financial phenomenon that is art today—a system of bare art, to use a term borrowed from Giorgio Agamben’s “bare life,” the reduction of life to mere subsistence devoid of agency. With bare art, art is stripped of its rhetorical high ground, its secrets about ineffability, and its charmed lifestyle. It materializes as pure capital. In Sholette’s eyes, we are currently witnessing a fermentation of dark matter activity, a critical moment in which dark matter is becoming visible, even chic, as museums and other art institutions scramble to embrace social practice of all stripes, from performance art to community advocacy and even commonplace activities like cooking.
So, resistance is endangered by the hallucinatory bounties of capitalism, but the bloated system might be reaching a tipping point. Sholette believes that it is, and, if anything is to be gained, we must engage with the efforts of the past, an archive of mostly un- or under-theorized activity, as a resource.
What makes the book significant is not only Sholette’s theoretical acumen, but also his authenticity. Like an emancipated Alice, his perspective draws from both within and without. As an activist and professor of art, Sholette has taken part in a number of key activist art groups since the 1980s, (PAD/D, REPOHistory, Gulf Labor Coalition, and, with Olga Kopenkina, the Ukrainian Imaginary Archive, IA). He witnessed first-hand the disruptions of the streets with Black Lives Matter and Occupy Wall Street, events that involved artists self-exiled from the art world. D&R’s essays were written at different moments in the past decades of activist art in “an attempt at formulating a broader thesis about art as resistance.” (151) That resistance, though atomized in thousands of particular contexts, relentlessly moves its aggregate mass towards liberation from anesthetizing aesthetics, and eventually, perhaps optimistically, to cracking the code of capitalism itself.