Reading Room catalogue

Whitechapel: Documents of Contemporary Art
Author
Title
Publisher
Year
Code
Networks
London: Whitechapel; Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press
2014
RDO021

The dawn of the electronic media age in the 1960s began a cultural shift from the modernist grid and its determination of projection and representation to the fluid structures and circuits of the network, presenting art with new challenges and possibilities. This anthology considers art at the center of network theory, from the 1960s to the present.

Artists have used the “space of flows” as a basis for creating utopian scenarios, absurd yet functional propositions or holistic planetary visions. Others have explored the economies of reciprocity and the ethics of generosity, in works that address changed conditions of codependence and new sites of social negotiation. The “infra-power” of the network has been a departure point for self-organized counterculture and the creation of new types of agency. And a “poetics of connectivity” runs through a diverse range of work that addresses the social and material complexity of networks through physical structures and ambient installation, the mapping of the Internet, or the development of robots and software that take on the functions of artist or curator.

Artists surveyed: Joseph Beuys, Ursula Biemann, Heath Bunting, Critical Art Ensemble, Fernand Deligny, Peter Fend, Gego, Jobim Jochimsen, Koncern, Christine Kozlov, Pia Lindman, Mark Lombardi, Diana McCarty, Marta Minujín, Aleksandra Mir, Tanja Ostojic, Ola Pehrson, Walid Raad, Artüras Raila, Hito Steyerl, Tomaso Tozzi, Suzanne Treister, Ultra Red, Wolf Vostell, Stephen Willats

Writers include: Jane Bennett, Hakim Bey, Luc Boltanski, Manuel Castells, Ève Chiapello, Guy Debord, Umberto Eco, Okwui Enwezor, Michael Hardt, Bruno Latour, Marshall McLuhan, Marcel Mauss, Reza Negarestani, Antonio Negri, Sadie Plant, Lane Relyea, Craig Saper, Saskia Sassen, Pit Schultz, Steven Shaviro, Tiziana Terranova, Paolo Virno

Colour
London: Whitechapel; Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press
2008
RDO001

Whether it is scooped up off the palette, deployed as propaganda, or opens the doors of perception, color is central to art not only as an element but as an idea. This unique anthology reflects on the aesthetic, cultural, and philosophical meaning of color through the writings of artists and critics, placed within the broader context of anthropology, film, philosophy, literature, and science. Those who loathe color have had as much to say as those who love it. This chronology of writings from Baudelaire to Baudrillard traces how artists have affirmed color as a space of pure sensation, embraced it as a tool of revolution or denounced it as decorative and even decadent. It establishes color as a central theme in the story of modern and contemporary art and provides a fascinating handbook to the definitions and debates around its history, meaning, and use.

Artists surveyed include: Joseph Albers, Mel Bochner, Daniel Buren, Carlos Cruz-Diez, Robert Delaunay, Sonia Delaunay, Jimmie Durham, Helen Frankenthaler, Paul Gauguin, Donald Judd, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Yves Klein, Kazimir Malevich, Piero Manzoni, Henri Matisse, Henri Michaux, Beatriz Milhazes, Piet Mondrian, Barnett Newman, Kenneth Noland, Hélio Oiticica, Paul Signac, Ad Reinhardt, Gerhard Richter, Aleksandr Rodchenko, Bridget Riley, Mark Rothko, Yinka Shonibare, Jessica Stockholder, Theo van Doesburg, Vincent van Gogh, Victor Vasarely, Rachel Whiteread

Writers include:Theodor Adorno, Roland Barthes, Charles Baudelaire, Jean Baudrillard, Walter Benjamin, Charles Blanc, Jacques Derrida, Thierry de Duve, Umberto Eco, Victoria Finlay, Joris-Karl Huysmans, Johannes Itten, Julia Kristeva, Claude Lévi-Strauss, Jacqueline Lichtenstein, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, John Ruskin, Adrian Stokes, Ludwig Wittgenstein

Beauty.
London, Whitechapel; Cambridge, Massachusetts, The MIT Press.
2009
RDO010

Artists survyed include: Vito Acconci, Jake and Dinos Chapman, Gustave Courbet, Marcel Duchamp, Marlene Dumas, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Adolph Gottlieb, Hans Hofmann, Gary Hume, Asger Jorn, Alex Katz, Willem de Kooning, Joseph Kosuth, Paul McCarthy, Édouard Manet, Robert Mapplethorpe, Agnes Martin, Robert Morris, Barnett Newman, Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock, Gerhard Richter, Mark Rothko, Robert Smithson, Nancy Spero, Frank Stella, Clyfford Still, Andy Warhol
Writers include:Theodor Adorno, Alexander Alberro, Rasheed Araeen, Art & Language, Benjamin H. D. Buchloh, T. J. Clark, Mark Cousins, Arthur C. Danto, Jacques Derrida, Thierry de Duve, Fredric Jameson, Christoph Grunenberg, Dave Hickey, Suzanne Perling Hudson, Caroline A. Jones, John Roberts, Elaine Scarry, Wendy Steiner, Paul Wood

Ethics
London: Whitechapel; Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press
2015
RDO023

The boundary of a contemporary art object or project is no longer something that exists only in physical space; it also exists in social, political, and ethical space. Art has opened up to transnational networks of producers and audiences, migrating into the sphere of social and distributive systems, whether in the form of “relational aesthetics” or other critical reinventions of practice. Art has thus become increasingly implicated in questions of ethics.

In this volume, artist and writer Walead Beshty evaluates the relation of ethics to aesthetics, and demonstrates how this encounter has become central to the contested space of much recent art. He brings together theoretical foundations for an ethics of aesthetics; appraisals of art that engages with ethical issues; statements and examples of methodologies adopted by a diverse range of artists; and examinations of artworks that question the ethical conditions in which contemporary art is produced and experienced.

Artists surveyed: Tania Bruguera, Christoph Büchel, Paul Chan, Lygia Clark, Danh Vo, Dexter Sinister, Andrea Fraser, Liam Gillick, David Hammons, Thomas Hirschhorn, Khaled Hourani, Sharon Lockhart, Kerry James Marshall, Renzo Martens, Boris Mikhailov, Hélio Oiticica, Seth Price, Walid Raad, Martha Rosler, Tino Sehgal, Allan Sekula, Santiago Sierra, Rirkrit Tiravanija

Writers include: Giorgio Agamben, Ariella Azoulay, Alain Badiou, Roland Barthes, David Beech, Claire Bishop, Nicolas Bourriaud, Simon Critchley, T.J. Demos, Maurizio Lazzarato, Jean-François Lyotard, Jacques Rancière, Jan Verwoert

Participation
London: Whitechapel; Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press
2006
RDO002

The desire to move viewers out of the role of passive observers and into the role of producers is one of the hallmarks of twentieth-century art. This tendency can be found in practices and projects ranging from El Lissitzky’s exhibition designs to Allan Kaprow’s happenings, from minimalist objects to installation art. More recently, this kind of participatory art has gone so far as to encourage and produce new social relationships. Guy Debord’s celebrated argument that capitalism fragments the social bond has become the premise for much relational art seeking to challenge and provide alternatives to the discontents of contemporary life. This publication collects texts that place this artistic development in historical and theoretical context.

Participation begins with writings that provide a theoretical framework for relational art, with essays by Umberto Eco, Bertolt Brecht, Roland Barthes, Peter Bürger, Jen-Luc Nancy, Edoaurd Glissant, and Félix Guattari, as well as the first translation into English of Jacques Rancière’s influential “Problems and Transformations in Critical Art.” The book also includes central writings by such artists as Lygia Clark and Hélio Oiticica, Joseph Beuys, Augusto Boal, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Thomas Hirschhorn, and Rirkrit Tiravanija. And it features recent critical and curatorial debates, with discussions by Lars Bang Larsen, Nicolas Bourriaud, Hal Foster, and Hans-Ulrich Obrist.

The Cinematic
London: Whitechapel; Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press
2007
RDO003

The cinematic has been a springboard for the work of many influential artists, including Victor Burgin, Philip-Lorca diCorcia, Stan Douglas, Nan Goldin, Douglas Gordon, Cindy Sherman, and Jeff Wall, among others. Much recent cinema, meanwhile, is rich with references to contemporary photography. Video art has taken a photographic turn into pensive slowness; photography now has at its disposal the budgets and scale of cinema. This addition to Whitechapel’s Documents of Contemporary Art series surveys the rich history of creative interaction between the moving and the still photograph, tracing their ever-changing relationship since early modernism.

Still photography—cinema’s ghostly parent—was eclipsed by the medium of film, but also set free. The rise of cinema obliged photography to make a virtue of its own stillness. Film, on the other hand, envied the simplicity, the lightness, and the precision of photography. Russian Constructivist filmmakers considered avant-garde cinema as a sequence of graphic “shots”; their Bauhaus, Constructivist and Futurist photographer contemporaries assembled photographs into a form of cinema on the page. In response to the rise of popular cinema, Henri Cartier-Bresson exalted the “decisive moment” of the still photograph. In the 1950s, reportage photography began to explore the possibility of snatching filmic fragments. Since the 1960s, conceptual and postconceptual artists have explored the narrative enigmas of the found film still. The Cinematic assembles key writings by artists and theorists from the 1920s on—including László Moholy-Nagy, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Victor Burgin, Jeff Wall, and Catherine David—documenting the photography-film dialogue that has enriched both media.

Design and Art
London: Whitechapel; Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press
2007
RDO004

This reader in Whitechapel’s Documents of Contemporary Art series investigates the interchange between art and design. Since the the Pop and Minimalist eras—as the work of artists ranging from Andy Warhol to Dan Graham demonstrates—the traditional boundaries between art and architectural, graphic, and product design have dissolved in critically significant ways. Design and Art traces the rise of the “design-art” phenomenon through the writings of critics and practitioners active in both fields.The texts include writings by Paul Rand, Hal Foster, Miwon Kwon, and others that set the parameters of the debate; utopian visions, including those of architect Peter Cook and writer Douglas Coupland; project descriptions by artists (among them Tobias Rehberger and Jorge Pardo) juxtaposed with theoretical writings; surveys of group practices by such collectives as N55 and Superflex; and views of the artist as mediator—a role assumed in the past to be the province of the designer—as seen in work by Frederick Kiesler, Ed Ruscha, and others. Finally, a book that doesn’t privilege either the art world or the design world but puts them in dialogue with each other.

Contributors: David Bourdon, Peter Cook/Archigram, Douglas Coupland, Kees Dorst, Charles Eames, Experimental Jetset, Vilém Flusser, Hal Foster, Liam Gillick, Dan Graham, Clement Greenberg, Richard Hamilton, Donald Judd, Frederick Kiesler, Miwon Kwon, Maria Lind, M/M, N55, George Nelson, Lucy Orta, Jorge Pardo, Norman Potter, Rick Poynor, Paul Rand, Tobias Rehberger, Ed Ruscha, Joe Scanlan, Mary Anne Staniszewski, Superflex, Manfredo Tafuri, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Paul Virilio, Joep van Lieshout, Andy Warhol, Benjamin Weil, Mark Wigley, Andrea Zittel

Situation
London: Whitechapel; Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press
2009
RDO014

Situation—a unique set of conditions produced in both space and time and ranging across material, social, political, and economic relations—has become a key concept in twenty-first-century art. Rooted in artistic practices of the 1960s and 1970s, the idea of situation has evolved and transcended these in the current context of globalization. This anthology offers key writings on areas of art practice and theory related to situation, including notions of the site specific, the artist as ethnographer or fieldworker, the relation between action and public space, the meaning of place and locality, and the crucial role of the curator in recent situation specific art.

In North America and Europe, the site-specific is often viewed in terms of resistance to art’s commoditization, while elsewhere situation-specific practices have defied institutions of authority. The contributors discuss these recent tendencies in the context of proliferating international biennial exhibitions, curatorial place-bound projects, and strategies by which artists increasingly unsettle the definition and legitimation of situation-based art.

Artists SurveyedVito Acconci, Allora & Calzadilla, Francis Alÿs, Carl Andre, Artist Placement Group, Michael Asher, Amy Balkin, Ursula Biemann, Bik Van der Pol, Daniel Buren, Victor Burgin, Janet Cardiff, Center for Land Use Interpretation, Adam Chodzko, Collective Actions, Tacita Dean, Elmgreen & Dragset, Andrea Fraser, Hamish Fulton, Dan Graham, Liam Gillick, Renée Green, Group Material, Douglas Huebler, Bethan Huws, Pierre Huyghe, Robert Irwin, Emily Jacir, Ilya Kabakov, Leopold Kessler, Július Koller, Langlands & Bell, Ligna, Richard Long, Gordon Matta-Clark, Graeme Miller, Jonathan Monk, Robert Morris, Gabriel Orozco, Walid Ra’ad, Raqs Media Collective, Paul Rooney, Martha Rosler, Allen Ruppersberg, Richard Serra, Situationist International, Tony Smith, Robert Smithson, Vivan Sundaram, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Lawrence Weiner, Rachel Whiteread, Krzysztof Wodiczko, Qiu Zhijie

Writers: Arjun Appaduri, Marc Augé, Wim Beeren, Josephine Berry Slater, Daniel Birnbaum, Ava Bromberg, Susan Buck-Morss, Michel de Certeau, Douglas Crimp, Gilles Deleuze, T. J. Demos, Rosalyn Deutsche, Thierry de Duve, Charles Esche, Graeme Evans, Patricia Falguières, Marina Fokidis, Hal Foster, Hou Hanrou, Brian Holmes, Mary Jane Jacob, Vasif Kortun, Miwon Kwon, Lu Jie, Doreen Massey, James Meyer, Ivo Mesquita, Brian O’Doherty, Craig Owens, Irit Rogoff, Peter Weibel

Appropriation
London: Whitechapel; Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press
2009
RDO009

Scavenging, replicating, or remixing, many influential artists today reinvent a legacy of “stealing” images and forms from other makers. Among the diverse, often contestatory strategies included under the heading “appropriation” are the readymade, détournement, pastiche, rephotography, recombination, simulation and parody. Although appropropriation is often associated with the 1980s practice of such artists as Peter Halley, Sherrie Levine, Richard Prince, and Cindy Sherman, as well as the critical discourse of postmodernism and the simulacral theory of Jean Baudrillard, appropriation’s significance for art is not limited by that cultural and political moment. In an expanded art-historical frame, this book recontextualizes avant-garde photomontage, the Duchampian readymade, and the Pop image among such alternative precursors as Francis Picabia, Bertolt Brecht, Guy Debord, Akasegawa Genpei, Dan Graham, Cildo Meireles, and Martha Rosler. In the recent work of many artists, including Mike Kelley, Glenn Ligon, Pierre Huyghe, and Aleksandra Mir, among others, appropriation is central to their critique of the contemporary world and vision for alternative futures

Artists surveyed: Akasegawa Genpei, Santiago Álvarez, Art Workers Coalition, Ross Bleckner, Marcel Broodthaers, Victor Burgin, Maurizio Cattelan, Hans-Peter Feldmann, Douglas Gordon, Johan Grimonprez, Peter Halley, Hank Herron, Pierre Huyghe, Mike Kelley, Idris Khan, Barbara Kruger, Sherrie Levine, Glenn Ligon, Steve McQueen, Alexandra Mir, Keith Piper, Richard Prince, Jorma Puranen, Cindy Sherman, John Stezaker, Retort, Martha Rosler, Philip Taaffe.

Writers include: Malek Alloula, Jean Baudrillard, Walter Benjamin, Nicolas Bourriaud, Benjamin H. D. Buchloh, Johanna Burton, Douglas Crimp, Thomas Crow, Guy Debord, Georges Didi-Huberman, Marcel Duchamp, Okwui Enwezor, Jean-Luc Godard, Isabelle Graw, Boris Groys, Raoul Hausmann, Sven Lütticken, Cildo Meireles, Kobena Mercer, Slobodan Mijuskovic, Laura Mulvey, Jo Spence, Elisabeth Sussman, Lisa Tickner, Reiko Tomii, Andy Warhol.

Memory
London: Whitechapel; Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press
2012
RDO013

This anthology investigates the turn in art not only towards archives and histories, the relics of modernities past, but toward the phenomena, in themselves, of “haunting” and the activation of memory. It looks at a wide array of artistic relationships to memory association, repetition and reappearance, as well as forms of “active” forgetting. Its discussions encompass artworks from the late 1940s onward, ranging from reperformances such as Marina Abramović’s Seven Easy Pieces (embodied resurrections of decades-removed performance pieces by her contemporaries) to the inanimate trace of “memory” Robert Morris assigns to his free-form felt pieces, which “forget” in their present configurations their previous slides and falls.

Contextualizing memory’s role in visual theory and aesthetic politics—from Marcel Proust’s optics to Bernard Stiegler’s analysis of memory’s “industrialization”—this collection also surveys the diversity of situations and registers in which contemporary artists explore memory. Art that engages with memory embodied in material and spatial conditions is examined beside works that reflect upon memory’s effects through time, and yet others that enlist the agency of remembrance or forgetting to work through aspects of the numerous pasts by which the present is always haunted.

Time
London: Whitechapel; Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press
2013
RDO016

What does “contemporary” actually mean? This is among the fundamental questions about the nature and politics of time that philosophers, artists and more recently curators have investigated over the past two decades. If clock time—a linear measurement that can be unified, followed and owned—is largely the invention of capitalist modernity and binds us to its strictures, how can we extricate ourselves and discover alternative possibilities of experiencing time?

Recent art has explored such diverse registers of temporality as wasting and waiting, regression and repetition, déjà vu and seriality, unrealized possibility and idleness, non-consummation and counter-productivity, the belated and the premature, the disjointed and the out-of-sync—all of which go against sequentialist time and index slips in chronological experience. While such theorists as Giorgio Agamben and Georges Didi-Huberman have proposed “anachronistic” or “heterochronic” readings of history, artists have opened up the field of time to the extent that the very notion of the contemporary is brought into question. This collection surveys contemporary art and theory that proposes a wealth of alternatives to outdated linear models of time.

Artists surveyed: Marina Abramović, Francis Alÿs, Matthew Buckingham, Janet Cardiff, Paul Chan, Olafur Eliasson, Bea Fremderman, Toril Johannessen, On Kawara, Joachim Koester, Christian Marclay, nova Milne, Trevor Paglen, Katie Patterson, Raqs Media Collective, Dexter Sinister, Simon Starling, Hito Steyerl, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Tehching Hsieh, Time/Bank, Mark von Schlegell

Writers: Giorgio Agamben, Mieke Bal, Geoffrey Batchen, Hans Belting, Walter Benjamin, Franco Berardi, Daniel Birnbaum, Georges Didi-Huberman, Dōgen Zenji, Peter Galison, Boris Groys, Brian Dillon, Elena Filipovic, Joshua Foer, Elizabeth Grosz, Adrian Heathfield, Rachel Kent, Bruno Latour, George Kubler, Doreen Massey, Alexander Nagel, Jean-Luc Nancy, Daniel Rosenberg, Michel Serres, Michel Siffre, Nancy Spector, Nato Thompson, Christopher Wood, George Woodcock

The Artist’s Joke.
London, Whitechapel; Cambridge, Massachusetts, The MIT Press.
2007
RDO005
The Studio
London: Whitechapel; Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press
2012
RDO015

With the emergence of conceptual art in the mid-1960s, the traditional notion of the studio became at least partly obsolete. Other sites emerged for the generation of art, leading to the idea of “post-studio practice.” But the studio never went away; it was continually reinvented in response to new realities. This collection, expanding on current critical interest in issues of production and situation, looks at the evolution of studio—and “post-studio”—practice over the last half century.

In recent decades many artists have turned their studios into offices from which they organize a multiplicity of operations and interactions. Others use the studio as a quasi-exhibition space, or work on a laptop computer—mobile, flexible, and ready to follow the next commission.

Among the topics surveyed here are the changing portrayal and experience of the artist’s role since 1960; the diversity of current studio and post-studio practice; the critical strategies of artists who have used the studio situation as the subject or point of origin for their work; the insights to be gained from archival studio projects; and the expanded field of production that arises from responding to new conditions in the world outside the studio. The essays and artists’ statements in this volume explore these questions with a focus on examining the studio’s transition from a workshop for physical production to a space with potential for multiple forms of creation and participation.

The Object
London: Whitechapel; Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press
2014
RDO020

Artists increasingly refer to “post-object-based” work while theorists engage with material artifacts in culture. A focus on “object-based” learning treats objects as vectors for dialogue across disciplines. Virtual imaging enables the object to be abstracted or circumvented, while immaterial forms of labor challenge materialist theories. This anthology surveys such reappraisals of what constitutes the “objectness” of production, with art as its focus.

Among the topics it examines are the relation of the object to subjectivity; distinctions between objects and things; the significance of the object’s transition from inert mass to tool or artifact; and the meanings of the everyday in the found object, repetition in the replicated or multiple object, loss in the absent object, and abjection in the formless or degraded object. It also explores artistic positions that are anti-object; theories of the experimental, liminal or mental object; and the role of objects in performance. The object becomes a prism through which to reread contemporary art and better understand its recent past.

Artists surveyed: Georges Adéagbo, Art in Ruins, Iain Baxter, Louise Bourgeois, Pavel Büchler, Lygia Clark, Claude Closky, Brian Collier, Jimmie Durham, Fischli & Weiss, Luca Frei, Meschac Gaba, Isa Genzken, Gruppe Geflecht, Eva Hesse, Mike Kelley, John Latham, Antje Majewski, Gustav Metzger, Cady Noland, Gabriel Orozco, Adrian Piper, Falke Pisano, Eva Rothschild, Aura Satz, Kenneth Snelson, Hito Steyerl, Josef Strau, Alina Szapocznikow, Joëlle Tuerlinckx, Erwin Wurm

Writers: Homi K. Bhabha, Jack Burnham, Ewa Lajer-Burcharth, Lynne Cooke, Gillo Dorfles, Jean Fisher, Ferreira Gullar, Charles Harrison, Paulo Herkenhoff, Julia Kristeva, Bruno Latour, Bracha Lichtenberg-Ettinger, Jean-François Lyotard, Lev Manovich, Ursula Meyer, Bruno Munari, Georges Perec, Hans-Jörg Rheinberger, Dieter Roelstraete, Howard Singerman, Nancy Spector, Marcus Steinweg, Anne Wagner, Gérard Wajcman, Slavoj Žižek

Chance.
London, Whitechapel; Cambridge, Massachusetts, The MIT Press.
2010
RDO011

Artists surveyed include:
Vito Acconci, Bas Jan Ader, Francis Alÿs, William Anastasi, John Baldessari, Walead Beshty, Mark Boyle, George Brecht, Marcel Broodthaers, John Cage, Sophie Calle, Tacita Dean, Stan Douglas, Marcel Duchamp, Brian Eno, Fischli & Weiss, Ceal Floyer, Huang Yong Ping, Douglas Huebler, Allan Kaprow, Alison Knowles, Jiri Kovanda, Jorge Macchi, Christian Marclay, Cildo Meireles, Robert Morris, Bruce Nauman, Yoko Ono, Gabriel Orozco, Cornelia Parker, Robert Rauschenberg, Gerhard Richter, Daniel Spoerri, Wolfgang Tillmans, Keith Tyson, Jennifer West, Ceryth Wyn Evans, La Monte Young
Writers include: Paul Auster, Jacquelynn Baas, Georges Bataille, Daniel Birnbaum, Claire Bishop, Guy Brett, Benjamin H. D. Buchloh, Stanley Cavell, Lynne Cooke, Fei Dawei, Gilles Deleuze, Anna Dezeuze, Russell Ferguson, Branden W. Joseph, Siegfried Kracauer, Jacques Lacan, Susan Laxton, Sarat Maharaj, Midori Matsui, John Miller, Alexandra Munroe, Gabriel Pérez Barreiro, Jasia Reichardt, Julia Robinson, Eric L. Santner, Sarah Valdez, Katharina Vossenkuhl

The Everyday
London: Whitechapel; Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press
2008
RDO006

Numerous international exhibitions and biennials have borne witness to the range of contemporary art engaged with the everyday and its antecedents in the work of Surrealists, Situationists, the Fluxus group, and conceptual and feminist artists of the 1960s and 1970s. This art shows a recognition of ordinary dignity or the accidentally miraculous, an engagement with a new kind of anthropology, an immersion in the pleasures of popular culture, or a meditation on what happens when nothing happens. The celebration of the everyday has oppositional and dissident overtones, offering a voice to the silenced and proposing possibilities for change. This collection of writings by artists, theorists, and critics assembles for the first time a comprehensive anthology on the everyday in the world of contemporary art.

Artists surveyed: Chantal Akerman, Francis Alÿs, Vladimir Arkhipov, Ian Breakwell, Stanley Brouwn, Sophie Calle, Marcel Duchamp, Fischli & Weiss, Nan Goldin, Dan Graham, Mona Hatoum, Susan Hiller, Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, Mary Kelly, Lettrist International, Jonas Mekas, Annette Messager, Aleksandra Mir, Roman Ondák, Yoko Ono, Gabriel Orozco, Martha Rosler, Allen Ruppersberg, Daniel Spoerri, Wolfgang Tillmans, Mierle Laderman Ukeles, Andy Warhol, Richard Wentworth, Stephen Willats

Writers include: Paul Auster, Maurice Blanchot, Geoff Dyer, Hal Foster, Suzy Gablik, Ben Highmore, Henri Lefebvre, Lucy R. Lippard, Michel Maffesoli, Ivone Margulies, Helen Molesworth, Nikos Papastergiadis, Georges Perec, John Roberts, David Ross, Nicholas Serota, Michael Sheringham, Alison and Peter Smithson, Abigail Solomon-Godeau, Jeff Wall, Jonathan Watkins

Nature.
London, Whitechapel; Cambridge, Massachusetts, The MIT Press.
2012
RDO018
Sound
London: Whitechapel; Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press
2011
RDO012

The “sonic turn” in recent art reflects a wider cultural awareness that sight no longer dominates our perception or understanding of contemporary reality. The background buzz of myriad mechanically reproduced sounds increasingly mediates our lives. Tuning into this incessant auditory stimulus, some of our most influential artists have investigated the corporeal, cultural, and political resonance of sound. In tandem with recent experimental music and technology, art has opened up to hitherto excluded dimensions of noise, silence, and the act of listening. Artists working with sound have engaged in new forms of aesthetic encounter with the city and nature, the everyday and cultural otherness, technological effects and psychological states.

New perspectives on sound have generated a wave of scholarship in musicology, cultural studies, and the social sciences. But the equally important rise of sound in the arts since 1960 has so far been sparsely documented. This volume is the first sourcebook to provide, through original critical writings and artists’ statements, a genealogy of sonic pathways into the arts, philosophical reflections on the meanings of noise and silence, dialogues between art and music, investigations of the role of listening and acoustic space, and a comprehensive survey of sound works by international artists from the avant-garde era to the present.

Dance.
London, Whitechapel; Cambridge, Massachusetts, The MIT Press.
2012
RDO017
The Archive
London: Whitechapel; Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press
2006
RDO007

In the modern era, the archive—official or personal—has become the most significant means by which historical knowledge and memory are collected, stored, and recovered. The archive has thus emerged as a key site of inquiry in such fields as anthropology, critical theory, history, and, especially, recent art. Traces and testimonies of such events as World War II and ensuing conflicts, the emergence of the postcolonial era, and the fall of communism have each provoked a reconsideration of the authority given the archive—no longer viewed as a neutral, transparent site of record but as a contested subject and medium in itself.

This volume surveys the full diversity of our transformed theoretical and critical notions of the archive—as idea and as physical presence—from Freud’s “mystic writing pad” to Derrida’s “archive fever”; from Christian Boltanski’s first autobiographical explorations of archival material in the 1960s to the practice of artists as various as Susan Hiller, Ilya Kabakov, Thomas Hirshhorn, Renée Green, and The Atlas Group in the present.

Systems
London: Whitechapel; Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press
2015
RDO022

In the late 1950s, experiments such as the cybernetic sculptures of Nicolas Schöffer or the programmatic music compositions of John Cage and Iannis Xenakis transposed systems theory from the sciences to the arts. By the 1960s, artists as diverse as Roy Ascott, Hans Haacke, Robert Morris, Sonia Sheridan, and Stephen Willats were breaking with accepted aesthetics to embrace open systems that emphasized organism over mechanism, dynamic processes of interaction among elements, and the observer’s role as an inextricable part of the system. Jack Burnham’s 1968 Artforum essay “Systems Aesthetics” and his 1970 “Software” exhibition marked the high point of systems-based art until its resurgence in the changed conditions of the twenty-first century.

Systems traces this radical shift in aesthetics from its roots in mid twentieth-century general systems theory, cybernetics, and artificial intelligence to the cutting-edge science of the present. The collected texts examine the connections between advanced technological systems, our bodies and minds; the relation of musical to spatial and architectural structures; and the ways in which systems-based art projects can create self-generating entities and networks, alter our experience of time, change the configurations of social relations, cross cultural borders, and interact with threatened ecosystems.

Artists surveyed: Roy Ascott, Driessens and Verstappen, David Dunn, Brian Eno, Frank Gillette, Michael Joaquin Grey, Hans Haacke, Helen Mayer Harrison, Newton Harrison, Joan Littlewood, Richard Paul Lohse, Laurent Mignonneau, Manfred Mohr, Nam June Paik, Cedric Price, Casey Reas, Ken Rinaldo, Tomás Saraceno, Sonia Sheridan, Christa Sommerer, Ubermorgen, Woody and Steina Vasulka, Peter Weibel, Mitchell Whitelaw, John Whitney, James Whitney, Stephen Willats, Iannis Xenakis

Writers include: Gregory Bateson, Mary Catherine Bateson, Pierre Bourdieu, R. Buckminster Fuller, Jack Burnham, Fritjof Capra, Geoff Cox, James P. Crutchfield, Boris Groys, Francis Halsall, Usman Haque, N. Katherine Hayles, Caroline Jones, Stephen Jones, Christian Katti, Bruno Latour, Mary Louise Lobsinger, James Lovelock, Niklas Luhmann, Humberto Maturana, Donella H. Meadows, William J. Mitchell, Gordon Pask, Nick Prior, Francisco Varela, Heinz von Foerster, Michael Weinstock, Norbert Wiener

Exhibition
London: Whitechapel; Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press
2014
RDO019

This anthology provides a multivocal critique of the exhibition of contemporary art, bringing together the writings of artists, curators, and theorists. Collectively these diverse perspectives are united by the notion that although the focus for modernist discussion was individual works of art, it is the exhibition that is the prime cultural carrier of contemporaneity. The texts encompass exhibition design and form; exhibitions that are object-based, live, or discursive; projects that no longer rely on a physical space to be visited in person; artists’ responses to being curated and their reflections on the potential of acting curatorially. Set against the rise of the curator as an influential force in the contemporary art world, this volume underlines the crucial role of artists in questioning and shaping the phenomenon of the exhibition.

Artists surveyed: Rasheed Araeen, Art & Language, AA Bronson, Daniel Buren, Graciela Carnevale, Andrea Fraser, Piero Gilardi, Group Material, Richard Hamilton, Huang Rui, Laboratoire Agit-Art, Louise Lawler, Glenn Ligon, Konrad Lueg, Matsuzawa Yutaka, Palle Nielsen, OHO (Marko Pogagnik), Hélio Oiticica, Philippe Parreno, Victor Pasmore, Raqs Media Collective, Gerhard Richter, Ruangrupa, Situationist International, Mierle Laderman Ukeles, Andy Warhol, Katsuhiro Yamaguchi

Writers: Judith Barry, Martin Beck, Charles Esche, Patricia Falguières, Elena Filipovic, Patrick Flores, Liam Gillick, Thelma Golden, Hou Hanru, Geeta Kapur, Pablo Lafuente, Lisette Lagnado, Lucy R. Lippard, Miguel A. López, Stuart Morgan, Chika Okeke-Agulu, Yvonne Rainer, Moira Roth, Seth Siegelaub, Wan-kyung Sung, El Hadji Sy, David Teh, Margarita Tupitsyn, Marion von Osten, Anton Vidokle, Peter Wollen

The Gothic
London: Whitechapel; Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press
2007
RDO008

This collection of writings examines the pervasive and influential role of “the Gothic” in contemporary visual culture. The contemporary Gothic in art is informed as much by the stock themes of the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Gothic novel as it is by more recent permutations of the Gothic in horror film theory, Lacanian psychoanalysis, and Goth subcultures. This reader from London’s Whitechapel Gallery brings together artists as different as Matthew Barney, Gregor Schneider, Louise Bourgeois, and Douglas Gordon; its intent is not to use “the Gothic” to group together dissimilar artists but rather to shed light on a particular understanding of their practice. Anthony Vidler looks at ideas of the uncanny to explore Rachel Whiteread’s House, and Jeff Wall uses the motif of vampirism to analyze fellow artist Dan Graham’s Kammerspell; Hal Foster considers Robert Gober’s recent work—laden with Christian symbolism, criticism of America as a nexus of power, and fragmented bodies—as an updated American Gothic, and Kobena Mercer examines the Gothic’s depiction of the Other in relation to Michael Jackson’s pop video Thriller.

Artists surveyed: Matthew Barney, Louise Bourgeois, Janet Cardiff, Tacita Dean, Sue De Beer, Mark Dion, Stan Douglas, Robert Gober, Douglas Gordon, Dan Graham, Damien Hirst, Mike Kelley, Paul McCarthy, Teresa Margolles, Jonathan Meese, Raymond Pettibon, Paul Pfeiffer, Gregor Schneider, Cindy Sherman, Catherine Sullivan, Andy Warhol, Jane and Louise Wilson

Writers: Jean Baudrillard, Elizabeth Bronfen, Edmund Burke, Carol Clover, Beatriz Colomina, Douglas Crimp, Jacques Derrida, Richard Dyer, Umberto Eco, Bret Easton Ellis, Trevor Fairbrother, Alex Farquharson, Hal Foster, Michel Foucault, Sigmund Freud, William Gibson, Christoph Grunenberg, Bruce Hainley, Judith Halberstam, Amelia Jones, Jonathan Jones, Mike Kelley, Julia Kristeva, Jacques Lacan, Patrick McGrath, Kobena Mercer, James Meyer, Edgar Allan Poe, Andrew Ross, Jerry Saltz, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Mary Shelley, Nancy Spector, Robert Louis Stevenson, Anthony Vidler, Jeff Wall, Horace Walpole, Marina Warner, Anne Williams, Slavoj Zizek