PSU Social Practice Group Bibliography

An ongoing annotated group bibliography maintained by the PSU Social Practice MFA program related to art and social practice.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Experiments in the Everyday: Allan Kaprow and Robert Watts – Events, Objects, Documents

I was revising my ongoing annotated bibliography tonight and came across this book I read last year, Experiments in the Everyday: Allan Kaprow and Robert Watts – Events, Objects, Documents. Notes and quotes as follows:

“One can imagine an audience environment where the audience becomes the sole activator and responds to itself". –Robert Watts

“One could thus argue that Watt’s heightened sense of the necessity to make the viewer activity participate in the event structure of the work- even if only in the banal and benign forms of social exchange and public communication resulted first of all from insight into the consequences of collectively enforced consumption.”(Buchloh 1999, 17-18)

“By Contrast, the Fluxus artists recognized the commodity form as historically insurmountable, as a failed utopia whose sole, if any, dimension of promise would remain its intrinsically egalitarian element and its potential to establish a competence of object relations, in lieu of a linguistic or political competence of political self-determination. Thus the relationships of Fluxus to commodity culture are both mimetic and polemical, performing gags on the totality of reification and enacting farces with minimally redeeming functions.”((Buchloh 1999, 22)

Similarly relational aesthetics criticizes commodity culture, especially the commodification of human interaction.

“Schapiro’s social philosophy of art has two significant implications for the theory of modern art that, years later, he would reconfigure into a theory of the avant-garde. Kaprow, in turn, would later complicate Schapiro’s theory in his conception of happenings. First, an artist’s egotistic obsession with the purely aesthetic, pursued in the privacy of his studio, is a product of capitalism’s economic, political, and class-based ideology of the “private.” The artist’s “ego,” then, is not his own- by pursuing what capitalism in its most advanced andexpanded form has rendered “archaic”: individual handicraft.” (Haywood 1999, 28)

In a revolutionary call-to-arms, Schapiro pleaded for artists to aquire the “courage” to act on and “change” society by redirecting their concerns to “the world around them, its action and conflict” (my emphasis). Artists turning to the world would see that the system requiring “impoverished masses and oppressed minorities” was the same system that produced an art “committed to the aesthetic movements of life, to spectacles designed for passive, detached individuals” as well as “an art of the studio” (my emphasis).” (Haywood 1999, 29-30)

“…a dramatic enactment of an often minimal and hughly ascetic totality of sounds, texts, gestures, and objects, which George Brecht had defined as an “event.”(Buchloh 1999, 11)

“Rather, the need was for ‘the extension of the museum… as a force for innovations lying outside of its physical limits.’ A contemporary museum, therefore, might well serve as an ‘agency for action.’” (Haywood 1999, 42)

“If, as Jeff Wall has suggested, the photograph ‘shows its subject by means of showing what experience is like; in that sense provides ‘an experience of experience,’’” (Rodenbeck 1999, 64)

“I had gone to John Cage’s class and asked, “How the hell do you get people to do this silly stuff?” So he told me about me about his early beginning with chance music. “You have to begin with friends,” he said. “Get the people that you like and like you.”(Kaprow 1999, 69)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Journal of Aesthetics & Protest

Preview here

This is the sixth issue of Journal of Aesthetics & Protest, titled Theory in 3 Acts: I Love To We, Antiwar Survey Respondents, and Another Theory Section. I ordered this and it's on its way. Amy Franceschini, Fritz Haeg, Ben Schaafsma and Andrew Boyd are among the contributers. All issues are viewable/readable for free on-line.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Subversive Imagination

This book is full of SO MANY amazing essays. Herbert Marcuse and the Subversive Potential of Art by Carol Becker totally affected me when I read it years ago. I even remember where I was when I read it (in the chair in the corner of my room in Halifax). As I was reading, I was listening to Destroyer's album, Theif (forget which song), and he was singing about the exact same stuff! I will never forget how much my mind got blown by that combo. I will try to find those lyrics...

Ha, Ha, Ha

I know this is not explicitly social-practicy, but I think it touches on a lot of the same vibes. For the most part it is really weird (actually NOT funny), to read about jokes. However, there is some great stuff, including Dave Hickey's statement about how allowing art to be 'bad, silly and frivolous' is liberating. A lot of amazing artists are featured, including Hamza Walker who is on his way to PMMNLS to lecture on Dec 1.

Here's what the back says:
Ever since the Dadaists, humour in one or more of its guises - absurd, ironic, tragi-comic, mordant, gothically dark, deadpan, camp or kitsch - has frequently surfaced as a subversive, troubling or liberating element in art. This anthology traces humour's role in transforming the practice and experience of art from the early twentieth-century avant-gardes, through Fluxus and Pop, to the diverse, often uncategorizable works of some of the most influential artists today.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Failure!: Experiments in Aesthetic and Social Practices!

Failure!: Experiments in Aesthetics and Social Practices

Edited by Nicole Antebi, Colin Dickey, and Robby Herst

The Journal of Aesthetics and Protest Press presents this book. It's a new collection of essays, interviews and artwork that together offer a minor history of failure. Tracing the idea of failure through contemporary art, activism and social protest movements, literature and philosophy, the work in Failure! cuts against a notion of forward progress by instead exploring various dead-ends on the timeline of history. Failure! gives us ways to map our lives in relationship to improper paths.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Group Work

Co-written and edited by the three current members of the art group Temporary Services, Group Work is a thorough investigation of groups of artists, activists and musicians in the form of interviews and short profiles. Temporary Services interviews the band The Ex, Pedro Bell from the band Funkadelic, AA Bronson from General Idea, ex-members of Political Art Documentation/Distribution, and current members of the groups Haha, Wochenklausur, and What, How and For Whom, asking questions specific to artists who work in groups. Each interview is prefaced by a brief introduction to the group’s history, major events and shows, and current status, and gives context on who is being interviewed and why. -Katy Asher

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

With Love From Haha: Essays And Notes On A Collective Practice

With Love From Haha: Essays And Notes On A Collective Practice
Edited by Wendy Jacob, Laurie Palmer, and John Ploof
Chicago: WhiteWalls. 2008

I just told Katy about this book the other day.

I thought you all might be interested as well. It is available through Temporary Services press, Half Letter Press.