“Sholette’s examination of bare art departs from the same problematic as Osborne and Foster, but refuses the idea that problems manifested in the art world can be addressed from within art criticism, however thoroughly it may be reformed.”
-From Kim Charnley’s introduction to Delirium and Resistance
In the aftermath of the 2016 US election, Brexit, and a global upsurge of nationalist populism, it is evident that the delirium and the crisis of neoliberal capitalism is now the delirium and crisis of liberal democracy and its culture. And though capitalist crisis does not begin within art, art can reflect and amplify its effects to positive and negative ends.
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.
CHARLES ESCHE is a Museum Director and Arts Curator. He currently lives between Edinburgh and Eindhoven. Since 2004, he has been Director of the Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, Netherlands. In 2014 .Besides his experience in museological institutions, he has been part of the curatorial teams for: 31st São Paulo Biennial, 2014; U3, Moderna Galerija, Ljubljana, 2011; Riwaq Biennial, Palestine, 2009 and 2007; Istanbul Biennial, 2005; and Gwangju Biennial, 2002. He is also a Professor at Central Saint Martins College in London and co-founder of Afterall Journal and Books. Esche lives and works in Eindhoven.His main work has involved the theory and practice of art museums, but also the qualities of the art centre or biennial. His writings on institutional possibility and policy are useful aids to rethinking the relation between art and social change. A valuable book is the reader Art and Social Change published by Afterall and Tate Publishing and co-edited by Esche and Will Bradley.
ILARIA BUSSONI works as an editor at the publishing house DeriveApprodi, of which she was a founder. Trained as a philosopher, she translates and writes about the cultural theory or art and cinema. She also worked in a tomato factory, met the son of John Coltrane on a moving train (without knowing who his father was), created a poem composed of only horses names, and now lives in Certosa.
KUBA SZREDER lecturer at the department of art theory at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. Graduate of sociology at the Jagiellonian University (Krakow). In 2015, he was awarded PhD by the Loughborough University School of the Arts. He works as an independent curator and researcher. In his interdisciplinary projects he carries out artistic and organizational experiments, hybridizing art with other domains of contemporary society. In 2009 he initiated Free / Slow University of Warsaw, with which he completed several inquiries into the political economy of contemporary artistic production, such as "Joy Forever. Political Economy of Social Creatvity" (2011) and "Art Factory. Division of labor and distribution of resources in the field of contemporary art in Poland" (2014). Editor and author of several catalogues, readers, book chapters and articles. In his most recent book "ABC of Projectariat" (Polish edition, 2016), he scrutinises economic and governmental aspects of project-making and their impact on an 'independent' curatorial practice.
NOAH FISCHER works at the crossroads between economic and social inequity and art practice and its institutions. His sculpture, drawing, performance, writing, and organizing practice fluctuate between object making and direct action as well as an ongoing theatrical collaboration with Berlin-based andcompany&Co. He is the initiating member of Occupy Museums and a member of GULF/ Gulf Labor; his collaborative work has been seen (with and without invitation) at MoMA, Guggenheim, Brooklyn Museum, ZKM, and Venice, Athens, and Berlin Biennales among other venues. With Coco Fusco, Noah organized The Artist as Debtor platform, concerned with sustainability of arts communities. With Occupy Museums, Noah will participate in the 2017 Whitney Biennial. Noah teaches at Parsons and maintains a studio practice in Brooklyn New York.
MARCO BARAVALLE is a central figure at S.a.L.E. Docks, an independent space for visual arts, activism, and experimental theater located in what had been an abandoned salt-storage facility in Dorsoduro, Venice. Founded in 2007, its programming includes activist- group meetings, formal exhibitions, and screenings. In addition to managing the diverse programming at S.a.L.E. Docks, Baravalle is a member of Comitato No Grandi Navi (No Big Ships Committee), which leads protests against large cruise ships in Venice. He is also involved with the NO MOSE (No MOdulo Sperimentale Elettromeccanico, Experimental Electromechanical Module) front, which opposes an impractical Venetian flood- protection project that was at the center of a recently discovered national corruption case. Baravalle also researches creative labor and how art is positioned within neoliberal economics.
In his wide-ranging art, activist, teaching and writing practice, Gregory Sholette has developed a self-described “viable, democratic, counter-narrative that, bit-by-bit, gains descriptive power within the larger public discourse.” Sholette is a founding member of Political Art Documentation/Distribution in the 1980s, and REPOhistory in the 1990s, and more recently he is active with Gulf Labor Coalition. In dozens of essays, three edited volumes, and his own books including Delirium & Resistance: Art Activism & the Crisis of Capitalism (2017) andDark Matter: Art and Politics in an Age of Enterprise Culture (2011, both Pluto Press/University of Chicago Press), Sholette documents and reflects upon decades of activist art that, for its ephemerality, politics, and market resistance, might otherwise remain invisible. A co-director of Social Practice Queens at Queens College CUNY, he holds a Ph.D. from the University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands, is a graduate of The Cooper Union, UCSD, and The Whitney Independent Study Program in Critical Theory.
A book launch and conversation with Gregory Sholette, Charles Esche, Illaria Bussoni, Kuba Szreder, Noah Fischer and Marco Baravalle
May 12th, 2017
5.30-7.30 PM, with drinks to follow