Without boredom, arguably there is no modernity. The current sense of the word emerged simultaneously with industrialization, mass politics, and consumerism. From Manet onwards, when art represents the everyday within modern life, encounters with tedium are inevitable. And starting with modernism’s retreat into abstraction through subsequent demands placed on audiences, from the late 1960s to the present, the viewer’s endurance of repetition, slowness or other forms of monotony has become an anticipated feature of gallery-going.
In contemporary art, boredom is no longer viewed as a singular experience; rather, it is contingent on diverse social identifications and cultural positions, and exists along a spectrum stretching from a malign condition to be struggled against to an something to be embraced or explored as a site of resistance. This anthology contextualizes the range of boredoms associated with our neoliberal moment, taking a long view that encompasses the political critique of boredom in 1960s France; the simultaneous aesthetic embrace in the United States of silence, repetition, or indifference in Fluxus, Pop, Minimalism and conceptual art; the development of feminist diagnoses of malaise in art, performance, and film; punk’s social critique and its influence on theories of the postmodern; and the recognition, beginning at the end of the 1980s, of a specific form of ennui experienced in former communist states. Today, with the emergence of new forms of labor alienation and personal intrusion, deadening forces extend even further into subjective experience, making the divide between a critical and an aesthetic use of boredom ever more tenuous.
Artists surveyed include:
Chantal Akerman, Francis Alÿs, John Baldessari, Vanessa Beecroft, Bernadette Corporation, John Cage, Critical Art Ensemble, Merce Cunningham, Marcel Duchamp, Fischli & Weiss, Claire Fontaine, Dick Higgins, Jasper Johns, Donald Judd, Ilya Kabakov, Boris Mikhailov, Robert Morris, John Pilson, Sigmar Polke, Yvonne Rainer, Robert Rauschenberg, Ad Reinhardt, Gerhard Richter, Situationist International, Mierle Laderman Ukeles, Andy Warhol, Faith Wilding, Janet Zweig
Ina Blom, Nicolas Bourriaud, Jennifer Doyle, Alla Efimova, Jonathan Flatley, Julian Jason Haladyn, The Invisible Committee, Jonathan D. Katz, Chris Kraus, Tan Lin, Sven Lütticken, John Miller, Agné Narušyté, Sianne Ngai, Peter Osborne, Patrice Petro, Christine Ross, Moira Roth, David Foster Wallace, Aleksandr Zinovyev
About the Author
Tom McDonough is Associate Professor of Art History at Binghamton University, State University of New York. He is the author of “The Beautiful Language of My Century”: Reinventing the Language of Contestation in Postwar France, 1945–1968 (MIT Press)
From the “Documents of Contemporary Art” series.
- Boredom (Documents of Contemporary Art)
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Runway : The Spectacle of Fashion
by Alix Browne
A stunning work on contemporary fashion spectacles, showcasing the most innovative, creative, and artistic high-fashion runway shows of the last twenty years.
In recent years, as fashion shows have become a part of our collective imagination and an important part of contemporary culture, blockbuster productions have redefined the runway show as a form of entertainment and creativity on par with the clothes themselves. This book focuses on designers for whom fashion and the mode of presenting it have held equal significance: Alexander McQueen, Maison Martin Margiela, Susan Ciancialo, Issey Miyake, Bernadette Corporation, Ann Demeulemeester, Bernhard Willhelm, Gucci, Helmut Lang, Hussein Chalayan, Viktor & Rolf, Givenchy, Yohji Yamamoto, Comme des Garçons, Rick Owens, A.F. Vandevorst, Louis Vuitton, W<, X-Girl, Christian Dior, Prada, Yeezy, Marc Jacobs, Chanel, Raf Simons, Thom Browne, and Imitation of Christ, among them. From the performance art spectacles of the first Alexander McQueen collections in the mid-1990s and the high-art concept shows of Hussein Chalayan in the late 1990s to the lavish beauty of Chanel haute couture in 2012, author Alix Browne explores the highest pinnacles of fashion today. Runway gives the reader full access to the theatrical and creative aspects of the production, in both intimate, little-seen runway shows from the pre-Internet era many of the photographs here have never been published before as well as major productions with elaborate sets and full-blown narrative. Each show is presented through lush, full-bleed photography and many through fold-out four-page images – an index gives a blurb about each runway presentation with further images.
A thrilling, immersive, and inspiring look into the wide-ranging creativity of contemporary fashion, Runway is the most thorough book available on the subject. Featuring the most innovative fashion designers of the last twenty years, this book is a must for lovers of fashion and culture.
- Runway by Alix Browne
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Eine Pinot Grigio, Bitte
“For this book Bernadette Corporation uses screenplay formatting software and the screenplay form with no intention to produce a film or communicate anything. … the hack is used as a starting point for a literature, with hack tools in a hack medium. EINE PINOT GRIGIO, BITTE to remind you of the necessity to understand that all creativity is equal.” Bernadette Corporation
A novel-in-disguise, Eine Pinot Grigio, Bitte is a dark foray into capitalism gone awry. Set against a backdrop of decadent zombies, the screenplay follows John Delp and Aude as they shoot a movie in the cities of Paris, Berlin, and Mexico City. With its wild and messy sense for the absurd, Eine Pinot Grigio, Bitte unravels that conventional Hollywood repertoire of screenwriting all to better recycle both fiction and the real.
Eine Pinot Grigio, Bitte is followed by “Pedestrian Memoranda,” a series of notes on Bernadette Corporation’s temporary underground film studio, operated from 2005–2007 in Paris, Berlin, and Mexico City.
Bernadette Corporation has previously worked under the guise of an eponymous underground fashion label, published a fashion magazine called Made in USA, produced video-films, including the 2003 documentary Get Rid of Yourself, collectively authored the novel Reena Spaulings (Semiotext[e] 2004), as well as exhibited at the 2006 Whitney Biennial, the Witte de With museum, and the Centre Pompidou.
Co-published by Art in General, New York
- Bernadette Corporation - Eine Pinot Grigio, Bitte
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