Claire Fontaine

Edited by Tom McDonough

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

Writers include:
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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Texte Zur Kunst #104

Issue #104 of TzK examines a key protagonist of the modern age: the individual. As our cover suggests, there is an inherent tragedy to this being who, however autonomous, is beholden to a program that it must internalize at the price of suffering enormously. This issue takes up the individual not as a fixed subject, but as a mode of the self that shifts according to the current form of governance, asking how 15-some years of the “new spirit of capitalism” has shaped her – as an artist, as an entrepreneur, as a “productive” contemporary self.




INVEST YOURSELF! / Wendy Brown in conversation with Isabelle Graw


CAN THE ENTREPRENEURIAL SELF TWEET? / An interview with Ulrich Bröckling

BUFFERING OF THE SELF: GUISING IN THE MID-’00S / Storm van Helsing, André Rottmann, Sarah Nicole Prickett, Reena Spaulings, @lilinternet, i.i.i., Luther Blissett — on — Luther Blissett, JT LeRoy, Reena Spaulings, @lonelygirl15, Claire Fontaine, An Hero, Lee Williams, and Strom van Helsing

SPEECH GESTURES / Notes on the individual and the socialization of language after Gutenberg

PRODUCING INDIVIDUALITY / The Artist among his Contemporaries

I’M NOT PUNK / Alex Israel in conversation with Texte zur Kunst


FEEDBACK FÜR BLINDE FLECKE / Karin Gludovatz über „Jenseits des Spiegels. Das Sehen in Kunstgeschichte und Visual Culture Studies“ von Susanne von Falkenhausen

WORLD WIDE WEB / Anthony Vidler on Felicity D. Scott’s “Outlaw Territories”

LANGSAMER ABSCHIED / Esther Buss über Albert Serras „La mort de Louis XIV“

DAS SICH SELBST TRÄUMENDE INTERNET / Sulgi Lie über Werner Herzogs „Lo and Behold. Reveries of the Connected World“

SHARING ANGST / Gaby Tront on Anne Imhof’s “Angst II” at Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin

Mikael Brkic on Alex Israel at the Astrup Fearnley Museum, Oslo / Steven Warwick on Morag Keil at Eden Eden, Berlin / Hanna Magauer über Dana Schutz bei Contemporary Fine Arts, Berlin / Tonio Kröner über Amelie von Wulffen in der Galerie Barbara Weiss, Berlin / Kari Rittenbach on Margaret Lee at Jack Hanley Gallery, New York / Susanne von Falkenhausen über „Die zu sein scheint, die bin ich.“ Birgit Jürgenssen, Cindy Sherman, Katharina Sieverding und Francesca Woodman in der Galerie Thomas Schulte, Berlin

INDIVIDUELLER ORIENT / Diedrich Diederichsen über Michael Buthe im Haus der Kunst, München

ÜBERBLENDUNGSVERHÄLTNISSE / Sabeth Buchmann über Ellen Cantor im Künstlerhaus Stuttgart

… MY MERE SELF / Rachel Haidu on Kai Althoff at the Museum of Modern Art, New York

DIE KUNST DER STUNDE / Susanne Leeb über Kader Attia im Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt / M.

RUBY STERLING ZEIGT STERLING RUBY / Tanja Widmann und Inka Meißner über Sterling Ruby im Winterpalais Wien

DAS VIRTUELLE IM PHYSISCHEN / Hanne Loreck über Katrin Mayer und Eske Schlüters in der Kunsthalle Lingen

WHY BOTHER WITH SHOW BUSINESS? / Bosko Blagojevic on Antek Walczak at Real Fine Arts, New York

WERKE / Nikola Dietrich über Karl Holmqvist und Klara Lidén im Kunstverein Braunschweig

BIRD OF PARADISE / Frank Wagner (1958–2016) in the words of Julie Ault


Texte Zur Kunst #104
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MAY #16

May no.16 focuses on recent feminist debates actualizing the history of Italian feminist collectives of the 1970s and 1980s. The issue is a continuation of the issue 4 of May, which reprinted and translated a selection of texts from the time. The issue’s touchstone is the work of writer and co-founder of Rivolta Femminile, Carla Lonzi. Throughout her life, Lonzi refused the power of a masculine creativity that exploits the reproductive, supportive activity of women. The texts assembled in May no.16 bring that refusal to contemporary light.

Weed and the Practice of Liberty
Claire Fontaine

The Paradox of Self-Abolition: a Mapping Exercice
Marina Vishmidt

Presence and Absence
Melissa Gordon

Narrative Without End
Anna De Filippi

An Exercise in the Practice of affidamento
Alex Martinis Roe

On Marinella Pirelli’s Films
Lucia Aspesi

Human Strike Between Foreignness and Responsibility
Claire Fontaine

Introduction to Double Bind
Rhea Anastas

Visual Insert

Citadelle. On Marie Angeletti at Édouard Montassut, Paris
Jacob Stewart-Halevy

On Mathieu K. Abonnenc, Lotte Arndt, Catalina lozano (eds), Colonial Collect and Affect, Crawling Doubles
Emmanuelle Chérel

A World Exactly Like This One. On Credits by Hannah Black
Jack Gross

Get Some Rest Pam, or Jason Bourne comes of age. On Paul Greengrass’ film, Jason Bourne
Maija Timonen

Aggregation or Mere Dislocation. On the 9th Berlin Biennale and “Painting 2.0: Expression in the information Age,” mumok, Vienna
Kari Rittenbach

Short Story
Jeanne Graff

Limited Edition
Hans-Christian Lotz

About MAY Revue:

Conceived as a collective space in which to develop thoughts and confront positions on artistic production, May magazine examines, quaterly, contemporary art practice and theory in direct engagement with the issues, contexts and strategies that construct these two fields. An approach that could be summed up as critique at work – or as critique actively performed in text and art forms alike.

Featuring essays, interviews, art works and reviews by artists, writers and diverse practitioners of the arts, the magazine also intends to address the economy of the production of knowledge – the starting point of this reflection being the space of indistinction between information and advertisement typical of our time. This implies a dialogue with forms of critique produced in other fields.

MAY #16
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New Ways of Doing Nothing
Vanessa Joan Müller, Cristina Ricupero, Nicolaus Schafhausen (Eds.)

Texts by Giorgio Agamben, Claire Fontaine, Gilles Deleuze, Julius Gavroche, Paul Lafargue, Vanessa Joan Müller, Cristina Ricupero, Tereza Stejskalová, Enrique Vila-Matas

“New Ways of Doing Nothing,” a group exhibition that took place at Kunsthalle Wien in 2014, devoted itself to artistic production that opposes activity and instead gives an affirmative slant to forms of doing nothing or refraining—a major influence being the titular character of Hermann Melville’s “Bartleby the Scriviner: A Story of Wall Street.” The book presents the displayed works and artists, but also continues the process that led to the exhibition. Included along with a conversation between the curators is a text collage of reprints and excerpts that introduces those artists and thinkers who, in the words of Bartleby, “prefer not to.”

Featuring work by Robert Breer, Alejandro Cesarco, Étienne Chambaud, Claire Fontaine, Natalie Czech, Oskar Dawicki, Edith Dekyndt, Mathias Delplanque, Heinrich Dunst, Gardar Eide Einarsson, Marina Faust, Ryan Gander, Lasse Schmidt Hansen, Julia Hohenwarter, Karl Holmqvist, Sofia Hultén, Jiří Kovanda, Rivane Neuenschwander, Georges Perec / Bernard Queysanne, Superflex, Mario García Torres

Vanessa Joan Müller, Cristina Ricupero, Nicolaus Schafhausen (Eds.)

Copublished with Kunsthalle Wien
Design by Anna Haas

New Ways of Doing Nothing
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