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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Art-Events and Happenings
Udo Kultermann (Ed.)
First English edition from 1971, Udo Kultermann’s “Art-Events and Happenings”, published by Mathews Miller Dunbar of London, translated by John William Gabriel. A deep reflection on an important part of Art’s development throughout the 1960s – the turn to action through performance and conceptual art – surveying happenings, protests, theatre, ritual, land art and much more, and featuring a vast collection of black and white photographic illustrations of the work of Allan Kaprow, Ann Halprin, Yvonne Rainer, Merce Cunningham, Otto Mühl, Oyvind Fahlstrom, Piero Gilardi, Charlotte Moorman, Franz Erhard Walther, Joseph Beuys, Tetsumi Kudo, Lygia Clark, Carolee Schneemann, Stan Brakhage, John Cage, Hermann Nitsch, Günther Brus, Dennis Oppenheim, Jean-Jacques Lebel, Andy Warhol, Jan Dibbets, Carl Andre, Barry La Va, Rafael Ferrer, Marinus Boezum, Nam June Paik, Wolf Vostell, Milan Knizak, Jackson Pollock, Saburo Murakami, Atsuko Tanaka, Claes Oldenburg, Piero Manzoni, Peter Hutchinson, Christo, Robert Morris, and many more.
* Condition: Very Good (some tanning, previous owners name to first page) – All care is taken to provide accurate condition details of used books, photos available on request.
- Art-Events and Happenings (1971)
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Feelings Are Facts : A Life
If you’re interested in Plato, you’re reading the wrong book. If you’re interested in difficult childhoods, sexual misadventures, aesthetics, cultural history, and the reasons that a club sandwich and other meals — including breakfast — have remained in the memory of the present writer, keep reading. — from Feelings Are Facts In this memoir, dancer, choreographer, and filmmaker Yvonne Rainer traces her personal and artistic coming of age. Feelings Are Facts (the title comes from a dictum by Rainer’s one-time psychotherapist) uses diary entries, letters, program notes, excerpts from film scripts, snapshots, and film-frame enlargements to present a vivid portrait of an extraordinary artist and woman in postwar America. Rainer tells of a California childhood in which she was farmed out by her parents to foster families and orphanages, of sexual and intellectual initiations in San Francisco and Berkeley, and of artistic discoveries and accomplishments in the New York City dance world. Rainer studied with Martha Graham and Merce Cunningham in the late 1950s and early 1960s, cofounded the Judson Dance Theater in 1962, hobnobbed with New York artists including Robert Rauschenberg, Robert Morris (her lover and partner for several years), and Yoko Ono, and became involved with feminist and antiwar causes in the 1970s and 1980s. Rainer writes about how she constructed her dances — including The Mind Is a Muscle and its famous section, Trio A, as well as the recent After Many a Summer Dies the Swan — and about turning from dance to film and back to dance. And she writes about meeting her longtime partner Martha Gever and discovering the pleasures of domestic life.
- Yvonne Rainer - Feelings Are Facts : A Life
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