Leigh Claire La Berge: Wages Against Artwork: Decommodified Labor and the Claims of Socially Engaged Art (2019)

7 February 2021, dusan

“The last twenty years have seen a rise in the production, circulation, and criticism of new forms of socially engaged art aimed at achieving social justice and economic equality. In Wages Against Artwork Leigh Claire La Berge shows how socially engaged art responds to and critiques what she calls decommodified labor—the slow diminishment of wages alongside an increase in the demands of work. Outlining the ways in which socially engaged artists relate to work, labor, and wages, La Berge examines how artists and organizers create institutions to address their own and others’ financial precarity; why the increasing role of animals and children in contemporary art points to the turn away from paid labor; and how the expansion of MFA programs and student debt helps create the conditions for decommodified labor. In showing how socially engaged art operates within and against the need to be paid for work, La Berge offers a new theorization of the relationship between art and contemporary capitalism.”

Publisher Duke University Press, Durham, NC, August 2019
ISBN 1478004231, 9781478004233
xiii+261 pages

Review: Noni Brynjolson (Field, 2020).

Interviews with author: Andreas Petrossiants (e-flux, 2018, podcast), Wen Zhuang (LA Review of Books, 2020), Andreas Petrossiants (Brooklyn Rail, 2020), Pierre d’Alancaisez (New Books Network, 2021, podcast).

Publisher
WorldCat

PDF (11 MB)
Internet Archive (multiple formats)

Yates McKee: Strike Art: Contemporary Art and the Post-Occupy Condition (2016)

3 December 2019, dusan

“The collision of activism and contemporary art, from the Seattle protests to Occupy and beyond

What is the relation of art to the practice of radical politics today? Strike Art explores this question through the historical lens of Occupy, an event that had artists at its core. Precarious, indebted, and radicalized, artists redirected their creativity from servicing the artworld into an expanded field of organizing in order to construct of a new—if internally fraught—political imaginary set off against the common enemy of the 1%. In the process, they called the bluff of a contemporary art system torn between ideals of radical critique, on the one hand, and an increasing proximity to Wall Street on the other—oftentimes directly targeting major art institutions themselves as sites of action.

Tracking the work of groups including MTL, Not an Alternative, the Illuminator, the Rolling Jubilee, and G.U.L.F, Strike Art shows how Occupy ushered in a new era of artistically-oriented direct action that continues to ramify far beyond the initial act of occupation itself into ongoing struggles surrounding labor, debt, and climate justice, concluding with a consideration of the overlaps between such work and the aesthetic practices of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Art after Occupy, McKee suggests, contains great potentials of imagination and action for a renewed left project that are still only beginning to ripen, at once shaking up and taking flight from the art system as we know it.”

Publisher Verso Books, London and New York, 2016
ISBN 9781784781880, 1784781886
296 pages

Reviews: Marc James Léger (Marx & Philosophy, 2016), Philipp Kleinmichel (Radical Philosophy, 2018), Paloma Checa-Gismero (Field, 2016), John Ayscough (Visual Culture in Britain, 2017), Kristin Gecan (Chicago Review, 2016).
Discussion: Gregory Sholette, a.o. (e-flux supercommunity, 2016).
Book launch

Publisher
WorldCat

EPUB (6 MB)

Annie McClanahan: Dead Pledges: Debt, Crisis, and Twenty-First-Century Culture (2016)

24 April 2018, dusan

Dead Pledges is the first book to explore the ways that U.S. culture—from novels and poems to photojournalism and horror movies—has responded to the collapse of the financialized consumer credit economy in 2008. Connecting debt theory to questions of cultural form, this book argues that artists, filmmakers, and writers have re-imagined what it means to owe and to own in a period when debt is what makes our economic lives possible. Encompassing both popular entertainment and avant-garde art, the post-crisis productions examined here help to map the landscape of contemporary debt: from foreclosure to credit scoring, student debt to securitized risk, microeconomic theory to anti-eviction activism. A searing critique of the ideology of debt, Dead Pledges dismantles the discourse of moral obligation so often invoked to make us repay. Debt is no longer a source of economic credibility, it contends, but a system of dispossession that threatens the basic fabric of social life.”

Publisher Stanford University Press, 2016
Post ’45 series
ISBN 9780804799058, 0804799059
ix+235 pages

Reviews: Brian Whitener (The New Inquiry, 2017), Sofia Cutler (LA Review of Books, 2017), Julian Murphet (Affirmations, 2017), Davis Smith-Brecheisen (Mediations, 2017), Arne De Boever (boundary2, 2017), Laura Finch (Journal of Cultural Economy, 2018).

Publisher
WorldCat

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