Anselm Franke, Tom Holert (eds.): Neolithic Childhood: Art in a False Present, c. 1930 (2018)

12 August 2018, dusan

“Resonating at the heart of Neolithic Childhood. Art in a False Present, c. 1930 is the question whether art has present, past, and future functions. The modernist assertion of the autonomy of art was intended to render superfluous art’s social and religious functions. But what if the functionlessness of art comes under suspicion of being instrumentalized by bourgeois capitalism? This was an accusation that informed the anti-modernist critique of the avant-garde, and particularly of Surrealism. The objective throughout the crisis-ridden present of the 1920s to the 1940s was to reaffirm a once ubiquitous, but long-lost functionality—not only of art.

The publication accompanying the exhibition examines the strategies deployed in this reaffirmation. These include the surrealist Primitivism of an “Ethnology of the White Man” together with the excavation of the deep time of humanity—into the “Neolithic Childhood” mapped out by the notoriously anti-modernist Carl Einstein (1885-1940) as a hallucinatory retro-utopia. The volume brings together essays by the curators and academics involved in the project, primary texts by Carl Einstein and a comprehensive documentation of the exhibition including lists of works, texts on as well as images of numerous exhibits and finally installation views. At the center of the volume, a glossary discusses Carl Einstein’s own theoretical vocabulary as well as further associated terms, such as Autonomy, Formalism, Function, Gesture, Hallucination, Art, Metamorphosis, Primitivisms, Totality.”

With contributions by: Irene Albers, Philipp Albers, Joyce S. Cheng, Rosa Eidelpes, Carl Einstein, Anselm Franke, Charles W. Haxthausen, Tom Holert, Sven Lütticken, Ulrike Müller, Jenny Nachtigall, David Quigley, Cornelius Reiber, Erhard Schüttpelz, Kerstin Stakemeier, Maria Stavrinaki, Elena Vogman, Zairong Xiang, Sebastian Zeidler.

Publisher Diaphanes, Berlin, and Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW), Berlin, 2018
ISBN 9783035801064, 3035801061
460 pages

Exhibition and conference
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PDF (removed on 2018-9-12 upon request from publisher, see a preview of the first 32 pages)

Jonas Staal: Propaganda Art from the 20th to the 21st Century (2018)

26 July 2018, dusan

“This study by artist Jonas Staal explores the development of propaganda art from the 20th to the 21st century. Staal defines propaganda as the performance of power by means of the equation propaganda = power + performance. Through his work as a propaganda researcher and practice as a propaganda artist, he argues that different structures of power generate different forms of propaganda and therefore different forms of propaganda art. Whereas in the context of the 20th century Staal discusses the differences between avant-garde, totalitarian, and modernist propaganda art, in the 21st century he proposes the categories of War on Terror Propaganda Art, Popular Propaganda Art, and Stateless Propaganda Art. By means of concrete examples of artists and artworks within each of these categories, he attempts to show how the performance of power in the 21st century translates into different visual forms, and how they shape and direct our reality. Staal’s study shows that power and art exist in continuous interaction. Propaganda and propaganda art are not terms that only refer to the past, but concepts and practices through which we can understand the construction of reality in the present.”

PhD Dissertation, Faculty of Humanities, University of Leiden
Open access
425 pages

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Video (12 min)

John Roberts: Revolutionary Time and the Avant-Garde (2015)

23 June 2018, dusan

“Why the avant-garde of art needs to be rehabilitated today

Since the decidedly bleak beginning of the twenty-first century, art practice has become increasingly politicized. Yet few have put forward a sustained defence of this development. Revolutionary Time and the Avant-Garde is the first book to look at the legacy of the avant-garde in relation to the deepening crisis of contemporary capitalism.

An invigorating revitalization of the Frankfurt School legacy, Roberts’s book defines and validates the avant-garde idea with an erudite acuity, providing a refined conceptual set of tools to engage critically with the most advanced art theorists of our day, such as Hal Foster, Andrew Benjamin, Alain Badiou, Jacques Rancière, Paolo Virno, Claire Bishop, Michael Hardt, and Toni Negri.”

Publisher Verso, London, 2015
ISBN 9781781689134, 178168913X
xii+322 pages

Reviews: Noni Brynjolson (Field, 2015), Danica Radoshevich (Red Wedge, 2015), Kim Charnley (Platypus Review, 2016), Geoffrey Wildanger (LA Review of Books, 2016).

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