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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Maja Fowkes: The Green Bloc: Neo-Avant-Garde Art and Ecology Under Socialism (2015)

4 December 2017, dusan

“Expanding the horizon of established accounts of Central European art under socialism, The Green Bloc uncovers the neglected history of artistic engagement with the natural environment in the Eastern Bloc. Focussing on artists and artist groups whose ecological dimension has rarely been considered, including the Pécs Workshop from Hungary, OHO in Slovenia, TOK in Croatia, Rudolf Sikora in Slovakia, and the Czech artist Petr Štembera, Maja Fowkes’s innovative research brings to light an array of distinctive approaches to nature, from attempts to raise environmental awareness among socialist citizens to the exploration of non-anthropocentric positions and the quest for cosmological existence in the midst of red ideology. Embedding artistic production in social, political, and environmental histories of the region, this book reveals the artists’ sophisticated relationship to nature, at the precise moment when ecological crisis was first apprehended on a planetary scale. ”

Publisher Central European University Press, New York and Budapest, 2015
ISBN 9789633860687, 9633860687
viii+299 pages
via Memory of the World

Reviews: Katalin Cseh-Varga (Springerin, 2015, DE), Juliane Debeusscher (Critique d’art, 2018).

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Armin Medosch: New Tendencies: Art at the Threshold of the Information Revolution, 1961–1978 (2016)

27 October 2016, dusan

New Tendencies, a non-aligned modernist art movement, emerged in the early 1960s in the former Yugoslavia, a non-aligned country. It represented a new sensibility, rejecting both Abstract Expressionism and socialist realism in an attempt to formulate an art adequate to the age of advanced mass production. In this book, Armin Medosch examines the development of New Tendencies as a major international art movement in the context of social, political, and technological history. Doing so, he traces concurrent paradigm shifts: the change from Fordism (the political economy of mass production and consumption) to the information society, and the change from postwar modernism to dematerialized postmodern art practices.

Medosch explains that New Tendencies, rather than opposing the forces of technology as most artists and intellectuals of the time did, imagined the rapid advance of technology to be a springboard into a future beyond alienation and oppression. Works by New Tendencies cast the viewer as coproducer, abolishing the idea of artist as creative genius and replacing it with the notion of the visual researcher. In 1968 and 1969, the group actively turned to the computer as a medium of visual research, anticipating new media and digital art.

Medosch discusses modernization in then-Yugoslavia and other nations on the periphery; looks in detail at New Tendencies’ five major exhibitions in Zagreb (the capital of Croatia); and considers such topics as the group’s relation to science, the changing relationship of manual and intellectual labor, New Tendencies in the international art market, their engagement with computer art, and the group’s eventual eclipse by other “new art practices” including conceptualism, land art, and arte povera. Numerous illustrations document New Tendencies’ works and exhibitions.”

Based on 2012 dissertation from Goldsmiths, University of London.

Publisher MIT Press, 2016
Leonardo series
ISBN 9780262034166, 0262034166
x+395 pages

Reviews: Oliver Schürer (Versorgerin 2016, DE), Kristian Lukić (Furtherfield 2017).

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