Karen Kurczynski: The Art and Politics of Asger Jorn: The Avant-Garde Won’t Give Up (2014)

25 April 2019, dusan

“Danish artist Asger Jorn has long been recognized for his founding contributions to the Cobra and Situationist International movements – yet art historical scholarship on Jorn has been sparse, particularly in English. This study offers a synthetic account of the essential phases of this artist’s career. It addresses his works in various media alongside his extensive writings and his collaborations with various artists’ groups from the 1940s through the mid-1960s. Situating Jorn’s work in an international, post-Second World War context, Karen Kurczynski reframes our understanding of the 1950s, away from the Abstract-Expressionist focus on individual expression, toward a more open-ended conception of art as a public engagement with contemporary culture and politics.”

Publisher Ashgate, 2014
ISBN 9781409431978, 1409431975
xiii+261 pages
via Situationist Library

Publisher
WorldCat

PDF (13 MB)

Stevphen Shukaitis: The Composition of Movements to Come: Aesthetics and Cultural Labor after the Avant-Garde (2016)

14 July 2018, dusan

“How does the avant-garde create spaces in everyday life that subvert regimes of economic and political control? How do art, aesthetics and activism inform one another? And how do strategic spaces of creativity become the basis for new forms of production and governance?

The Composition of Movements to Come reconsiders the history and the practices of the avant-garde, from the Situationists to the Art Strike, revolutionary Constructivism to Laibach and Neue Slowenische Kunst, through an autonomist Marxist framework. Moving the framework beyond an overly narrow class analysis, the book explores broader questions of the changing nature of cultural labor and forms of resistance around this labor. It examines a doubly articulated process of refusal: the refusal of separating art from daily life and the re-fusing of these antagonistic energies by capitalist production and governance. This relationship opens up a new terrain for strategic thought in relation to everyday politics, where the history of the avant-garde is no longer separated from broader questions of political economy or movement, but becomes a point around which to reorient these considerations.”

Publisher Rowman & Littlefield, London & New York, 2016
New Politics of Autonomy series
ISBN 9781783481736, 1783481730
xx+176 pages

Reviews: Gregory Sholette (Critical Inquiry, 2015), Marc James Léger (Afterimage, 2016), Martin Parker (Culture Machine, 2017).

Publisher
WorldCat

PDF (4 MB)

Simon Sadler: The Situationist City (1998)

29 August 2017, dusan

“From 1957 to 1972 the artistic and political movement known as the Situationist International (SI) worked aggressively to subvert the conservative ideology of the Western world. The movement’s broadside attack on “establishment” institutions and values left its mark upon the libertarian left, the counterculture, the revolutionary events of 1968, and more recent phenomena from punk to postmodernism. But over time it tended to obscure Situationism’s own founding principles. In this book, Simon Sadler investigates the artistic, architectural, and cultural theories that were once the foundations of Situationist thought, particularly as they applied to the form of the modern city.

According to the Situationists, the benign professionalism of architecture and design had led to a sterilization of the world that threatened to wipe out any sense of spontaneity or playfulness. The Situationists hankered after the “pioneer spirit” of the modernist period, when new ideas, such as those of Marx, Freud, and Nietzsche, still felt fresh and vital.

By the late fifties, movements such as British and American Pop Art and French Nouveau Ralisme had become intensely interested in everyday life, space, and mass culture. The SI aimed to convert this interest into a revolution—at the level of the city itself. Their principle for the reorganization of cities was simple and seductive: let the citizens themselves decide what spaces and architecture they want to live in and how they wish to live in them. This would instantly undermine the powers of state, bureaucracy, capital, and imperialism, thereby revolutionizing people’s everyday lives.

Simon Sadler searches for the Situationist City among the detritus of tracts, manifestos, and works of art that the SI left behind. The book is divided into three parts. The first, “The Naked City,” outlines the Situationist critique of the urban environment as it then existed. The second, “Formulary for a New Urbanism,” examines Situationist principles for the city and for city living. The third, “A New Babylon,” describes actual designs proposed for a Situationist City.”

Publisher MIT Press, 1998
ISBN 9780262193924
ix+233 pages
via heimitokunst, ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Reviews: Andrew Hussey (LRB, 1999), Notbored (n.d.), Andy Merrifield (Harvard Design Mag, 2000), Rosemary Wakeman (French Polit Cult Soc, 2000), James L. Penner (TDR, 2001), Sarah Deyong (J Society Arch Hist, 2001), Benedict Seymour (Mute, 2004), Natasha Gershfield (Manchester School Arch, 2010).

Publisher
WorldCat

PDF