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Theory in Contemporary Art Since 1985



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  • Theory in Contemporary Art Since 1985
    Theory in Contemporary Art Since 1985


An updated edition of the hugely successful original anthology that captures the essence and the edge of the contemporary art scene. Reedited to include new essays that cover todays topics such as new media and repatriation, this volume brings together a broad selection of important contributions that map out the role that critical theory has played in contemporary art.

Author Biography

Zoya Kocur is an independent scholar based in New York. She has taught at New York University and the Rhode Island School of Design, and is the former Associate Curator of Education at the New Museum of Contemporary Art. Her publications include Global Visual Cultures: An Anthology (2011) and, as co-editor, Contemporary Art and Multicultural Education (1996).

Simon Leung is an artist based in New York and Los Angeles, and Professor of Studio Art at the University of California, Irvine, where he heads the New Genres area. His work has been exhibited at the Whitney Biennial, Venice Biennale, and the Guangzhou Triennial. 

Table of Contents

Text, Figure, and Plate Credits viii

How To Use this Book xvi

Notes on Contributors xix

Introduction 1

Part I The Field of Contemporary Art 7

1 The Intellectual Field: A World Apart (1990) 13
Pierre Bourdieu

2 When Form Has Become Attitude – And Beyond (1994) 21
Thierry de Duve

3 One Place After Another: Notes on Site Specifi city (1997) 34
Miwon Kwon

4 Biennials without Borders? (2009) 56
Chin-Tao Wu

5 Periodising Contemporary Art (2009) 64
Alexander Alberro

6 Contemporary Art and the Politics of Aesthetics (2009) 72
Jacques Rancière

Part II Practices and Models/Rethinking Form and Medium 87

7 A Note on Gerhard Richter’s October 18, 1977 (1989) 94
Benjamin H. D. Buchloh

8 Notes on Surface: Toward a Genealogy of Flatness (2000) 102
David Joselit

9 Informe without Conclusion (1996) 118
Rosalind Krauss

10 Video Projection: The Space Between Screens 131
Liz Kotz

11 How to Provide an Artistic Service: An Introduction (1994) 146
Andrea Fraser

12 Conversation Pieces: The Role of Dialogue in Socially-Engaged Art (2003) 153
Grant Kester

13 Antagonism and Relational Aesthetics (2004) 166
Claire Bishop

Part III Culture/Identities/Political Agency 195

14 The War on Culture (1990) 203
Carole S. Vance

15 AIDS: Cultural Analysis/Cultural Activism (2002) 211
Douglas Crimp

16 Architecture of the Evicted (1990) 220
Rosalyn Deutsche

17 Gender is Burning: Questions of Appropriation and Subversion (1993) 235
Judith Butler

18 Looking for Trouble (1993) 252
Kobena Mercer

19 The Mythology of Difference: Vulgar Identity Politics at the Whitney Biennial (1993) 263
Charles A. Wright, Jr.

20 Haunted TV (1992) 280
Avital Ronell

21 The Architecture of Porn: Museum, Urban Detritus, and Cinematic Stag-rooms (2012) 289
Beatriz Preciado

22 Cultural Workers as Organic Intellectuals (2008) 299
Chantal Mouffe

Part IV Postcolonial Critiques 309

23 The Marco Polo Syndrome: Some Problems around Art and Eurocentrism (1993) 314
Gerardo Mosquera

24 In the “Heart of Darkness” (1993) 322
Olu Oguibe

25 The Syncretic Turn: Cross-Cultural Practices in the Age of Multiculturalism (1996) 329
Jean Fisher

26 Authenticity, Refl exivity, and Spectacle: Or, the Rise of New Asia is not the End of the World (2004) 338
Lee Weng Choy

27 All-Owning Spectatorship (1991) 354
Trinh T. Minh-Ha

28 Ruins, Fragmentation, and the Chinese Modern/Postmodern (1998) 371
Wu Hung

Part V Art Subjects/Historical Subjects 381

29 Re-politicizing Art, Theory, Representation and New Media Technology (2008) 388
Marina Gr?ini?

30 Miming the Master: Boy-Things, Bad Girls, and Femmes Vitales (1996) 395
Mary Kelly

31 Zones of Indistinction: Giorgio Agamben’s ‘Bare Life’ and the Politics of Aesthetics (2009) 416
Anthony Downey

32 The Database (2001) 435
Lev Manovich

33 For the Love of Abstraction (2008) 455
Blake Stimson

34 The Politics of Sustainability: Art and Ecology (2009) 466
T. J. Demos

Appendix: Letters and Responses

Contingent Factors: A Response to Claire Bishop’s “Antagonism and Relational Aesthetics” 486
Liam Gillick

Index 498

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