This reader in Whitechapel's Documents of Contemporary Art series investigates the interchange between art and design. Since the the Pop and Minimalist eras—as the work of artists ranging from Andy Warhol to Dan Graham demonstrates—the traditional boundaries between art and architectural, graphic, and product design have dissolved in critically significant ways. Design and Art traces the rise of the "design-art" phenomenon through the writings of critics and practitioners active in both fields.
In the modern era, the archive—official or personal—has become the most significant means by which historical knowledge and memory are collected, stored, and recovered. The archive has thus emerged as a key site of inquiry in such fields as anthropology, critical theory, history, and, especially, recent art.
The desire to move viewers out of the role of passive observers and into the role of producers is one of the hallmarks of twentieth-century art. This tendency can be found in practices and projects ranging from El Lissitzky's exhibition designs to Allan Kaprow's happenings, from minimalist objects to installation art. More recently, this kind of participatory art has gone so far as to encourage and produce new social relationships.
The dawn of the electronic media age in the 1960s began a cultural shift from the modernist grid and its determination of projection and representation to the fluid structures and circuits of the network, presenting art with new challenges and possibilities. This anthology considers art at the center of network theory, from the 1960s to the present.