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Afterall Books

Dropout Piece

The artist Lee Lozano (1930–1999) began her career as a painter; her work rapidly evolved from figuration to abstraction. In the late 1960s, she created a major series of eleven monochromatic Wave paintings, her last in the medium. Despite her achievements as a painter, Lozano is best known for two acts of refusal, both of which she undertook as artworks: Untitled (General Strike Piece), begun in 1969, in which she cut herself off from the commercial art world for a time; and the so-called Boycott Piece, which began in 1971 as a month-long experiment intended to improve communication but became a permanent hiatus from speaking to or directly interacting with women. In this book, Sarah Lehrer-Graiwer examines Lozano’s Dropout Piece, the culmination of her practice, her greatest experiment in art and endurance, encompassing all her withdrawals, and ending only with her burial in an unmarked grave.

And yet, although Dropout Piece is among Lozano’s most important works, it might not exist at all. There is no conventional artwork to be exhibited, no performance event to be documented. Lehrer-Graiwer views Dropout Piece as leveraging the artist’s entire practice and embodying her creative intelligence, her radicality, and her intensity. Combining art history, analytical inquiry, and journalistic investigation, Lehrer-Graiwer examines not only Lozano’s act of dropping out but also the evolution over time of Dropout Piece in the context of the artist’s practice in New York and her subsequent life in Dallas.

The Studio

Throughout his career, Philip Guston’s work metamorphosed from figural to abstract and back to figural. In the 1950s, Guston (1913–1980) produced a body of shimmering abstract paintings that made him—along with Willem de Kooning, Jackson Pollock, and Franz Kline—an influential abstract expressionist of the “gestural” tendency. In the late 1960s, with works like The Studio came his most radical shift. Drawing from the imagery of his early murals and from elements in his later drawings, ignoring the prevailing “coolness” of Minimalism and antiform abstraction, Guston invented for these late works a cast of cartoon-like characters to articulate a vision that was at once comic, crude, and complex. In The Studio, Guston offers a darkly comic portrait of the artist as a hooded Ku Klux Klansman, painting a self-portrait.

In this concise and generously illustrated book, Craig Burnett examines The Studio in detail. He describes the historical and personal motivations for Guston’s return to figuration and the (mostly negative) critical reaction to the work from Hilton Kramer and others. He looks closely at the structure of The Studio, and at the influence of Piero della Francesca, Manet, and Krazy Kat, among others; and he considers the importance of the column of smoke in the painting—as a compositional device and as a ghost of abstraction and metaphysics. The Studio signals not only Guston’s own artistic evolution but a broader shift, from the medium-centric and teleological claim of modernism to the discursive, carnivalesque, and mucky world of postmodernism.

Phonokinetoscope

Rodney Graham’s Phonokinetoscope (2001) is a five-minute 16mm film loop in which the artist is seen riding his Fischer Original bicycle through Berlin’s Tiergarten while taking LSD, to the soundtrack of a fifteen-minute song (written and performed by Graham) recorded on a vinyl LP. The turntable drives the projection of the film; the film starts when the needle is placed on the record and stops when the needle is taken off. Graham’s ride evokes the Swiss scientist Albert Hoffman’s famous 1943 bicycle ride home after an experimental dose of LSD as well as Paul Newman’s backward-facing ride in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid; the accompanying music presents a thicket of riffs and borrowings. As the images and visual details repeat in the film’s endless loop, the artist’s Phonokinetoscope refers to a surprising number of works of art and literature, displaying a world rich with subtle meaning.

In this illustrated study of Phonokinetoscope, Shep Steiner describes the work as marking Graham’s transition into a new medium. Steiner positions Graham’s practice in relation to postminimalist practice and that of other artists including Dan Graham, but especially, Ian Wallace and Jeff Wall; considers Graham’s rhetoric of playfulness; and finally, beyond the web of references, argues for a notion of allegory and memory theater keyed to the durational work yet satisfying the aesthetic standards of static art. Phonokinetoscope, Steiner argues, looks back to Graham’s earlier works focusing on the notion of protocinema and forward to his later musical preoccupations.

Block-Experiments in Cosmococa—Program in Progress

Hélio Oiticica (1937–1980) occupies a central position in the Latin American avant-garde of the postwar era. Associated with the Rio de Janeiro-based neo-concretist movement at the beginning of his career, Oiticica moved from object production to the creation of chromatically opulent and sensually engulfing large-scale installations or wearable garments. Building on the idea for a film by Brazilian underground filmmaker Neville D’Almeida, Oiticica developed the concept for Block-Experiments in Cosmococa—Program in Progress (1973–1974) as an “open program”: a series of nine proposals for environments, each consisting of slide projections, soundtracks, leisure facilities, drawings (with cocaine used as pigment), and instructions for visitors. It is the epitome of what the artist called his “quasi-cinema” work—his most controversial production, and perhaps his most direct effort to merge art and life. Presented publicly for the first time in 1992, these works have been included in major international exhibitions in Los Angeles, Chicago, London, and New York.

Drawing on unpublished primary sources, letters, and writings by Oiticica himself, this illustrated examination of Oiticica’s work considers the vast catalog of theoretical references the artist’s work relies on, from anticolonial materialism to French phenomenology and postmodern media theory to the work of Jean-Luc Godard, Andy Warhol, and Brazilian avant-garde filmmakers. It discusses Oiticica’s work in relation to the diaspora of Brazilian intellectuals during the military dictatorship, the politics of media circulation, the commercialization of New York’s queer underground, the explicit use of cocaine as means of production, and possible future reappraisals of Oiticica’s work.

Triangle

In Sanja Iveković’s Triangle (Trokut, 1979), four black-and-white photographs and written text capture an eighteen-minute performance from May 10, 1979. On that date, a motorcade carrying Josip Broz Tito, then president of Yugoslavia, drove through the streets of downtown Zagreb. As the President’s limousine passed beneath her apartment, Ivokevic began simulating masturbation on her balcony. Although she could not be seen from the street, she knew that the surveillance teams on the roofs of neighboring buildings would detect her presence. Within minutes, a policeman appeared at her door ordered her inside. Not only did Ivekovic's action expose government repression and call attention to the rights of women, it also called attention to the relationship of gender to power, and to the particular experience of political dissidence under communist rule in Eastern Europe. Triangle is considered one of Iveković’s key works and yet, despite Iveković’s stature as one of the leading artists of the former Yugoslavia, it has received little direct attention. With this book, Ruth Noack offers the first sustained examination of Iveković’s widely exhibited, now canonical artwork.

After a detailed analysis of the work's formal qualities, Noack considers its position in the context of artistic production and political history in socialist Yugoslavia. She looks closely at the genesis of the performance and its documentation as a work of art, and relates the making of the work and the politics of canon-making to issues pertaining to the former East-West divide. She discusses the artistic language and meaning-making in relation to conceptualism and performance and to the position of women in Tito’s Yugoslavia and in society at large, and investigates the notion that Iveković’s work of this period is participating in citizenship, shifting the focus from the artist’s subversive act to her capacity to shape the terms through which we order our world.

Infinity Mirror Room - Phalli’s Field

Almost a half-century after Yayoi Kusama debuted her landmark installation Infinity Mirror Room--Phalli’s Field (1965) in New York, the work remains challenging and unclassifiable. Shifting between the Pop-like and the Surreal, the Minimal and the metaphorical, the figurative and the abstract, the psychotic and the erotic, with references to “free love” and psychedelia, it seemed to embody all that the 1960s was about, while at the same time denying the prevailing aesthetics of its time. The installation itself was a room lined with mirrored panels and carpeted with several hundred brightly polka-dotted soft fabric protrusions into which the visitor was completely absorbed. Kusama simply called it “a sublime, miraculous field of phalluses.” A precursor of performance-based feminist art practice, media pranksterism, and “Occupy” movements, Kusama (born in 1929) was once as well known as her admirers--Andy Warhol, Donald Judd, and Joseph Cornell. In this first monograph on an epoch-defining work, Jo Applin looks at the installation in detail and places it in the context of subsequent art practice and theory as well as Kusama’s own (as she called it) “obsessional art.”

Applin also discusses Kusama’s relationship to her contemporaries, particularly those working with environments, abstract-erotic sculpture, and mirrors, and those grappling with such issues as abstraction, eroticism, sexuality, and softness. The work of Lee Lozano, Claes Oldenburg, Louise Bourgeois, and Eva Hesse is seen anew when considered in relation to Yayoi Kusama’s.

Kunsthalle Bern 1992

Michael Asher (born in 1943), one of the foremost installation artists of the Conceptual art period, is a founder of site-specific practice. Considered a progenitor of institutional critique, he spearheaded the creation of artworks imbued with a self-conscious awareness of their dependence on the conditions of their exhibition context.

In the work Kunsthalle Bern 1992, Asher removed the radiators from all the museum’s exhibition spaces and reassembled them in its entryway gallery. Metal pipes connected the relocated radiators to their original sockets; these tubular conduits, coursing in linear fashion along the Kunsthalle’s walls, kept the steam heat flowing and endowed the installation with directional lines of force. This “displacement of givens” offers a perfect example of site-specific practice, one that took the gallery space and the institution itself as its subject. In this detailed examination of Kunsthalle Bern 1992, Anne Rorimer considers the work in the context of Asher’s ongoing desire to fuse art with the material, economic, and social conditions of institutional presentation.

Rorimer analyzes Kunsthalle Bern 1992 in relation to the earlier innovations of such minimalist artists as Donald Judd, Carl Andre, Robert Morris, Sol LeWitt, Bruce Nauman, and Dan Flavin as well as to such conceptualist contemporaries as Daniel Buren, Dan Graham, and Maria Nordman. She also considers the installation in the context of other works by Asher that have used non-art, functional elements, including walls, or that have investigated museological issues.

One Ball Total Equilibrium Tank

In Jeff Koons’s One Ball Total Equilibrium Tank (1985), a Spalding basketball floats in the center of a glass tank that stands on a four-legged black metal structure. It has been called one of the defining works of the 1980s--but also described (by such critics as Craig Owens, Rosalind Krauss, and Hal Foster) as "an endgame," "misleading," and "repulsive." The work presents what the artist called "the ultimate state of being"--neither death nor life but the absence of change. It captured a spirit of the time, characterized by commodification, seduction, and political inactivity. Its stillness embodied the opposite of social revolution. But the "total equilibrium" of the work is actually temporary. For purely physical reasons, the equilibrium is lost every six months and must be reset.

In this extended essay on Koons's famous work, Michael Archer puts One Ball Total Equilibrium Tank in an art historical framework, describing its initial exhibition at International With Monument in New York and related issues of media, commercialism, and class. He discusses the wider context of the 1980s art world, in which a renewed attention to painting practices met the legacy of Pop and appropriation art--setting the stage for the negative critical reception Koons’s artwork first received. Archer goes on to consider sport as celebrity-maker and industry; the physical science of equilibrium; and the implications of the fact that the equilibrium of One Ball Total Equilibrium Tank is indeed total--but temporary.

Swingeing London 67 (f)

One of the defining paintings of British Pop art, Richard Hamilton’s Swingeing London 67 (f) depicts two men--Mick Jagger and Hamilton’s art dealer Robert Fraser--handcuffed together in the back of a police van. The image is taken from a newspaper photograph that shows the two being driven from Lewes prison to Chichester Magistrates Court following their June 1967 arrest for possession of drugs. The title is a clever and bitter play on words, conflating the "swinging" of 1960s-era London with the "swingeing" (to swinge is to beat or scourge) punishment meted out to new cultural heroes by the law. Hamilton’s painting is far from reportage; it portrays the historical clash of cultures between Pop (and Pop art) and the establishment.

In this illustrated study of Hamilton’s celebrated painting, Andrew Wilson views Swingeing London 67 (f) as history painting, to be understood in the context of the struggle against the British state’s attempt--aided and abetted by the popular press--to repress any expression of personal liberation. Hamilton’s Pop art idiom of figuration and media images was his way of refusing the demands of an old aesthetic order. For him, Pop art was the expression of an open-ended, analytical, critical, and artistic process that reflected his own direct engagement with ethical issues. With Swingeing London 67 (f), Hamilton offers not only a representational image but also a trigger for critical activity--an image of an event and an image of what determines the conditions of that image.

Picture for Women

Jeff Wall's Picture for Women (1979) marks the transition of photography as an art form from the printed page to the gallery wall. Before this, photographs—from the orthodox photographic work of Walker Evans to the Conceptual photography of Dan Graham—seemed intended for the page even when hung in a gallery. In Picture for Women, a woman looks outward, as if at the viewer; a camera occupies the center of the photograph; the photographer stands on the right. Modeled on Manet's famous painting Un Bar aux Folies-Bergère, in which a barmaid seems to look directly out of the painting, observed by a man on the right, Picture for Women establishes its own art historical genealogy, claiming its rightful position within the canon. Wall's photograph is an ambitious attempt to relate the artistic and spectatorial demands of the late 1970s to a modernist pictorial art that had been too hastily rejected by Conceptualism.

In this illustrated study, David Campany offers an account of Wall's move from a Conceptual approach to a reengagement with the idea of a singular (as opposed to serial) picture. He shows that Wall's decision to present his work as a large-scale back-lit transparency, together with his commitment to a singular image, amounted to a radical departure. He contrasts Wall’s idea of the photograph as a tableau or "picture," inherited from the history of painting, with the works of the "Pictures Generation"—including Richard Prince, Cindy Sherman, and Jack Goldstein—and argues that Picture for Women is inseparable from the modern fate of the picture in general.

Conical Intersect

Gordon Matta-Clark's Conical Intersect (1975) was a torqued, spiraling "cut" into two derelict seventeenth-century Paris buildings adjacent to the construction site of the controversial Centre Pompidou. With this landmark work of "anarchtecture," Matta-Clark not only opened up these venerable residences to light and air, he also began a dialogue about the nature of urban development and the public role of art. Considered three and a half decades later, Conical Intersect reveals the multivalent nature of the artist’s practice and his prescient focus on sustainability and creative reuse of the built environment.

Conical Intersect and the two buildings were demolished as part of a large-scale urban renovation of the historic market district of Les Halles; today we can know the work only from drawings, photographs, and a short Super 8 film. In this illustrated study, Bruce Jenkins examines Matta-Clark's "non-u-ment," looking closely at the artist’s proposals, working process, various forms of documentation, and the dialogue begun by Matta-Clark's decision to transform two abandoned buildings "into an act of communication."

Imagevirus

In the mid-1980s, the Canadian art group General Idea (AA Bronson, Felix Partz, and Jorge Zontal) created a symbol using the acronym AIDS, arranging the letters in a manner that resembled Robert Indiana's famous LOVE logo. This launched Imagevirus, a project of paintings, sculptures, videos, posters, and exhibitions that investigated the term AIDS as both word and image, using the mechanism of viral transmission. The Imagevirus spread like a virus, producing an image epidemic in urban spaces from Manhattan to Sydney. It was displayed as, among other things, a Spectacolor sign in Times Square, a sculpture on a street in Hamburg, and a poster in the New York subway system. In this detailed study of the Imagevirus project, artist and writer Gregg Bordowitz analyzes the work from the perspective of his own involvement with activist art initiatives in New York during the 1980s and 1990s.

Bordowitz explores the virus as idea, as tactic, and as identity. General Idea felt compelled to make Imagevirus at a time when AIDS was emerging as a global epidemic affecting gay men disproportionately; when homophobia seemed to drive U.S. AIDS policy; and when the exigencies of AIDS activism created a demand for agit-prop and direct action. General Idea adapted their methods to the new situation, using the threat of viral infection and a poetic understanding of language as their model for artistic production and ideological struggle.

One Work series
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Technology/Transformation: Wonder Woman

Opening with a prolonged salvo of fiery explosions accompanied by the warning cry of a siren, Dara Birnbaum's video Technology/Transformation: Wonder Woman (1978–79) is a concise, action-packed, and visually riveting video. During its seven-minute span we see, again and again, the transformation of the drab secretary Diana Prince into the super-heroic Wonder Woman. By isolating and repeating the moment of transformation—spinning figure, arms outstretched—Birnbaum unmasks the technology at the heart of the metamorphosis. In this illustrated examination of Birnbaum's video, T. J. Demos situates it in its historical context—among other developments in postmodernist appropriation, media analysis, and feminist politics—and explores the artist's pioneering attempts to open up the transformative abilities of video as a medium.

Demos examines Birnbaum's influence on such artists as Douglas Gordon, Pierre Huyghe, Philippe Parreno, and Candice Breitz, and the turn toward "postproduction procedures"—the mobilization of existing imagery for innovative uses. He also reveals a fascinating historical shift in the reception of Birnbaum's work: a move from an emphasis on her deconstruction of mass culture ideology to an appreciation of her creative use of consumer imagery.

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Étant donnés

Following Marcel Duchamp's death in 1968, the Philadelphia Museum of Art stunned the art world by unveiling a project on which he had been working secretly for twenty years, long after he had supposedly given up art for chess. Installed by the museum curators with the assistance of Duchamp's widow Teeny and stepson Paul Matisse, Étant donnés (known in English as Given, or, literally, "being given") consists of a small room with a locked wooden door; through a peephole can be seen a landscape of trees, with a naked female figure at the front, her arm outstretched, holding a lamp.

In this illustrated study, Julian Haladyn argues that Duchamp's intention in this final piece was similar to Raymond Roussel's in How I Wrote Certain of My Books: not, as many have maintained, to provide a neat summation of his career, but the opposite—to open his artwork (which he had made sure was fully represented in the Philadelphia Museum of Art's collection) to endless interpretation and reinterpretation. Duchamp's engagement with his legacy (by orchestrating first the purchase of his work and then the donation of those purchases to the museum) is a significant historical development in the critical relationship between artists and the institution of art—a relationship that would later be further explored by such artists as Andrea Fraser and Michael Asher. Additionally, Haladyn sees that the staging of Étant donnés—especially the way that Duchamp forces viewers to become aware of the act of looking and their bodily presence in the gallery space—foreshadowed strategies used by Minimalism as well as installation, spectatorship, and institutional critique.

One Work series
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A Line Made by Walking

In 1967, Richard Long, then twenty-two years old and a student at Saint Martin's School of Art in London, walked back and forth along a straight line in the grass in the English countryside, leaving a track that he then photographed in black and white. The resulting work, A Line Made by Walking, was not only the starting point for Long's career as an artist but also a landmark for a new kind of art emerging in Europe and the Americas. The formal simplicity of Long's artwork suggested a relation to minimalism, but its location outside the gallery context and its suggestion of bodily actions also connected it to a new generation of artists whose work combined the organic, the temporary, the nonmaterial, and the performative to offer a critique of the art system and its language, forms, and values. Long's work bridged the concerns of his North American and European counterparts, connecting the industrial scale of Robert Smithson to the modesty of Gilberto Zorio, the exercises in dematerialization of Robert Morris with the organic forms of Alighiero e Boetti, and the performance of Yvonne Rainer with that of Joseph Beuys.

Although A Line Made by Walking is an instantly recognizable work, no detailed analysis of this foundational piece has yet been published. At a time when Richard Long's career is being celebrated and reassessed, this study by writer and curator Dieter Roelstraete could not be more timely.

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Wavelength

In 1966, at the height of minimal art in New York, artist Michael Snow chose not to make another object to be placed in a room but instead spent a year planning a film of a room: Wavelength, a forty-five-minute more or less straight-line zoom from the near to the far wall of a loft space, accompanied by a rising sine wave.

In this illustrated study, Elizabeth Legge describes Wavelength as a film of virtuosically managed tensions, sensuous beauty, subtle light and color, and recession into perspectival depth. At the same time, she points out, it is also austere: the loft space where the action unfolds could be the last clerical outpost of a defunct business. The zoom is punctuated by what Snow laconically called "4 human events": a woman directs two men who carry in a bookcase and place it against the left wall of the room; two women come in and listen to the Beatles' "Strawberry Fields" on the radio; a man briefly appears after protracted crashing and glass-breaking noises, wheels around, and drops dead; a young woman comes into the room and makes a frightened telephone call reporting the dead man ("And he doesn't look drunk, he looks dead.").

Wavelength won the grand prize for experimental film at Knokke-le-Zoute in 1967, and it was crucial to critics' efforts to establish a vocabulary for temporal art. It was a "wavelength" that could stand up to the French new wave, and it has has functioned ever since as a touchstone for art and film studies, and as a blue screen in front of which a range of ideological and intellectual dramas have been played.

One Work series
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About the Artist

Michael Snow is a Canadian artist, film-maker, and musician.

Au Naturel

Amna Malik opens her study of Sarah Lucas's Au Naturel (1994) by asking "Does art have a sex? And if so, what does it look like?" Au Naturel is an assemblage of objects—a mattress, a bucket, a pair of melons, oranges and a cucumber—that suggest male and female body parts. Through much of Lucas's work, and particularly through Au Naturel, Malik argues, we are placed in a position of spectatorship that makes us see "sex" as so many dismembered parts, with no apparent morality attached—no implication of guilt, shame, or embarrassment. The sardonic and irreverent nature of Lucas's observations, moreover, violates certain assumptions about what kind of art women artists make. This, Malik proposes, is the significance of Lucas's work for a later generation of artists who are unburdened by the need to insist on questions of gender and sexual politics as a necessary subject for the woman artist.

Lucas's shift between high and low art and culture operates as a shift between "high" aesthetic ideas about the art object as a metaphoric play of meaning and its "low" associations with the materiality of the literal object and its allusions to the genitals and sex. Au Naturel creates a series of associations that bring the ideal into collision with a base materialism emphasizing desire as a condition of the meaning of the object.

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About the Artist

Sarah Lucas's work has been included in the major surveys of new British art in the 1990s, including Sensation: Young British Artists from the Saatchi Collection. Au Naturel, made for and exhibited for the first time in "Football Karaoke," organized by Georg Herold for Portikus, Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany, 1994, is in Damien Hirst's "murderme" collection.

Cultural History 1880–1983

Hanne Darboven's Kulturgeschichte 1880-1983 (Cultural History 1880-1983) (1980-1983) is an overwhelming and encyclopedic installation consisting of 1,590 works on paper and 19 sculptural objects. The work weaves together cultural, social, and historical references with autobiographical documents, postcards, pinups of film and rock stars, documentary references to the first and second world wars, geometric diagrams for textile weaving, a sampling of New York doorways, illustrated covers from news magazines, the contents of an exhibition catalogue devoted to postwar European and American art, a kitschy literary calendar, and extracts from some of Darboven's earlier works. The panels are sequenced and grouped, with the groups then juxtaposed in arrangements that often seem little more than chance associations.

In his illustrated walk through Darboven's massive work, Dan Adler explores its visual and aesthetic complexities and considers the work in relation to various projects undertaken by European artists in the 1960s—including Gerhard Richter's ongoing Atlas. The work is now permanently installed at Dia: Beacon.

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La Jetée

Chris Marker's legendary "ciné roman" ("film novel") La Jetée is considered one of the greatest and most influential experimental films of all time. This short film—a postapocalyptic story composed almost entirely of black-and-white still photographs—has been praised by cultural theorists and Netflix subscribers alike. In this illustrated study of La Jetée, Janet Harbord focuses in part on the film's treatment of time—its shifts from a pre-war past to a projected future a further future of the future (each with its own signature images and sound)—arguing that in this way it addresses the nature of consciousness and the simultaneity of time-frames that we inhabit. Harbord moves easily from a close reading of the film to discussions of broader cultural issues, lucidly piecing together the enigma that is La Jetée.

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Mappa

In 1971 Alighiero e Boetti commissioned Afghan embroiderers to create a map of the world, with each country bearing the colours and pattern of its flag. The commission grew into a beautifully crafted, large-scale series of maps produced over a period of twenty years in Kabul, Afghanistan and Peshawar, Pakistan. Each map tracked geopolitical changes throughout the world: the break-up of the Soviet Union, the unification of Germany, disputes over territories in the Middle East and regime changes in the Eurasian peninsula. In this new study, Italian curator Luca Cerizza looks at Boetti's Mappa in relation to world events and the history of map-making, as well as to the contemporary art movements of Minimalism, Conceptualism and Arte Povera.

Blow Job

In Andy Warhol's silent black-and-white movie, Blow Job (1964), a youth is filmed as he is apparently being given the sex act named in the title. The 35-minute film is accentuated by the paucity of expression on the actor's face: we see only his head and shoulders, rigidly framed so that all offscreen space has to be imagined, or avoided. Sometimes the young actor looks bored, sometimes as if he is thinking, sometimes as if he is aware of the camera, sometimes as if he is not. Like the protagonists of other Warhol films, he is apparently left to his own devices.

Warhol's 16mm films (including Blow Job, Sleep, Empire, and Henry Geldzahler), with their take on boredom, voyeurism, and the supposedly unmoving camera, continue to be influential today. In their own era of the early 1960s, they forced avant-garde film away from various forms of romantic illusionism and onto the reality of the specific film-as-projected. The film process itself became inseparable from the act of the viewer's viewing. In this extended examination of Blow Job, Peter Gidal deciphers the structures, abstract and concrete, of Warhol's crucial film. Warhol's techniques—the use of the close-up, the general use of camera movement, and the complete theatrical mise en scène—(especially when compared to the Godardian cinéma vérité of the time) make the materiality of the film process, its making and viewing, ineluctably present.

The Way Things Go

The Way Things Go (Der Lauf der Dinge) is a thirty-minute film by Swiss artists Peter Fischli and David Weiss featuring a series of chain reactions involving ordinary objects. It is also one of the truly amazing works of art produced in the late twentieth century. Admired, even loved, by members of the public as much as it is praised by the more specialist audience of artists, critics, and curators, The Way Things Go was perhaps the most popular work shown at Documenta 8, Kassel, in 1987. The work embodies many of the qualities that make Fischli and Weiss's work among the most captivating in the world today: slapstick humor and profound insight; a forensic attention to detail; a sense of illusion and transformation; and the dynamic exchange between states of order and chaos.

In discussing what makes The Way Things Go utterly compelling to its viewers—whether they have seen it one time or many times—Jeremy Millar leaves no doubt as to why this film was chosen for the One Work series. As everyday objects crash, scrape, slide, or fly into one another with devastating, impossible, and persuasive effect, viewers find themselves witnessing a spectacle that seems at once prehistoric and postapocalyptic. Millar tells us why this extraordinary film speaks to us at the beginning of the twenty-first century. If history is "just one thing after another," then The Way Things Go is truly a historic work.

Swiss artists Peter Fischli and David Weiss received Europe's most coveted art prize, the Roswitha Haftmann Prize, in November 2006. A major retrospective of their work, "Flowers and Questions," originating at the Tate, London, travels to Zurich and Hamburg in 2007 and 2008.

The Mind is a Muscle

"It is my overall concern to reveal people as they are engaged in various kinds of activities—alone, with each other, with objects—and to weight the quality of the human body towards that of objects and away from the super-stylization of the dancer."
Yvonne Rainer, STATEMENT accompanying The Mind is a Muscle, 1968

In 1968, toward the end of a decade that witnessed civil rights protests, the escalation of the war in Vietnam, and an expanded notion of artistic practice (epitomized by "Happenings"), Yvonne Rainer presented her evening-length work, The Mind is a Muscle. A choreographed, multipart performance for seven dancers, interspersed with film and text, this major work was built upon a backbone of variations on Rainer's dance solo, Trio A. In this extended illustrated essay exploring The Mind is a Muscle, Catherine Wood examines the political and media context in which Rainer chose to use the dance-theatre situation as her medium and analyzes Rainer's radical approach to image-making in live form.

Rainer's work has been linked strongly with minimalist sculpture: she compared the neutral, specific qualities of those objects to her own "work-like" or "task-like," "ordinary" dance, and she collaborated early on with Robert Morris. But The Mind is a Muscle manifests an agitated and contradictory relationship to the idea of "work" in the context of an affluent, postwar America. Wood describes the way the choreography of The Mind is a Muscle proposed a new lexicon of movement that stripped away the gestural conventions of dance or theater narrative in an attempt to present the human subject on her own terms while at the same time manipulating the seductiveness of the image, increasingly being harnessed by capitalism. Rainer's legacy persists through her decision to allow the Trio A from The Mind is a Muscle as a "multiple," distributed by being taught to many dancers and non-dancers, proposing, Wood argues, for the art object as code.

Choreographer and filmmaker Yvonne Rainer was one of the founders of the Judson Dance Theater in 1962. Her autobiography, Feelings are Facts, was published by The MIT Press in 2006.

Save the Last Dance for Me

"You want beauty? I’ll give you beauty!"
—Mary Heilmann

Mary Heilmann is one of the most important abstract painters of her generation. Her distinctively fluid, humorous, and bright canvases combine the modes of Abstract Expressionism with a vibrant Pop sensibility. Heilmannn's 1979 painting in hot pink and black, evocatively titled Save the Last Dance for Me, marked a shift in the artist's perspective. Heilmann describes it: "Now the work came from a different place. Instead of working out of modernist non-image formalism, I began to see that the choices in the work depended more on content for their meaning." This beautifully illustrated study of Save the Last Dance for Me explores the development of Heilmann's work, and the way it continues to engage us—psychologically, sensually, and socially.

The three bright pink rectangles in Heilmann's painting seem to dance off the edge of the canvas, through a black field that seems dark as a nightclub after midnight—or perhaps the three are actually one pink rectangle, seen in a blissfully formal time lapse, moving across the dance floor/canvas. These definitively modernist geometric forms coexist with a sense of movement in real time. For many, abstraction may have been dancing its last dance in 1979, but Heilmann's bright pink rectangles boogie on.

Mary Heilmann was born in San Francisco and has lived and worked in New York since 1968.

Celebration? Realife

Marc Camille Chaimowicz was one of the first artists to merge the realms of performance and installation art. Chaimowicz distinguished himself in an era of stark minimalism by his unabashed pursuit of the beautiful, establishing himself in the 1970s with art that was playful and subtly seductive. Chaimowicz's post-Pop scatter environments owed as much to glam rock as to art practice and were informed by modern French literature (Gide, Cocteau, Proust, and Gênet) as well as by art theory. His important 1972 installation Celebration? Realife featured masks, mirrors, various small objects, including masks and a mirror ball, music by the Rolling Stones, David Bowie, and others-and the artist, serving tea and engaging visitors in conversation in an adjacent room. It raised questions about public/private dichotomies, art/design boundaries, and identifications based on gender, and recast the artist as a kind of art director and stage designer. This work's recent reinstallation (as Celebration? Realife Revisited 1972/2000) and the critical acclaim it inspired confirms Chaimowicz's importance and points to his relationships with artists as different and as difficult as Cerith Wyn Evans, Jutta Koether, Kai Althoff, and others. This richly illustrated study of Celebration? Realife, with many color images, uses Chaimowicz's installation to reconstruct that cultural moment in the 1970s when the role of the artist and the relationships of art, design, popular culture, and performance changed.celebration_realife1.jpg

Performance artist Marc Camille Chaimowicz was born in Paris and teaches in the M.F.A. course at the University of Reading and is visiting consultant at L'Ecole Nationale des Beaux-Arts, Dijon. He is the author of Café du Réve.

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