Where Art Belongs
176 pp., 5 x 7 in,
- Published: January 21, 2011
- Publisher: Semiotext(e)
Chris Kraus examines artistic enterprises of the past decade that reclaim the use of lived time as a material in the creation of visual art.
In Where Art Belongs, Chris Kraus examines artistic enterprises of the past decade that reclaim the use of lived time as a material in the creation of visual art. In four interlinked essays, Kraus expands the argument begun in her earlier book Video Green that “the art world is interesting only insofar as it reflects the larger world outside it.” Moving from New York to Berlin to Los Angeles to the Pueblo Nuevo barrio of Mexicali, Kraus addresses such subjects as the ubiquity of video, the legacy of the 1960s Amsterdam underground newspaper Suck, and the activities of the New York art collective Bernadette Corporation. She examines the uses of boredom, poetry, privatized prisons, community art, corporate philanthropy, vertically integrated manufacturing, and discarded utopias, revealing the surprising persistence of microcultures within the matrix. Chronicling the sometimes doomed but persistently heroic efforts of small groups of artists to reclaim public space and time, Where Art Belongs describes the trend towards collectivity manifested in the visual art world during the past decade, and the small forms of resistance to digital disembodiment and the hegemony of the entertainment/media/culture industry. For all its faults, Kraus argues, the art world remains the last frontier for the desire to live differently.
Chris Kraus [is] one of our smartest and most original writers on contemporary art and culture.
The New York Times "ArtsBeat"
Writer and filmmaker Chris Kraus is searingly aware of the discourse in which she functions, and transforms it into something redolent of Simone Weil's poeticism and its daunting theoretical undercurrents.
Kraus's text is not a collective call to arms, but an incitement to find art, to read in a heroic way, and to create a moment—as an individual or within a group—where one's relationship to the past is dictated only by the chance nature of what the present has thrown at you.
Glasgow Review of Books
Chris Kraus's nuanced approach is akin to a cultural anthropologist who considers creativity in its natural habitats, the spaces where art comes into being.
InWhere Art Belongs, art theory becomes political philosophy: art matters insofar as it remains a practice, not a product. For Kraus, such practice is a means for establishing a way of life outside accepted capitalist conventions.
[A] super fascinating thing in this book is an essay called 'Indelible Video'... This essay is a total milestone...'Indelible Video' is so fascinating and consequential that it can't be summarized here, however it is way worth the price of the book.
For Kraus, art is something that happens when flows of ideas and images come together in a place people make together, usually somewhere out of the way a bit. There could be some struggle involved. Some of the people might be fuck-ups (ditto the ideas, images, etc). She has a finely tuned radar for the political economy of art worlds, which is a distinctive hum in the background of the otherwise well oiled machine of the prose. While not ignorant (or faux ignorant) of the Artworld, there's a certain studied indifference to it. What matters in the long run is whether art is a rubric under which somebody did something interesting; for, with or to anybody else. If they made a living off it without being assholes about it, well good luck to them, but that's a tangential story. So in this book we get post-post-punk angelinos, sex worker art works, a tribute to an artist who sailed away off the edge of the world. There's also Bernadette Corp at Green Naftali (tres chic!) but only because they are interesting...So if any of those things are of interest, buy this book when it comes out.