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January 07, 2014

Intervention Series II

Posted by: Dave Ryman

In continuing with our exploration of the Semiotext(e) Intervention series we shift our focus from the manifestos of possible anarchists and take a look at an impassioned text that champions some of the most daring artwork of the past decade.

No matter the method, all art is really a simple combination of time and human interaction, even in an age of increased digitalization and the resulting distance. In Where Art Belongs, celebrated author Chris Kraus explores how these mediums are being manipulated and shaped in new ways to create unique works of art. In four provocative essays—“No More Utopias,” “Body Not Apart,” “Matrix,” and “Drift”—Kraus examines the role of time and collaboration in everything from dedicated artist collectives like the Bernadette Corporation to commercial institutions like American Apparel.

Throughout the book, Kraus explores just how far these mediums can be stretched. In “No More Utopias,” she dives into the work of Elke Krystufek, who travels to remote lands to investigate and respond to the work of dead artists. In “Body Not Apart,” Kraus recounts her involvement with the traveling and ever-evolving Sex Workers Art Show to illustrate the opposite—the possibilities for immediate and intimate artistic expression.

In these episodes and others, Kraus provides inspiring examples of artists collaborating to retrieve and influence space and time. But perhaps the most fascinating aspect of Where Art Belongs is Kraus’ exploration of things outside of art. Privatized prisons, corporate philanthropy, and cell phone use are all discussed in this book, illustrating the many unexpected connections that bind consumerism, everyday society and the art world in what Kraus calls the matrix, and illuminating our own involvement in the works we experience.

Written with accessible and infectious enthusiasm, Where Art Belongs not only outlines where art lives now, but also provides a guidepost for where it is going and why we should be hopeful.

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