Artful Objects

From Sternberg Press / Experiments in Art and Capitalism

Artful Objects

Graham Harman on Art and the Business of Speculative Realism

By Graham Harman

Edited by Isak Nilson and Erik Wikberg

A lecture by the originator of object-oriented philosophy, delivered on the occasion of the Sculpture after Sculpture exhibition at Moderna Museet, Stockholm.

Distributed for Sternberg Press





A lecture by the originator of object-oriented philosophy, delivered on the occasion of the Sculpture after Sculpture exhibition at Moderna Museet, Stockholm.

Can objects be traumatized? How does the commercial value of an art object relate to its aesthetic qualities? How do objects interact? These are some of the questions addressed by Graham Harman, the originator of object-oriented philosophy and a central figure of the Speculative Realism school of thought in contemporary philosophy. This book includes Harman's lecture “What Is an Object?” delivered at Moderna Museet in Stockholm, on the occasion of the exhibition Sculpture after Sculpture, with Jeff Koons, Charles Ray, and Katharina Fritsch—artists who have expanded the notion of the object in art and society at large.

In his lecture, Harman gives a thorough exposition of the object from an ontological standpoint and puts forward a concept of the object that goes beyond reductionist orientations. He declares a philosophical approach bringing philosophy and the arts closely together, where objects are impenetrable to direct knowledge and paraphrase and instead must be approached obliquely and indirectly. The publication also includes a symposium in which thirteen questions to Harman—in relation to the thirteen sculptures of the show—that were posed about the implications of object-oriented philosophy for art, business administration, and philosophy.


Graham Harman, Daniel Birnbaum, Lars Strannegård, Sven-Olov Wallenstein, Pierre Guillet de Monthoux, Marcia Cavalcante, Jo Widoff, Sigrid Sandström, Michael Dahlén, Emma Stenström, Jenny Lanz, Ebba Sjögren, Isak Nilson, Erik Wikberg

Copublished with the Stockholm School of Economics


$19.95 T ISBN: 9783956795244 84 pp. | 5 in x 7.5 in 13 color illus.

Not for sale in Europe or the UK.


Isak Nilson

Erik Wikberg

Erik Wikberg is a Researcher at Stockholm School of Economics.


  • Artful Objects by SSE Art Initiative goes beyond the fear of pooling knowledge.

    Hans Ulrich Obrist

    Artistic Director, Serpentine Galleries, London

  • The next step in SSE Art Initiative's inspiring intellectual journey is a series of publications gathering important thinkers and artists. In the first volume you can take part in thought-provoking experiments in art and capitalism and find out if art is an object or not.

    Sara Arrhenius

    Vice Chancellor, Royal Institute of Art, Stockholm

  • This credo provokes us to liberate things from the slavery of under- and overmining. To cast off the yokes of servile economic commodities laboring as pecuniary objects. It is also a book, mind you, performatively escaping its own servitude to herald artful entrepreneurship as: Where to start? Start with Art!

    Daniel Hjorth

    Professor, Copenhagen Business School, Nottingham Business School; Adjunct Professor, Kyoto University

  • SSE Art Initiative brings together art, business, and philosophy in a way that is vibrant, relevant, and meaningful and underlines art's ability to fertilize and influence society.

    Gitte Ørskou

    Director, Moderna Museet, Stockholm