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Paperback | $39.95 Trade | £32.95 | 382 pp. | 9 x 10.5 in | 800 color illus. | August 2015 | ISBN: 9780262528214
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Out of Now, Updated Edition

The Lifeworks of Tehching Hsieh


In the vibrant downtown Manhattan art scene of the late 1970s and early 1980s, the Taiwanese-American artist Tehching Hsieh made a series of extraordinary performance art works. Between September 1978 and July 1986, Hsieh realized five separate one-year-long performance pieces in which he conformed to simple but highly restrictive rules throughout each entire year.

Through the course of these lifeworks, Hsieh moved from a year of solitary confinement in a sealed cell to a year in which he punched a worker’s time clock in his studio every hour on the hour to a year spent living without shelter in Manhattan to a year in which he was tied by an eight-foot rope to the artist Linda Montano and finally to a year of total abstention from all art activities and influences. In 1986 Hsieh announced that he would spend the next thirteen years making art but not showing it publicly. When this “final” lifework—an immense act of self-affirmation and self-erasure—came to a close at the turn of the millennium, he tersely and enigmatically said that during this time he had simply kept himself alive.

After years of near-invisibility, Hsieh collaborated with the British writer and curator Adrian Heathfield to create this meticulous and visually arresting documentary record of the complete body of Tehching Hsieh’s performance projects from 1978 to 1999. This milestone volume is now available again, in a paperback edition featuring the full text and all the illustrations in the hardcover, with an updated list of Hsieh’s exhibitions.

Copublished with the Live Art Development Agency, London.

About the Authors

Adrian Heathfield is Professor of Performance and Visual Culture at Roehampton University, London. He is the editor of Live: Art and Performance, Small Acts, and Shattered Anatomies.

Tehching Hsieh is an artist based in New York City.


“An aesthetic object in itself, Out of Now is a unique contribution to the field that blurs distinctionsbetween theory and practice and offers a compelling exploration of the relationshipbetween performance and the act of writing about performance.”—Lara Shalson, The Drama Review

“The visual and emotional yield of Hsieh's works is overpowering: the 365-image photo-essay ofthe year that Hsieh and artist Linda Montano spent tethered to one another with an eight-foot-long rope tells a story as rich, engrossing and rewarding as an epic novel. The stark, basic design wisely lets the evidence do the dazzling.”—artasiapacific


Out of Now traces the practice of one of the great artists of our time. With immense courage, Tehching Hsieh revolutionized performance art: while many were sprinting, he did marathons. Hsieh anticipated our times, in that he made time his medium.This impressive and beautifully written book offers the first comprehensive study of an outstanding body of work. An extraordinary performance!”
Hans Ulrich Obrist, Co-director of Exhibitions and Programmes and Director of International Projects, Serpentine Gallery

“Tehching Hsieh has created a profound body of 'lifeworks' that integrate the live with the aesthetic, producing hybrid experiences that question the very nature of what we call 'art.' This brilliant book, which includes documentation and smart, poetic, an dhistorically inflected writing by Heathfield is an invaluable record of Hsieh's work. A unique commentary on the writing of the histories of art and performance.”
Amelia Jones, Professor and Pilkington Chair,Art History and Visual Studies, University of Manchester

“Life is brought to life (again, again, again) in its withdrawal—as routine ecstasy, in erotic privation, through flesh’s serial vacation of now, which makes now urgent. This urgency, given yet again in Tehching Hsieh’s and Adrian Heathfield’s collaboration, again and again and uncontainably held in your hand right now, is Out of Now.”
Fred Moten, Professor, University of California, Riverside