Alexander Alberro

Alexander Alberro is Virginia Bloedel Wright Professor of Art History at Barnard College. He is the author of Conceptual Art and the Politics of Publicity and the coeditor of Conceptual Art: A Critical Anthology, both published by The MIT Press.

  • Working Conditions

    Working Conditions

    The Writings of Hans Haacke

    Hans Haacke and Alexander Alberro

    Texts by Hans Haacke that range from straightforward descriptions of his artworks to wide-ranging reflections on the relationship between art and politics.

    Hans Haacke's art articulates the interdependence of multiple elements. An artwork is not merely an object but is also its context—the economic, social, and political conditions of the art world and the world at large. Among his best-known works are MoMA-Poll (1970), which polled museumgoers on their opinions about Nelson Rockefeller and the Nixon administration's Indochina policy; Gallery-Goers' Birthplace and Residence Profile (1969), which canvassed visitors to the Howard Wise Gallery in Manhattan; and the famously canceled 1971 solo exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum, which was meant to display, among other things, works on two New York real estate empires.

    This volume collects writings by Haacke that explain and document his practice. The texts, some of which have never before been published, run from straightforward descriptions to wide-ranging reflections and full-throated polemics. They include correspondence with MoMA and the Guggenheim and a letter refusing to represent the United States at the 1969 São Paulo Biennial; the title piece, “Working Conditions,” which discusses corporate influence on the art world; Haacke's thinking about “real-time social systems”; and texts written for museum catalogs on various artworks, including GERMANIA, in the German Pavilion of the 1993 Venice Biennial; DER BEVÖLKERUNG (To the Population) of 2000 at the Berlin Reichstag; Mixed Messages, an exhibition of objects from the Victoria and Albert Museum (2001); and Gift Horse, unveiled on the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square in 2015.

    • Hardcover $34.95 £27.00
  • Institutional Critique

    Institutional Critique

    An Anthology of Artists' Writings

    Alexander Alberro and Blake Stimson

    An anthology of writings and projects by artists who developed and extended the genre of institutional critique.

    "Institutional critique” is an artistic practice that reflects critically on its own housing in galleries and museums and on the concept and social function of art itself. Such concerns have always been a part of modern art but took on new urgency at the end of the 1960s, when—driven by the social upheaval of the time and enabled by the tools and techniques of conceptual art—institutional critique emerged as a genre. This anthology traces the development of institutional critique as an artistic concern from the 1960s to the present by gathering writings and representative art projects of artists from across Europe and throughout the Americas who developed and extended the genre. The texts and artworks included are notable for the range of perspectives and positions they reflect and for their influence in pushing the boundaries of what is meant by institutional critique. Like Alberro and Stimson's Conceptual Art: A Critical Anthology this volume will shed new light on its subject through its critical and historical framing. Even readers already familiar with institutional critique will come away from this book with a greater and often redirected understanding of its significance.

    Artists represented include Wieslaw Borowski, Daniel Buren, Marcel Broodthaers, Groupe de Recherche d'Art Visuel, Hans Haacke, Robert Smithson, John Knight, Graciela Carnevale, Osvaldo Mateo Boglione, Guerilla Art Action Group, Art Workers' Coalition, Mierle Laderman Ukeles, Michael Asher, Mel Ramsden, Adrian Piper, The Guerrilla Girls, Laibach, Silvia Kolbowski, Andrea Fraser, Fred Wilson, Mark Dion, Maria Eichhorn, Critical Art Ensemble, Bureau d'Études, WochenKlausur, The Yes Men, Hito Steyerl, Andreas Siekmann.

    • Hardcover $39.95 £27.95
    • Paperback $35.95 £28.00
  • Art After Conceptual Art

    Art After Conceptual Art

    Alexander Alberro and Sabeth Buchmann

    Well-known art historians from Europe and the Americas discuss the influence of conceptualism on art since the 1970s.

    Art After Conceptual Art tracks the various legacies of conceptualist practice over the past three decades. This collection of essays by art historians from Europe and the Americas introduces and develops the idea that conceptual art generated several different, and even contradictory, forms of art practice. Some of these contested commonplace assumptions of what art is; others served to buttress those assumptions. The bulk of the volume features newly written and highly innovative essays challenging standard interpretations of the legacy of conceptualism and discussing the influence of conceptualism's varied practices on art since the 1970s. The essays explore topics as diverse as the interrelationships between conceptualism and institutional critique, neoexpressionist painting and conceptualist paradigms, conceptual art's often-ignored complicity with design and commodity culture, the specific forms of identity politics taken up by the reception of conceptual art, and conceptualism's North/South and East/West dynamics. A few texts that continue to be crucial for critical debates within the fields of conceptual and postconceptual art practice, history, and theory have been reprinted in order to convey the vibrant and ongoing discussion on the status of art after conceptual art. Taken together, the essays will inspire an exploration of the relationship between postconceptualist practices and the beginnings of contemporary art.

    Distributed for the Generali Foundation, Vienna.

    • Paperback $35.95 £28.00
  • Museum Highlights

    Museum Highlights

    The Writings of Andrea Fraser

    Andrea Fraser and Alexander Alberro

    Essays, criticism, and performance scripts written between 1985 and 2003 by an artist whose artistic practice investigates and reveals the social structures of art and its institutions.

    Andrea Fraser's work, writes Pierre Bourdieu in his foreword to Museum Highlights, is able to "trigger a social mechanism, a sort of machine infernale whose operation causes the hidden truth of social reality to reveal itself." It often does this by incorporating and inhabiting the social role it sets out to critique—as in a performance piece in which she leads a tour as a museum docent and describes the men's room in the same elevated language that she uses to describe seventeenth-century Dutch paintings. Influenced by the interdisciplinarity of postmodernism, Fraser's interventionist art draws on four primary artistic and intellectual frameworks—institutional critique, with its site-specific examination of cultural context; performance; feminism, with its investigation of identity formation; and Bourdieu's reflexive sociology. Fraser's writings form an integral part of her artistic practice, and this collection of texts written between 1985 and 2003—including the performance script for the docent's tour that gives the book its title—both documents and represents her work. The writings in Museum Highlights are arranged to reflect different aspects of Fraser's artistic practice. They include essays that trace the development of critical "artistic practice" as cultural resistance; performance scripts that explore art institutions and the public sphere; and texts that explore the ambivalent relationship of art to the economic and political interests of its time. The final piece, "Isn't This a Wonderful Place? (A Tour of a Tour of the Guggenheim Bilbao)," reflects on the role of museums in an era of globalization. Among the book's 30 illustrations are stills from performance pieces, some never before published.

    • Hardcover $42.00 £31.95
    • Paperback $35.00 £27.00
  • Conceptual Art and the Politics of Publicity

    Conceptual Art and the Politics of Publicity

    Alexander Alberro

    An examination of the origins and legacy of the conceptual art movement.

    Conceptual art was one of the most influential art movements of the second half of the twentieth century. In this book Alexander Alberro traces its origins to the mid-1960s, when its principles were first articulated by the artists Dan Graham, Joseph Kosuth, Sol LeWitt, Lawrence Weiner, and others. One of Alberro's central arguments is that the conceptual art movement was founded not just by the artists but also by the dealer Seth Siegelaub. Siegelaub promoted the artists, curated groundbreaking shows, organized symposia and publications, and in many ways set the stage for another kind of entrepreneur: the freelance curator. Alberro examines both Siegelaub's role in launching the careers of artists who were making "something from nothing" and his tactful business practices, particularly in marketing and advertising.

    Alberro draws on close readings of artworks produced by key conceptual artists in the mid- to late 1960s. He places the movement in the social context of the rebellion against existing cultural institutions, as well as the increased commercialization and globalization of the art world. The book ends with a discussion of one of Siegelaub's most material and least ephemeral contributions, the Artist's Reserved Rights Transfer and Sale Agreement, which he wrote between 1969 and 1971. Designed to limit the inordinate control of collectors, galleries, and museums by increasing the artist's rights, the Agreement unwittingly codified the overlap between capitalism and the arts.

    • Hardcover $10.75 £7.95
    • Paperback $32.00 £25.00
  • Two-Way Mirror Power

    Two-Way Mirror Power

    Selected Writings by Dan Graham on His Art

    Dan Graham and Alexander Alberro

    Essays charting the diverse works of renowned conceptual artist Dan Graham.

    The internationally renowned artist Dan Graham is widely acknowledged as one of the leading members of the 1960s conceptual art movement. However, his subsequent work in photography, performance, film, video, and the fusion of art and architecture, though well known in Europe and Japan, is less well known in English-speaking countries.

    In Rock My Religion (MIT Press, 1993), Graham explored mainly the work of other artists. In this collection, he articulates the rationale behind his own art. The broadly accessible essays, which include his most canonical texts, are organized both thematically and chronologically. They chart his career from conceptual art for magazine pages of the 1960s, to work integrating video, television, architecture, film, and performance of the 1970s, to his pavilion sculptures of the 1980s and 1990s. The book also features an essay by Jeff Wall and interviews with Graham that address the art historical references and theoretical principles underlying his work.

    Published in association with the Marian Goodman Gallery, New York.

    • Hardcover $45.00 £34.95
    • Paperback $27.95 £22.00
  • Conceptual Art

    Conceptual Art

    A Critical Anthology

    Alexander Alberro and Blake Stimson

    This landmark anthology collects for the first time the key historical documents that helped give definition and purpose to the conceptual art movement.

    Compared to other avant-garde movements that emerged in the 1960s, conceptual art has received relatively little serious attention by art historians and critics of the past twenty-five years—in part because of the difficult, intellectual nature of the art. This lack of attention is particularly striking given the tremendous influence of conceptual art on the art of the last fifteen years, on critical discussion surrounding postmodernism, and on the use of theory by artists, curators, critics, and historians.

    This landmark anthology collects for the first time the key historical documents that helped give definition and purpose to the movement. It also contains more recent memoirs by participants, as well as critical histories of the period by some of today's leading artists and art historians. Many of the essays and artists' statements have been translated into English specifically for this volume. A good portion of the exchange between artists, critics, and theorists took place in difficult-to-find limited-edition catalogs, small journals, and private correspondence. These influential documents are gathered here for the first time, along with a number of previously unpublished essays and interviews.

    Contributors Alexander Alberro, Art & Language, Terry Atkinson, Michael Baldwin, Robert Barry, Gregory Battcock, Mel Bochner, Sigmund Bode, Georges Boudaille, Marcel Broodthaers, Benjamin Buchloh, Daniel Buren, Victor Burgin, Ian Burn, Jack Burnham, Luis Camnitzer, John Chandler, Sarah Charlesworth, Michel Claura, Jean Clay, Michael Corris, Eduardo Costa, Thomas Crow, Hanne Darboven, Raúl Escari, Piero Gilardi, Dan Graham, Maria Teresa Gramuglio, Hans Haacke, Charles Harrison, Roberto Jacoby, Mary Kelly, Joseph Kosuth, Max Kozloff, Christine Kozlov, Sol LeWitt, Lucy Lippard, Lee Lozano, Kynaston McShine, Cildo Meireles, Catherine Millet, Olivier Mosset, John Murphy, Hélio Oiticica, Michel Parmentier, Adrian Piper, Yvonne Rainer, Mari Carmen Ramirez, Nicolas Rosa, Harold Rosenberg, Martha Rosler, Allan Sekula, Jeanne Siegel, Seth Siegelaub, Terry Smith, Robert Smithson, Athena Tacha Spear, Blake Stimson, Niele Toroni, Mierle Ukeles, Jeff Wall, Rolf Wedewer, Ian Wilson

    • Hardcover $70.00 £51.95
    • Paperback $49.00 £38.00

Contributor

  • Beauty

    Beauty

    Dave Beech

    Key texts on beauty and its revival in contemporary art.

    Beauty has emerged as one of the most hotly contested subjects in current discussions on art and culture. After more than half a century of suspicion and interrogation, beauty's resurgence in visual practice and discourse since the late 1980s has engaged some of the most influential artists and writers on art. From the avant-garde to the conceptual era, anti-aesthetic strategies have resisted beauty because of its perceived complicity with dominant systems and ideologies. Thus politicized and opened to critique, beauty, invoked in relation to contemporary art, no longer sustains a singular or universal meaning but is always contentious. Spanning a range of positions on beauty—both for and against—this anthology assembles the key texts on the controversy and situates the debate over the revival of beauty in the broader context of the history of ideas and artistic practice. Artists survyed include: Vito Acconci, Jake and Dinos Chapman, Gustave Courbet, Marcel Duchamp, Marlene Dumas, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Adolph Gottlieb, Hans Hofmann, Gary Hume, Asger Jorn, Alex Katz, Willem de Kooning, Joseph Kosuth, Paul McCarthy, Édouard Manet, Robert Mapplethorpe, Agnes Martin, Robert Morris, Barnett Newman, Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock, Gerhard Richter, Mark Rothko, Robert Smithson, Nancy Spero, Frank Stella, Clyfford Still, Andy Warhol. Writers include: Theodor Adorno, Alexander Alberro, Rasheed Araeen, Art & Language, Benjamin H. D. Buchloh, T. J. Clark, Mark Cousins, Arthur C. Danto, Jacques Derrida, Thierry de Duve, Fredric Jameson, Christoph Grunenberg, Dave Hickey, Suzanne Perling Hudson, Caroline A. Jones, John Roberts, Elaine Scarry, Wendy Steiner, Paul Wood.

    • Paperback $24.95 £16.95