James Meyer

James Meyer is Associate Professor of Art History at Emory University. He is the author of Minimalism: Art and Polemics in the Sixties and the editor of The AIDS Crisis is Ridiculous and Other Writings 1986-2003 by Gregg Bordowitz (MIT Press, 2004).

  • Cuts

    Cuts

    Texts 1959–2004

    Carl Andre and James Meyer

    Statements, dialogue, letters, epigrams, and poems by sculptor Carl Andre, a central figure in minimalism.

    Just as Carl Andre's sculptures are "cuts" of elemental materials, his writings are condensed expressions, "cuts" of language that emphasize the part rather than the whole. Andre, a central figure in minimalism and one of the most influential sculptors of our time, does not produce the usual critical essay. He has said that he is "not a writer of prose," and the texts included in Cuts—the most comprehensive collection of his writings yet published—appear in a wide variety of forms that are pithy and poetic rather than prosaic. Some texts are statements, many of them fifty words or less, written for catalog entries and press releases. Others are Socratic dialogues, interwoven statements, or in the form of questionnaires and interviews. Still others are letters—public and private, lengthy missives and postcards. Some are epigrams and maxims (for example, on Damian Hirst: I DON'T FEAR HIS SHARK. I FEAR HIS FORMALDEHYDE) and some are planar poems, words and letters arranged and rearranged into different patterns. They are organized alphabetically by subject, under such entries as "Art and Capitalism," "Childhood," "Entropy (After Smithson)," "Matter," "My Work," "Other Artists," and "Poetry," and they include Andre's reflections on Michelangelo and Duchamp, on Stein and Marx, and such contemporaries as Eva Hesse, Robert Smithson, Robert Morris, and Damien Hirst.

    Carl Andre's writing and its materiality—its stress on the visual and tactile qualities of language—takes its place beside his sculpture and its materiality, its revelation of "matter as matter rather than matter as symbol." Both assert the ethical and political primacy of matter in a culture that prizes the replica, the insubstantial, and the virtual. "I am not an idealist as an artist," says Andre. "I try to discover my visions in the conditions of the world. It's the conditions which are important."

  • The AIDS Crisis Is Ridiculous and Other Writings, 1986–2003

    The AIDS Crisis Is Ridiculous and Other Writings, 1986–2003

    Gregg Bordowitz and James Meyer

    The first collection of writings by a noted artist and activist whose work has focused on the AIDS epidemic.

    The HIV epidemic animates this collection of essays by a noted artist, writer, and activist. "So total was the burden of illness—mine and others'—that the only viable response, other than to cease making art entirely, was to adjust to the gravity of the predicament by using the crisis as a lens," writes Gregg Bordowitz, a film- and video-maker whose best-known works, Fast Trip Long Drop (1993) and Habit (2001), address AIDS globally and personally. In The AIDS Crisis Is Ridiculous—the title essay is inspired by Charles Ludlam, founder of the Ridiculous Theater Company—Bordowitz follows in the tradition of artist-writers Robert Smithson and Yvonne Rainer by making writing an integral part of an artistic practice.

    Bordowitz has left his earliest writings for the most part unchanged—to preserve, he says, "both the youthful exuberance and the palpable sense of fear" created by the early days of the AIDS crisis. After these early essays, the writing becomes more experimental, sometimes mixing fiction and fact; included here is a selection of Bordowitz's columns from the journal Documents, "New York Was Yesterday." Finally, in his newest essays he reformulates early themes, and, in "My Postmodernism" (written for Artforum's fortieth anniversary issue) and "More Operative Assumptions" (written especially for this book), he reexamines the underlying ideas of his practice and sums up his theoretical concerns.

    In his mature work, Bordowitz seeks to join the subjective—the experience of having a disease—and the objective—the fact of the disease as a global problem. He believes that this conjunction is necessary for understanding and fighting the crisis. "If it can be written," he says, "then it can be realized."

    • Hardcover $8.75
    • Paperback $20.95

Contributor

  • Situation

    Situation

    Claire Doherty

    Key texts on the notion of “situation” in art and theory that consider site, place, and context, temporary interventions, remedial actions, place-making, and public space.

    Situation—a unique set of conditions produced in both space and time and ranging across material, social, political, and economic relations—has become a key concept in twenty-first-century art. Rooted in artistic practices of the 1960s and 1970s, the idea of situation has evolved and transcended these in the current context of globalization. This anthology offers key writings on areas of art practice and theory related to situation, including notions of the site specific, the artist as ethnographer or fieldworker, the relation between action and public space, the meaning of place and locality, and the crucial role of the curator in recent situation specific art.

    In North America and Europe, the site-specific is often viewed in terms of resistance to art's commoditization, while elsewhere situation-specific practices have defied institutions of authority. The contributors discuss these recent tendencies in the context of proliferating international biennial exhibitions, curatorial place-bound projects, and strategies by which artists increasingly unsettle the definition and legitimation of situation-based art.

    Artists Surveyed Vito Acconci, Allora & Calzadilla, Francis Alÿs, Carl Andre, Artist Placement Group, Michael Asher, Amy Balkin, Ursula Biemann, Bik Van der Pol, Daniel Buren, Victor Burgin, Janet Cardiff, Center for Land Use Interpretation, Adam Chodzko, Collective Actions, Tacita Dean, Elmgreen & Dragset, Andrea Fraser, Hamish Fulton, Dan Graham, Liam Gillick, Renée Green, Group Material, Douglas Huebler, Bethan Huws, Pierre Huyghe, Robert Irwin, Emily Jacir, Ilya Kabakov, Leopold Kessler, Július Koller, Langlands & Bell, Ligna, Richard Long, Gordon Matta-Clark, Graeme Miller, Jonathan Monk, Robert Morris, Gabriel Orozco, Walid Ra'ad, Raqs Media Collective, Paul Rooney, Martha Rosler, Allen Ruppersberg, Richard Serra, Situationist International, Tony Smith, Robert Smithson, Vivan Sundaram, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Lawrence Weiner, Rachel Whiteread, Krzysztof Wodiczko, Qiu Zhijie

    Writers Arjun Appaduri, Marc Augé, Wim Beeren, Josephine Berry Slater, Daniel Birnbaum, Ava Bromberg, Susan Buck-Morss, Michel de Certeau, Douglas Crimp, Gilles Deleuze, T. J. Demos, Rosalyn Deutsche, Thierry de Duve, Charles Esche, Graeme Evans, Patricia Falguières, Marina Fokidis, Hal Foster, Hou Hanrou, Brian Holmes, Mary Jane Jacob, Vasif Kortun, Miwon Kwon, Lu Jie, Doreen Massey, James Meyer, Ivo Mesquita, Brian O'Doherty, Craig Owens, Irit Rogoff, Peter Weibel