The chance situation or random event--whether as a strategy or as a subject of investigation--has been central to many artists’ practices across a multiplicity of forms, including expressionism, automatism, the readymade, collage, surrealist and conceptual photography, fluxus event scores, film, audio and video, performance, and participatory artworks. But why--a century after Dada and Surrealism’s first systematic enquiries--does chance remain a key strategy in artists’ investigations into the contemporary world? The writings in this anthology examine the gap between intention and outcome, showing it to be crucial to the meaning of chance in art. The book provides a new critical context for chance procedures in art since 1900 and aims to answer such questions as why artists deliberately set up such a gap in their practice; what new possibilities this suggests; and why the viewer finds the art so engaging. Artists surveyed include Vito Acconci, Bas Jan Ader, Francis Alÿs, William Anastasi, John Baldessari, Walead Beshty, Mark Boyle, George Brecht, Marcel Broodthaers, John Cage, Sophie Calle, Tacita Dean, Stan Douglas, Marcel Duchamp, Brian Eno, Fischli & Weiss, Ceal Floyer, Huang Yong Ping, Douglas Huebler, Allan Kaprow, Alison Knowles, Jiri Kovanda, Jorge Macchi, Christian Marclay, Cildo Meireles, Robert Morris, Bruce Nauman, Yoko Ono, Gabriel Orozco, Cornelia Parker, Robert Rauschenberg, Gerhard Richter, Daniel Spoerri, Wolfgang Tillmans, Keith Tyson, Jennifer West, Ceryth Wyn Evans, La Monte Young Writers include Paul Auster, Jacquelynn Baas, Georges Bataille, Daniel Birnbaum, Claire Bishop, Guy Brett, Benjamin H. D. Buchloh, Stanley Cavell, Lynne Cooke, Fei Dawei, Gilles Deleuze, Anna Dezeuze, Russell Ferguson, Branden W. Joseph, Siegfried Kracauer, Jacques Lacan, Susan Laxton, Sarat Maharaj, Midori Matsui, John Miller, Alexandra Munroe, Gabriel Pérez Barreiro, Jasia Reichardt, Julia Robinson, Eric L. Santner, Sarah Valdez, Katharina Vossenkuhl
About the Editor
Margaret Iversen is Professor of Art History and Theory at the University of Essex. Her books include Alois Riegl: Art History and Theory and Beyond Pleasure: Freud, Lacan, Barthes.
“Chance remains a vital process of artistic production in contemporary art. In this anthology, Margaret Iversen has assembled a rich array of interviews, excerpts, essays, and statements to illuminate the artistic uses of chance in various media in recent decades. The book promises every reader of its pages an ample supply of lucky encounters and will doubtless serve as an important catalyst for further inquiry.”
—Robin Kelsey, Shirley Carter Burden Professor of Photography, Harvard University