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All Art is Political

Writings on Performative Art

All Art is Political by Sarah Lowndes
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Since the 1990s, performative art has been increasingly accepted into the cultural mainstream, becoming a familiar and popular feature of art galleries and museums, as shown by the Tate Modern's recent 'Collecting the Performative' project. As art historian Roselee Goldberg notes, 'The term "performative", used to describe the unmediated engagement of viewer and performer in art, has also crossed over into architecture, semiotics, anthropology and gender studies. 'But what is performative art? What about its radical origins? How does it remain politically engaged? Writer, curator and lecturer at the Glasgow School of Art, Sarah Lowndes, takes us through the world of performative art, using five case studies spanning from the 1960s to the present day. A series of essays and conversations, All Art is Political explores the work of artist-musicians Mayo Thompson and Keith Rowe, Berlin-based artist Thea Djordjadze, Glasgowbased Turner Prize winner Richard Wright, American conceptual artist Susan Hiller and German-Swiss artist and writer Dieter Roth. What is a literature sausage? How do you transform reading coffee grinds into contemporary art? How do you incorporate live radio broadcasts into a musical performance? What does it mean to draw attention to the marks accidentally left behind by previous uses of the exhibition space? How do you bring out the latent brutality of Punch and Judy shows? For the answers to these questions and many more, indulge in the pages of All Art is Political. REVIEWS An interesting and insightful collection of thoughts about the urgency of vision, how audiences work together with artists to enact the bodily labour of seeing and understanding, and how politics and the performative can be embedded in the material presence of art. Dr FIONA BRADLEY, DIRECTOR, FRUITMARKET GALLERY In her observant close readings of artists' practices and interviews with artists, Sarah Lowndes shows how artists themselves have navigated this territory, giving attention to the question of politics from the perspective both of theory and of the artwork itself. MELISSA GRONLUND, EDITOR, AFTERALL
Luath Press Ltd; Read online
Title: All Art is Political
Author: Sarah Lowndes
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