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Part of the acclaimed 'Documents of Contemporary Art' series of anthologies .

This anthology reconsiders crucial aspects of abstraction's resurgence in contemporary art, exploring three equally significant modes or strategies explored in current practice: formal abstraction, economic abstraction and social abstraction. In the 1960s movements as diverse as Latin American neo-concretism, op art and 'eccentric abstraction' disrupted the homogeneity, universality and rationality associated with abstraction, opening up new forms of engagement with the phenomenal world and the possibility of diverse readings of the same forms, ranging from formalist and transcendental to socio-economic and conceptual. A second discourse that emerges in the 1980s via the writing of Peter Halley, Fredric Jameson and others, engages with abstraction through the consideration of an increasingly abstracted world in terms of its economic, social and political conditions - all increasingly manifested through abstract codes or sites of style. Such economic abstraction is primarily addressed in art as a subject or theme, but in Deleuze and Guattari's notion of art as abstract machine possibilities emerge for art's role in the construction of a new kind of social reality. In more recent art a third strand emerges: a form of social abstraction centred on the strategy of withdrawal. Social abstraction implies stepping aside, a movement away from the mainstream, suggesting the possibilities for art to manoeuvre within self-organized, withdrawn initiatives in the field of cultural production.

Artists surveyed include: Lee Bontecou, Louise Bourgeois, Amilcar de Castro, Paul Cezanne, Lygia Clark, Kajsa Dahlberg, Stephan Dillemuth, Marcel Duchamp, Gardar Eide Einarsson, Gunther Foerg, Liam Gillick, Ferreira Gullar, Jean Helion, Eva Hesse, Jakob Jakobsen, Jasper Johns, Donald Judd, Wassily Kandinsky, Sol LeWitt, Piet Mondrian, Bruce Nauman, Helio Oiticica, Blinky Palermo, Lygia Pape, Mai-Thu Perret, Jackson Pollock, Tobias Rehberger, Bridget Riley, Emily Roysden, Lucas Samaras, Julian Stanczak, Frank Stella, Hito Steyerl and Theo van Doesburg.

Writers include Alfred H. Barr Jr., Ina Blom, Lynne Cooke, Anthony Davies, Judi Freeman, Peter Halley, Joe Houston, Fredric Jameson, Lucy R. Lippard, Sven Lutticken, Nina Moentmann, Gabriel Perez-Barreiro, Catherine Queloz, Gerald Raunig, Irit Rogoff, Meyer Schapiro, Kirk Varnedoe and Stephan Zepke.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 240 pages
  • 148 x 210 x 27mm | 540g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0854882081
  • 9780854882083
  • 173,424

Table of contents

Introduction; Formal Abstraction; Economic Abstraction; Social Abstraction; Biographical Notes; Bibliography; Index; Acknowledgements.
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Review quote

"This collection proposes a reassessment of abstraction in terms of opacity, resistance and withdrawal, retrieving a narrative of artistic, philosophical and political complexity in a term once consigned to the dead end of modernism. Linking writing on formal, economic and social abstraction through the work of artists and curators, Lind has produced an important book that suggests an alternative to muted aesthetic politics." - Andrea Phillips, Director of Research Programmes, Department of Art, Goldsmiths, University of London "Maria Lind's rich study shows how abstraction - that which cannot be directly accessed by the senses - is a problematic that far exceeds the canon of modern art. Whether understood as an artistic blueprint for a better world or as life under the disembodied forces of late capital, the abstract is ineradicably mixed up with reality. This book reassesses and repoliticizes one of the fundamentals of art history and takes it up to the urgencies of the present." - Lars Bang Larsen, Art historian and curator 'Anthologized by critic and curator Lind, this engrossing compendium offers a banquet of insight into the theoretical underpinnings of abstraction in contemporary art. Lind broadly frames abstraction as the employment of varying degrees of extrapolation or withdrawal from concrete representation ... Lind deals admirably with this bounty of material, and her attentive curation makes for a remarkably cohesive collection in which specific themes or artists receive treatment across multiple essays. This volume's array generates a multidisciplinary appeal, making it an excellent introduction for anyone intrigued by the theoretical and socio-historical concerns that imbue some of the modern art world's less transparent creations.' Publishers Weekly
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About Maria Lind

Maria Lind is Director of the Tensta Konsthall, Stockholm, and a former Director of the Graduate program at the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College. A compendium of her essays, Selected Maria Lind Writing, was published in 2010.
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Rating details

21 ratings
3.8 out of 5 stars
5 19% (4)
4 48% (10)
3 29% (6)
2 5% (1)
1 0% (0)
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