Dark Matter

Dark Matter : Art and Politics in the Age of Enterprise Culture

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Art is big business, with some artists able to command huge sums of money for their works, while the vast majority are ignored or dismissed by critics. This book shows that these marginalised artists, the 'dark matter' of the art world, are essential to the survival of the mainstream and that they frequently organize in opposition to it. Gregory Sholette, a politically engaged artist, argues that imagination and creativity in the art world originate thrive in the non-commercial sector shut off from prestigious galleries and champagne receptions. This broader creative culture feeds the mainstream with new forms and styles that can be commodified and used to sustain the few artists admitted into the elite. This dependency, and the advent of inexpensive communication, audio and video technology, has allowed this 'dark matter' of the alternative art world to increasingly subvert the mainstream and intervene politically as both new and old forms of non-capitalist, public art. This book is essential for anyone interested in interventionist art, collectivism, and the political economy of the art world.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 256 pages
  • 152 x 232 x 22mm | 580.6g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0745327532
  • 9780745327532
  • 2,222,844

Review quote

'With great verve and urgency, Gregory Sholette explores the economics of contemporary art production in an era of neoliberalism, and outlines the promises and pitfalls of various tactics of resistance. Dark Matter is a salient call-to-arms to all cultural labourers.' -- Julia Bryan-Wilson, author of Art Workers: Radical Practice in the Vietnam War Era 'Dark Matter is the ultimate companion to contemporary activist art. In his exquisite and theoretically informed style Gregory Sholette investigates the problematic functions of art practices in the processes of neoliberal appropriation, but above all the wild, explosive and deterritorialising lines that are drawn in the dark matter between art and politics.' -- Gerald Raunig is a philosopher and art theorist who lives in Vienna, Austria. He is the author of Art and Revolution 'Masterfully illuminates the configurations, ideas, and behaviours of collectives dedicated to cultural resistance. Dark Matter is essential reading for anyone concerned with the fate of the avant-garde and the emergence of new possibilities in cultural production that suggest and create alternatives to global capitalism.' -- Critical Art Ensemble 'As both active participant and witness Greg Sholette sheds a welcome and overdue light on the dark matter of the so-called art world.' -- Hans Haacke, artist 'Focusing primarily on the anti-institutional, collective and politically critical artists that often willingly reject the light of the mainstream galleries and academies, Sholette both highlights a vast array of important contributors to art of the last decade and also challenges the ahistorical assumptions that ground the capitalist art market.' -- Paul B. Jaskot, Professor of Art History at DePaul University 'An important and necessary intervention. Dark Matter is well placed to shift the debate on art's utility back within the domain of labour and value, where it has long been missing.' -- Professor John Roberts, University of Wolverhampton
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About Gregory Sholette

Gregory Sholette is a New York City based artist, writer and core member of the activist art collective Gulf Labor Coalition. He is the author of It's The Political Economy, Stupid, co-edited with Oliver Ressler (Pluto, 2013), and Dark Matter: Art and Politics in an Age of Enterprise Culture (Pluto, 2010). He currently teaches in the Queens College Art Department, City University of New York.
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Table of contents

Exordium: An Accidental Remainder (Sets the scene through a brief meditation on an all but forgotten artists' collective that the author once belonged to: Political Art Documentation/Distribution aka PAD/D, and its missing presence in contemporary art history.) Introduction: The Missing Mass (Who is the author and how did this book come about followed by a concise description of each chapter in the volume.) 1 Art, Politics, Dark Matter: Nine Prologues (An overview of the book's key themes and arguments.) 2 The Grin of the Archive (A critical journey into the PAD/D Archive that is now housed in the Museum of Modern Art is used to examine the shifting politics of the 1980s as neo-conservativism, economic deregulation, gentrification, and the remnants of the New Left clashed in New York City and elsewhere.) 3 History That Disturbs the Present (Public art projects about history's missing narratives produced by the artists' group REPOhistory are described in relation to both the concept of the shadow archive, and in terms of the ultra-gentrified New York City of the 1990s.) 4 Temporary Services (Chicago's informal artists' group Temporary Services is discussed and contrasted to what might be described as the rise of a dark matter Ressentiment exemplified by groups like the Minutemen Border Patrol vigilantes, and the Tea Party.) 5 Glut, Overproduction, Redundancy! (A journey into the dark matter of the art world's invisible political economy with its hidden dependency on the unremunerated productivity of the majority of artists.) 6 The Unnamable (Why did Steve Kurtz and Critical Art Ensemble became a targets of the George Bush Department of Justice (sic), the answer put forth her is that the Tactical Media group not only operated collectively, but openly reverse-engineered power relations dear to the neo-liberal corporate state.) 7 Mockstitutions (Art collectives, groups, and informal communities reinvent institutional form for the 21st Century by skeptically imitating the very function of institutional power.) 8 Conclusions: Nights of Amateurs (So-called dark matter creativity is only the most recent expression of a far longer cultural history "from below".) Notes Bibliography Appendix: Artists' Groups Survey 2008 Index
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Rating details

41 ratings
3.92 out of 5 stars
5 17% (7)
4 59% (24)
3 24% (10)
2 0% (0)
1 0% (0)
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