E-flux journal no. 76


I co-edited the November Issue of e-flux journal, “The Perfect Storm,” which is a (sadly needed) sequel of sorts to the “Idiot Wind” issue of some five years ago. By now we feel compelled to address and analyse the political wave of reactionary, nationalist and xenophobic political movements and figureheads as constituting a form of neofascism — or rather, an entire international of interlinked (but far from identical) neofascisms.

Contributors are Hito Steyerl, Ilya Budraitskis, Keti Chukhrov, Boris Buden, Ewa Majewska and Kuba Szreder, Ana Teixeira Pinto, Tony Wood, Jonas Staal  and myself. My essay is here, but obviously I encourage you to read the entire issue.


Ends of Art

kunstlicht impact

The new issue of the journal Kunstlicht, which is edited by graduate students of the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam, is dedicated to “Cultural Policies: Agendas of Impact.” From the official announcement:

“This issue, guest-edited by Lara Garcia Diaz and Cristina Marques, delves into the historical grounds and present implications of arts and culture funding policies and programmes in the Netherlands and beyond. It features authors including: Sven Lütticken, Steven ten Thije, Josephine Berry, Bram Ieven and Market for Immaterial Value.

At the end of 2014, the Dutch Ministry of Culture (OCW) announced a new Art and Culture public fund, The Art of Impact, designating seven million euro to support art projects that have a distinct impact on society. With this programme, the policy of austerity initiated by minister of culture Halbe Zijlstra enters a new phase. Ideologically, it shifts away from discrediting the arts as a left-wing hobby towards rendering the arts as a tool of intervention and engagement with society.

In light of these events, Kunstlicht feels the necessity to initiate a debate about The Art of Impact to question the agenda of Cultural Policies that ultimately uses creativity and innovation to fuel neoliberal agendas and discourses. This topic already surfaced earlier this summer at our event in relation to the closing of the SMBA. We would like to use the launch event of our next issue to continue the debate and present you with different perspectives on the topic.

What does it mean to attribute to the artists, designers and art institutions the social, economical and political responsibility of changing and improving the world? The evening will consist of a moderated debate with guest speakers, a performance and a public discussion on the topic.”


My contribution, which is based on my work on the forthcoming Art and Autonomy reader, is an essay titled “Ends of Art: From Nul to Bijl.” In this text I analyse various proposoals (with various degrees of seriousness) to close art spaces or top making art in favour of more useful activities. One such case is Guillaume Bijl’s “Art Liquidation Project” text from 1979. Artist Wok the Rock refences this “fake manifesto” and Bijl’s Driving School Z installation in the comic he has drawn for this issue, which is wrapped around the cover in the form of a riso print.

Cultural Revolution in Progress


My book Cultural Revolution: Aesthetic Practice after Autonomy (to be published by Sternberg this fall) is now being proofread. What you’re seeing here is not so much a typo as a consequence of the fact that I’m using fancy ten-dollar words that don’t fit the current design grid. Perhaps I should have listened to advice and gone for the catchy youthspeak title “CULT REV”!

Meanwhile in Gwangju


New Left Review: The Coming Exception

New Left Review no. 99 (May-June 2016) contains my essay “The Coming Exception: Art and the Crisis of Value.” In a critical reading of recent theory as well as recent artistic practice, I argue that rather than focusing on the question whether or not art can be integrated into the Marxian labour theory of value, we should focus on the challenge posed by art to the theorization of value, and examine the increasing economic normativity of the putatively exceptional commodity that is the work of contemporary art in today’s economy.

Metropolis M: The Long 1980s

photo 2-1

Metropolis M no 3 (June/July 2016) features my essay “The Long 1980s: Between No Future and the End of History.” For the time being, this text is only available in the print issue, and in Dutch. It is a response of sorts to a flurry of recent and current exhibitions on the art of that decade, and an extension of sorts of parts of my “Cultural Revolution” essay.

Image: Never judge an article by its glamour factor. This one is actually fairly substantial, in addition to being dead cool.

Texte zur Kunst no. 102: Returns of the Stone Age


The thematic section of issue no. 102 of Texte zur Kunst is dedicated to the topic of fashion. I’m sure it will come as a surprise to nobody that I did not contribute to this section. I did, however, write a kind of review-essay on two recent publications. These books Kunst der Vorzeit and Allegory of the Cave Painting, were published on the occasion of eponymous exhibitions. These exhibitions and publications deal with modern and contemporary artistic and scientific rediscoveries of prehistoric art. In my text “Returns of the Stone Age” I discuss some iterations and aspects of the anachronistic returns of cave and rock art—largely drawing on the publications in questions, but throwing Raymond Queneau and Trevor Paglen into the mix for good measure.

Image: Georges Bataille in Lascaux (source).