The June 2020 issue of e-flux journal contains my essay Performing Preformations: Elements for a Historical Formalism. This is something of an introduction to my two-part book project Forms of Abstraction. The first volume, Objections, was originally scheduled for later this year, but this now seems to be exceedingly unlikely due to the economic repercussions of COVID-19 in the publishing industry. Oddly enough, while production on Objections was halted just as it was about to go to the designer, the long-gestating Art and Autonomy reader has now actually entered the design stage. Go figure. Another book project that is going ahead at full steam is the BAK reader Deserting from the Culture Wars, which we’re finishing this very weekend. As for Forms of Abstraction, I will happily potter away on it regardless, as far as I can make the time to pursue the hobby—that essential luxury—called research.
Kunstlicht is a journal by and for young scholars, affiliated with the Art & Culture department of the Vrije Universiteit and largely edited by graduate students. The latest issue is On Representation, and since some of the texts come out of courses I’ve taught, I contributed an introduction. The issue can be ordered here.
As the corona crisis morphs into a wave of protest inspired by the police killing of George Floyd, in the US and beyond, the latest Texte zur Kunst drops on the doormat. The review section contains my piece on Natascha Sadr Haghighian’s exibition in Leipzig, Ankersentrum/Im Rücken die Alte Ordnung (he she they walked), which revisited the artist’s (or rather: Natascha Süder Happelmann’s) German Pavilion project at the most recent Venice Biennale, Ankersentrum.
The above image is a digital drawing from the series Tumult, which combines quotations by W.EB. Du Bois with images of competing press conferences (by the police and by migrants) about a police raid at Ellwangen refugee center. This particular drawing, with the battery of microphones not positioned before police officials but in front of a black void with the phrase “There was a lot of talk about us, speaking,” seems to have accrued even more emblematic power since I saw it in Leipzig several lifetimes ago, way back in February. As the storm of history intensifies, the project as a whole likewise only grows in relevance. The Ankersentrum publication (published by Archive Books) is recommended.
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