Wednesday, 4 February 2009
Art After Appropriation
Art after Appropriation: Essays on Art in the 1990s
About the Author
John C. Welchman is Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art History at the University of California, San Diego.
Beginning with the first comprehensive account of the discourse of appropriation that dominated the art world in the late 1970s and 1980s, Art After Appropriation suggests a matrix of inflections and refusals around the culture of taking or citation, each chapter loosely correlated with one year of the decade between 1989 and 1999. The opening chapters discuss, among other things, how the second world culture of the USSR gave rise to new visibility for photography at the Union`s dissolution in 1989, and explore how genres of ethnography, documentary and travel are crossed with fictive performance and social improvisation in the videos of Steve Fagin.
Review by Paul from New York
I can`t say I`ve been delighted about much art-writing the last 5 or 6 years. Welchman gets 5 stars for doing the foot-work while not misplacing his head. His book looks at an interesting mix of artists, takes some risks, and cobbles together an interesting theory... and, quite frankly, much of what he says is not only correct, but has really needed to be said for some time now. It seems that much writing about art has gotten so niche-oriented or arbitrary that Welchman`s approach is welcome. By rehashing the legacy of appropriation, something that we thought the art world had already figured out, Welchman springs through the unguarded front doors of mainstream discourse in an expansive manner.