Edited by Margaret Iversen
Part of the Documents of Contemporary Art series
The spontaneous, unexpected or random event is a vital component in numerous works of Expressionism, Dada, Surrealism, Fluxus and conceptual photography. And the camera snapshot seems intrinsically implicated in the workings of chance.
But why today does chance remain a key strategy in artists' investigations into the contemporary world?
This anthology analyses the meaning of these strategic spaces of uncertainty, poised between intention and outcome, and provides a new critical context for chance procedures in art since 1900. Artists surveyed include Vito Acconci, Bas Jan Ader, Francis Alys, William Anastasi, John Baldessari, Walead Beshty, Mark Boyle, George Brecht, Marcel Broodthaers, John Cage, Sophie Calle, Tacita Dean, Stan Douglas, Marcel Duchamp, Brian Eno, Fischli & Weiss, Ceal Floyer, Huang Yong Ping, Douglas Huebler, Allan Kaprow, Alison Knowles, Jiri Kovanda, Jorge Macchi, Christian Marclay, Cildo Meireles, Robert Morris, Bruce Nauman, Yoko Ono, Gabriel Orozco, Cornelia Parker, Robert Rauschenberg, Gerhard Richter, Daniel Spoerri, Keith Tyson, Jennifer West, Cerith Wyn Evans and La Monte Young.Writers include Paul Auster, Jacquelynn Baas, Georges Bataille, Daniel Birnbaum, Claire Bishop, Guy Brett, Benjamin H. D. Buchloh, Stanley Cavell, Lynne Cooke, Fei Dawei, Gilles Deleuze, Anna Dezeuze, Russell Ferguson, Branden W.
Joseph, Siegfried Kracauer, Jacques Lacan, Sarat Maharaj, John Miller, Alexandra Munroe, Gabriel Perez Barreiro, Jasia Reichardt, Julia Robinson, Sarah Valdez and Katharina Vossenkuhl.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 240 pages
- Publisher: Whitechapel Gallery
- Publication Date: 22/02/2010
- Category: Theory of art
- ISBN: 9780854881772
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Review by HanGerg
This is an area of art I'm particularly interested in in my own work, and as such this was tremendously useful and inspiring for me. However, it was also a difficult book to access in many regards, and I read it over the course of several months as it was so dense. Basically, it was a series of essays about various artist's work that have "Chance" as a major element. Chance has several definitions here, which are in themselves interesting - the idea of "chance" simply meaning - not entirely pre-planned, or accessing the sub-conscious intentions of the artist rather than their fully conscious ones, to art that is made by a process that tries to negate the human aspect as much as possible, e.g. a painting made by a machine, or painted according to a random set of instructions. There are artists who have attempted all of the above, and several variations of these as well. The essays really varied in quality and coherence. I'm beginning to discover that some people who write about art like to write like they're experimental poets or something, which isn't always helpful. Also, several of the entries were actually interviews with artists, and again, asking the most pretentious and convoluted question seems to be an ongoing competition. Also, my major quibble with this book is a very straightforward one; why no photos??? It seems odd to write about visual artworks without showing the work in question. I had to read the book in front of the computer so that I could google pictures as I read, which enhanced my experience considerably. This book is part of a long series on themes in contemporary art, and maybe the intention was to keep the cost down, but simple B&W photos would have sufficed in most cases. Overall, for me a very inspiring book, but only because the subject was one I already had a very strong interest in, I think anyone with a less intense interest may have really struggled.