Simon Sheikh

PublisherMayFly Books2009
‘Institutional critique’ is best known through the critical practice that developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s by artists who presented radical challenges to the museum and gallery system. Since then it has been pushed in new directions by new generations of artists registering and responding to the global transformations of contemporary life. The essays collected in this volume explore this legacy and develop the models of institutional critique in ways that go well beyond the fi eld of art. Interrogating the shifting relations between ‘institutions’ and ‘critique’, the contributors to this volume analyze the past and present of ...
Based on Walter Benjamin’s seminal essay “The Author as Producer”, an array of theorists have developed approaches towards an aesthetics of production. The texts of this issue investigate how Benjamin’s arguments may serve as a ground for reflecting and theorizing current art practices. What are the consequences of political art’s function of “supplying the capitalist production apparatus, not changing it”? How can artistic methods subvert cooptation following Brecht and Tretyakov? Where are there new models of artists/intellectuals as producers and “specialists” rather than experts for the universal?
Publishere-flux2008
Following the recent terrorist attacks in Mumbai, doctor and New Age guru Deepak Chopra commented on CNN that perhaps the worst thing for terrorist groups would be for someone like President-elect Obama to befriend the Muslim world and turn them against terrorists—simple as that! Such a statement is symptomatic of the idea that power today should, whenever possible, be exercised through attraction and seduction rather than through direct coercion. Joseph Nye, one of the intellectual fathers of neoliberalism, has termed the genteel, salesman-like diplomacy that emerged after the Cold War “soft power”: the ability of a political body such as ...
Publishere-flux2010
Should everything be seen as raw material? It is a promise at the very heart of the language, the experience, the reception, the production of art. Hardened systems full of authority should be beaten back down to a point where their basic components become malleable, where as raw material they can play host to potentials, to promises of other ethics, of other forms completely. This can be done using literal, formal, figurative, poetical, or contextual means, and over the past century, just as now, this process of reduction and reconstitution has most often centered on the relationship between human labor and the ...
Publishere-flux2011
Let’s be clear about something: it is infuriating that most interesting artists are perfectly capable of functioning in at least two or three professions that are, unlike that of art, respected by society in terms of compensation and general usefulness. And compensation—which is money—is not only for feeding lavish lifestyles or taking spontaneous beach vacations. Ask anyone who has children or sick relatives in a country without good health care—which could by now be almost any country, as the administration of life is deferred more and more to the private sphere of personal finance. This only makes the question of ...
Publishere-flux2009
These days, it is fairly clear that we consider art to be a trans-disciplinary field in a position to nurture other disciplines, and to be nurtured by these other disciplines in turn. As promising as this might sound, the terms for this exchange become significant, because it remains unclear what exactly we presume art to offer to the world. When hard pressed, we usually prefer not to prequalify the nature of artistic contribution at all, because in fact artists reserve the right to offer nothing other than doing work on their own terms. This requires a delicate balance, and it ...
Publishere-flux2009
It’s worthwhile to question the field of art from time to time, to demand to know its basic motives and intentions. Where is all this production actually heading? How do we locate the work of the work, as it were?.. Editorial Julieta Aranda, Brian Kuan Wood, Anton Vidokle Concerning Matters to be Left for a Later Date, Part 2 of 4 (Guest-Starring Pia Rönicke) Michael Baers Sleepwalking in a Dialectical Picture Puzzle, Part 2: A Conversation with Thomas Keenan Natascha Sadr Haghighian Don’t Stop: Doing Art Potluck Style Carol Yinghua Lu Europe Sans: History, Politics, and Protocol in the EU Image Metahaven Positively Counter-Publics Revisited Simon Sheikh Disobedience in Byelorussia: Self-Interrogation on “Research-Based ...
Publishere-flux2015
Increasingly it seems like no large exhibition opens without an artist boycott. And the reasons to withdraw are legitimate—a gulf museum employs migrant labor under terms approaching slavery, a biennial sponsor corporation operates an offshore detention center, works are censored for petty moral reasons, a municipality passes a homophobic law, or funding is traced to an occupying state with a staggering record of ongoing human rights abuses… Editorial Julieta Aranda, Brian Kuan Wood, Anton Vidokle The Detweeting of Academia Luis Camnitzer Circulation and Withdrawal, Part I: Circulation Simon Sheikh CCC: Currency of Collective Consciousness Ahmet Öğüt Déjà Vu and the End of History Paolo Virno Media Archaeology Out of Nature: ...
Publishere-flux2015
We have a soft spot for people, for our own humanity. We learn to nurture this soft spot through art, through philosophy, through democracy, through our notions of justice or the rights of humans. We learn about the good in the things that are done by the people, for the people, through the people, in the name of the people. But it’s getting cold out there. Something in this setup is shifting below our feet. Something is making the image of the people fuzzy, increasingly vague—a floating signifier missing its referent. Now militants who might have once fought for an idea ...
Publishere-flux2009
The aesthetics of political engagement has become common currency within artistic production and discourse, and the abundance of works and exhibitions now announcing themselves as politically charged are often criticized for their distance from actual social forces outside art. While institutional critique successfully identified certain parallels between these forces and the workings of art institutions, it seems that this has simply given way to a more nuanced (and however richer) discourse for understanding the way power operates within the micro-economy of art itself. Through this, a collective desire for some form of rupture within art has come to constitute an ...
Progressive Art Institutions in the Age of Dissolving Welfare States The final word of power is that resistance is primary.” (Gilles Deleuze) The indissoluble link between power and resistance, as described byFoucault and Deleuze, is especially evident in the institutions of theart field. Progressive art institutions play a particularly exposed role here as buffers against the influence of state and capital on critical art practices and as machines of a soft instrumentalization of resistance at the same time. The essays in this edition discuss strategies and alliances between activist art practices and progressive art institutions that are capable of providing artistic criticism ...
Whereas the concept of the public sphere was booming in the 1980s and 90s, now more and more it seems to be examined critically in discursive and political contexts, and at the same time, as a point of reference for emancipatory practices, it appears to have gone out of fashion. In the art field a growing trend to address partial public spheres / communities has become evident. Here the concept of “art for all” that was previously understood as an emancipatory concept is in danger of being overrun by customer-orientation and audience fetishism in a neo-liberal context. The current focus ...

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