Edited by Tom McDonough
Part of the acclaimed Documents of Contemporary Art series of anthologies which collect writing on major themes and ideas in contemporary art.
"Tom McDonough's rich and fun compilation of statements, reflections and pleas by philosophers, artists and filmmakers advocates boredom as a state of mind from which thoughts and ideas spark...this anthology encourages its readers to reclaim their own latent state of boredom as political act.”
-Uta Meta Bauer, Founding Director of the
NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore and
Professor at the School of Art, Design and Media,
Nanyang Technological University
In contemporary art, boredom is no longer viewed as a singular experience; rather, it is contingent on diverse social identifications and cultural positions, and extends from a malign condition to be struggled against, to an experience to be embraced, or explored as a site of resistance. This anthology explores this history: from the political critique of boredom in 1960s France; silence, repetition or indifference in Fluxus, Pop, Minimalism and conceptual art; the development of feminist diagnoses of malaise in art, performance and film; Punk’s social critique and its influence on theories of the postmodern; and the recognition from the end of the 1980s of a specific form of ennui experienced in former communist states. Today, with the emergence of new forms of labour alienation and personal intrusion, deadening forces extend even further into subjective experience, making the divide between a critical and an aesthetic use of boredom ever more tenuous.
Artists surveyed include Chantal Akerman, Francis Alÿs, John Baldessari, Vanessa Beecroft, Bernadette Corporation, John Cage, Critical Art Ensemble, Merce Cunningham, Marcel Duchamp, Fischli & Weiss, Claire Fontaine, Dick Higgins, Jasper Johns, Donald Judd, Ilya Kabakov, Boris Mikhailov, Robert Morris, John Pilson, Sigmar Polke, Yvonne Rainer, Robert Rauschenberg, Ad Reinhardt, Gerhard Richter, Situationist International, Mierle Laderman Ukeles, Andy Warhol, Faith Wilding, Janet Zweig.
Writers include Ina Blom, Nicolas Bourriaud, Jennifer Doyle, Alla Efimova, Jonathan Flatley, Julian Jason Haladyn, The Invisible Committee, Jonathan D. Katz, Chris Kraus, Tan Lin, Sven Lütticken, John Miller, Agne Narusyte, Sianne Ngai, Peter Osborne, Patrice Petro, Christine Ross, Moira Roth, David Foster Wallace, Aleksandr Zinovyev.
Tom McDonough is Associate Professor of Art History at Binghamton University, State University of New York. His books include ‘The Beautiful Language of My Century’: Reinventing the Language of Contestation in Postwar France, 1945–1968 (2007).
Paperback, 240 pages, 210 x 145 mm
First published 2017