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Alexander Alberro

Alexander Alberro is Virginia Bloedel Wright '51 Associate Professor of Art History at Barnard College. He is the author of Conceptual Art and the Politics of Publicity (2000), and coeditor (with Blake Stimson) of Conceptual Art: A Critical Anthology (2000), both published by the MIT Press.

Titles by This Author

Conceptual art was one of the most influential art movements of the second half of the twentieth century. In this book Alexander Alberro traces its origins to the mid-1960s, when its principles were first articulated by the artists Dan Graham, Joseph Kosuth, Sol LeWitt, Lawrence Weiner, and others. One of Alberro's central arguments is that the conceptual art movement was founded not just by the artists but also by the dealer Seth Siegelaub. Siegelaub promoted the artists, curated groundbreaking shows, organized symposia and publications, and in many ways set the stage for another kind of entrepreneur: the freelance curator. Alberro examines both Siegelaub's role in launching the careers of artists who were making "something from nothing" and his tactful business practices, particularly in marketing and advertising.

Alberro draws on close readings of artworks produced by key conceptual artists in the mid- to late 1960s. He places the movement in the social context of the rebellion against existing cultural institutions, as well as the increased commercialization and globalization of the art world. The book ends with a discussion of one of Siegelaub's most material and least ephemeral contributions, the Artist's Reserved Rights Transfer and Sale Agreement, which he wrote between 1969 and 1971. Designed to limit the inordinate control of collectors, galleries, and museums by increasing the artist's rights, the Agreement unwittingly codified the overlap between capitalism and the arts.

Titles by This Editor

An Anthology of Artists' Writings

"Institutional critique" is an artistic practice that reflects critically on its own place within galleries and museums and on the concept and social function of art itself. Such concerns have always been a part of modern art but took on new urgency at the end of the 1960s, when--driven by the social upheaval of the time and enabled by the tools and techniques of conceptual art--institutional critique emerged as a genre. This anthology traces the development of institutional critique as an artistic concern from the 1960s to the present, gathering writings and representative art projects of artists who developed and extended the genre. The artists come from across Europe and throughout the Americas; the texts and artworks included are notable for the range of perspectives and positions they reflect, and for their influence in pushing the boundaries of what is meant by institutional critique.

Art After Conceptual Art tracks the various legacies of conceptualist practice over the past three decades. The anthology introduces and develops the idea that Conceptual art generated several different, and even contradictory, forms of art practice. Whereas some of these art modes contested commonplace assumptions of what art is, others served to buttress those beliefs. The bulk of the volume features newly written and highly innovative essays challenging standard historicizations of the legacy of Conceptualism, as well as the critical impact of these art practices on art since the 1970s. The essays explore topics as diverse as the interrelationships between Conceptualism and institutional critique, neoexpressionist painting and conceptualist paradigms, Conceptual art's often-ignored complicity with design and commodity culture, the specific forms of identity politics taken up by the reception of Conceptual art, and Conceptualism's North/South and East/West dynamics. A few texts that continue to be crucial for critical debates within the fields of conceptual and postconceptual art practice, history, and theory have been reprinted in order to convey the vibrant and ongoing discussion on the status of art after Conceptual art. The present volume aims to trigger an exploration of the relationship between postconceptualist practices and the beginnings of contemporary art.

The Generali Foundation Collection Series introduces important themes from this collection of contemporary art, without dealing explicitly with the collected artworks. Instead, it explores those discourses that have been crucial for the formation of art practices central to the Generali Foundation Collection. Furthermore, it makes visible their social, historical, and theoretical contexts, and the relevant shifts and disruptions within them.

Distributed for the Generali Foundation, Vienna

The Writings of Andrea Fraser

Andrea Fraser's work, writes Pierre Bourdieu in his foreword to Museum Highlights, is able to "trigger a social mechanism, a sort of machine infernale whose operation causes the hidden truth of social reality to reveal itself." It often does this by incorporating and inhabiting the social role it sets out to critique—as in a performance piece in which she leads a tour as a museum docent and describes the men’s room in the same elevated language that she uses to describe seventeenth-century Dutch paintings. Influenced by the interdisciplinarity of postmodernism, Fraser's interventionist art draws on four primary artistic and intellectual frameworks—institutional critique, with its site-specific examination of cultural context; performance; feminism, with its investigation of identity formation; and Bourdieu's reflexive sociology. Fraser's writings form an integral part of her artistic practice, and this collection of texts written between 1985 and 2003.

A Critical Anthology

Compared to other avant-garde movements that emerged in the 1960s, conceptual art has received relatively little serious attention by art historians and critics of the past twenty-five years--in part because of the difficult, intellectual nature of the art. This lack of attention is particularly striking given the tremendous influence of conceptual art on the art of the last fifteen years, on critical discussion surrounding postmodernism, and on the use of theory by artists, curators, critics, and historians.This landmark anthology collects for the first time the key historical documents that helped give definition and purpose to the movement. It also contains more recent memoirs by participants, as well as critical histories of the period by some of today's leading artists and art historians. Many of the essays and artists' statements have been translated into English specifically for this volume. A good portion of the exchange between artists, critics, and theorists took place in difficult-to-find limited-edition catalogs, small journals, and private correspondence. These influential documents are gathered here for the first time, along with a number of previously unpublished essays and interviews. Contributors: Alexander Alberro, Art & Language, Terry Atkinson, Michael Baldwin, Robert Barry, Gregory Battcock, Mel Bochner, Sigmund Bode, Georges Boudaille, Marcel Broodthaers, Benjamin Buchloh, Daniel Buren, Victor Burgin, Ian Burn, Jack Burnham, Luis Camnitzer, John Chandler, Sarah Charlesworth, Michel Claura, Jean Clay, Michael Corris, Eduardo Costa, Thomas Crow, Hanne Darboven, Ra?ol Escari, Piero Gilardi, Dan Graham, Maria Teresa Gramuglio, Hans Haacke, Charles Harrison, Roberto Jacoby, Mary Kelly, Joseph Kosuth, Max Kozloff, Christine Kozlov, Sol LeWitt, Lucy Lippard, Lee Lozano, Kynaston McShine, Cildo Meireles, Catherine Millet, Olivier Mosset, John Murphy, H??lio Oiticica, Michel Parmentier, Adrian Piper, Yvonne Rainer, Mari Carmen Ramirez, Nicolas Rosa, Harold Rosenberg, Martha Rosler, Allan Sekula, Jeanne Siegel, Seth Siegelaub, Terry Smith, Robert Smithson, Athena Tacha Spear, Blake Stimson, Niele Toroni, Mierle Ukeles, Jeff Wall, Rolf Wedewer, Ian Wilson.

Selected Writings by Dan Graham on His Art

introduction by Jeff Wall

The internationally renowned artist Dan Graham is widely acknowledged as one of the leading members of the 1960s conceptual art movement. However, his subsequent work in photography, performance, film, video, and the fusion of art and architecture, though well known in Europe and Japan, is less well known in English-speaking countries.

In Rock My Religion (MIT Press, 1993), Graham explored mainly the work of other artists. In this collection, he articulates the rationale behind his own art. The broadly accessible essays, which include his most canonical texts, are organized both thematically and chronologically. They chart his career from conceptual art for magazine pages of the 1960s, to work integrating video, television, architecture, film, and performance of the 1970s, to his pavilion sculptures of the 1980s and 1990s. The book also features an essay by Jeff Wall and interviews with Graham that address the art historical references and theoretical principles underlying his work.

Published in association with the Marian Goodman Gallery, New York.