Delirium and Resistance: Activist Art and the Crisis of Capitalism (Paperback)

Delirium and Resistance: Activist Art and the Crisis of Capitalism By Gregory Sholette, Kim Charnley (Editor), Lucy R. Lippard (Foreword by) Cover Image

Delirium and Resistance: Activist Art and the Crisis of Capitalism (Paperback)

By Gregory Sholette, Kim Charnley (Editor), Lucy R. Lippard (Foreword by)


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In the aftermath of the 2016 US election, Brexit, and a global upsurge of nationalist populism, it is evident that the delirium and the crisis of neoliberal capitalism is now the delirium and crisis of liberal democracy and its culture. And though capitalist crisis does not begin within art, art can reflect and amplify its effects to positive and negative ends. 
In this follow-up to his influential 2010 book, Dark Matter: Art and Politics in the Age of Enterprise Culture, Sholette engages in critical dialogue with artists’ collectives, counter-institutions, and activist groups to offer an insightful firsthand account of the relationship between politics and art in neoliberal society. Sholette lays out clear examples of art’s deep involvement in capitalism: the dizzying prices achieved by artists who pander to the financial elite, the proliferation of museums that contribute to global competition between cities in order to attract capital, and the strange relationship between art and rampant gentrification that restructures the urban landscape. 
With a preface by noted author Lucy R. Lippard and an introduction by theorist Kim Charnley, Delirium and Resistance draws on over thirty years of critical debates and practices both in and beyond the art world to historicize and advocate for the art activist tradition that radically—and, at times, deliriously—entangles the visual arts with political struggles.
Gregory Sholette is a New York City-based artist, writer, and core member of the activist art collective Gulf Labor Coalition. He is coauthor of It’s the Political Economy, Stupid; and Dark Matter: Art and Politics in an Age of Enterprise Culture, both also published by Pluto Press. He currently teaches in the Queens College art department at City University of New York. Kim Charnley is a UK-based art theorist and art historian whose work examines the relationship between politics and contemporary art. Lucy R. Lippard is an internationally known activist, feminist, art critic, and curator noted for her writings on contemporary art. She is the author of several books, including Six Years: The Dematerialization of the Art Object from 1966 1972Get the Message?: A Decade of Art for Social Change, and Undermining: A Wild Ride through Land Use, Politics, and Art in the Changing West.
Product Details ISBN: 9780745336848
ISBN-10: 0745336841
Publisher: Pluto Press
Publication Date: April 20th, 2017
Pages: 256
Language: English
“Sholette resists any simple solutions in Delirium and Resistance. Though the book is dense and meant to be read slowly, his writing is incisive and clear, and at times poetic with a savvy use of metaphor.” 
— The Brooklyn Rail

''Read this book and you will never see contemporary art the same way again. So much of what's wrong with the global economy is wrong with the establishment art world and Sholette has been examining this for a long time in everything he does as an art person. In the many art worlds that exist, we’re happy and proud to be a part of his."
— Guerrilla Girls

''Sholette is representative of a new artist type that emerged after Conceptualism in that his work as a critic, theorist, and curator is central to his practice as an artist. No-one else has come up with a category that rivals 'dark matter' as a hermeneutic for analysing the current political economy of art and the economic situation of artists, in all their variety. No-one else has quite the long-term commitment to collective practice or the record of publications on the theme. He is one of the most cogent artist-theorists currently working in the domain of social practice art.''
— Andrew Hemingway, University College London

"Shifting between artistic practice, curating, writing, and activism, Sholette has been surfing the waves of activist art for more than three decades. His work is based on the multitude of lines drawn from the political art of the 20th century and expanding its realm as it reaches out to the transversal activisms of the 21st century. Delirium and Resistance is a manifesto documenting these developments in their broadest forms, from 1980s anti-gentrification efforts and 1990s tactical media practitioners, to the post-occupy-practices of our current circumstances." 
— Gerald Raunig, author of DIVIDUUM: Machinic Capitalism and Molecular Revolution, Part 1

“Versed in the violent vicissitudes of political economy, Sholette is certainly better equipped than most who write about art and politics to analyze how the constraints on contingency exerted by capital can generate inescapable contradictions.”
— Critical Inquiry

"Artist/activist Gregory Sholette introduces the term 'bare art' to denote capitalism's treatment of artworks as pure commodities. Stressing the importance of grassroots organizing, he examines how the current marketing system impacts art production and costs."
— Art in America

“One of the most fascinating aspects of this book, then, is the number of questions it raises about what lies beneath the surface of the public sphere, and what it means to shine a light on previously obscured beliefs and practices…Delirium and Resistance suggests that one of the main challenges for activist artists is to find new ways to harness this power from below without letting it bubble up too conspicuously, in order to resist bare art and imagine new ways to confront the crises of the future.”
— FIELD Journal of Socially-Engaged Art Criticism

"Delirium and Resistance also summarizes the experience of someone who has been on the barricades enough to relativize both the seemingly endlessness of pessimism and precipitation of euphoria. It is, ultimately, a book written by an artist who has dared to try out many of the ideas on art, power, society and transformation instead of simply enunciating them....His insight provides a rare mix of emergence and history, strategy and conscious planning, enthusiasm and patience, a conjunction highly appreciated in a moment of superabundance of theories and ideals of emancipative action."
— Afterall

"Sholette reads the events of Occupy Wall Street as an archival lesson, marking a reactivation of collective political memory and initiating new secrets to liberate the future: 'something being written, call it a promissory note, an obligation to a future reader from a place already dislocated in time.'  In this sense, what activists occupied in Zuccotti Park was not just space but time, shared with past and future resistance movements around the world."
— Artastiapacific

"Sholette resists any simple solutions in Delirium and Resistance....his writing is incisive and clear, and at times poetic with a savvy use of metaphor. His soft but polemical tone addresses art activism with a nuanced and substantial reading of its condition ('bare art') while affirming the need to harness resistance ('dark matter') into an ever-expanding activist and discursive realm that can navigate art’s relationship to capital, education, gentrification, and social movements."
— Brooklyn Rail

"Sholette embraces the complex, creative and political opportunities accorded by collaborative practice, as radical reaction to the relentless focus on the ‘artist as auteur’ still pushed by countless art schools. By working collectively, artists can offer prefigurative models of real democracy."
— Frieze

"No matter where you live today, Scholette’s plea for a more engaged level of artistic intervention feels more urgent than ever."
— We Make Money Not Art

“Sholette is careful to craft an analysis that does not force artists into the role of passive or accidental victims of a process which they cannot control, but rather always looks for what openings there are for renewed forms of antagonism, even if they are constantly shifting.”
— Art History