After Criticism: New Responses to Art and Performance
April 2008, Wiley-Blackwell
Issues addressed include the 'performing' of art's histories; the consequences for criticism of embracing boredom, distraction and other 'queer' forms of (in)attention; and the importance of exploring writerly process in responding to aesthetic experience. Bringing together newly commissioned work from the fields of art history, performance studies, and visual culture with the writings of contemporary artists, After Criticism provides a set of experimental essays which demonstrate how 'the critical' might live on as a vital and efficacious force within contemporary culture.
Notes on Contributors.
Series Editor’s Preface.
Introduction: The Paradoxes of Criticism. (Gavin Butt).
Part I: Performing Art’s Histories.
1. Solo Solo Solo. (Rebecca Schneider).
2. Binding to Another’s Wound: Of Weddings and Witness. (Jane Blocker).
3. This Is I. (Niru Ratnam).
Part II: Distracted and Bored: The Critic Looks Elsewhere.
4. The Trouble with Men, or, Sex, Boredom, and the Work of Vaginal Davis. (Jennifer Doyle).
5. Utopia’s Seating Chart: Ray Johnson, Jill Johntson and Queer Intermedia as System. (José Esteban Muñoz).
6. Looking Away: Participations in Visual Culture. (Irit Rogoff).
Part III: Critical Response/Performative Process.
7. Itinerant Improvisations: from ‘My Favorite Things’ to an ‘agency of night’. (John Seth).
8. A transparent lecture. (Matthew Goulish).
9. The Experience of Art as a Living Through of Language. (Kate Love).
- Addresses the changing nature of art production,
interpretation, and spectatorship in contemporary art.
- Focuses on key developments that have taken place in the past
decade in the work of selected art historians, writers on visual
culture, artists, and art critics.
- Presents a provocative set of responses to what is most vibrant and challenging about today’s art scene.
"After Criticism is no doubt the most intriguing
collection of performative writing published yet. Being refreshing,
entertaining as well as inspiringly confusing, it is essential
reading for anyone writing on art who does not only think of
what to write, but also how to write it."
"Though it seems contradictory to write words of praise for a
book that deeply interrogates the marketability of praiseful
language (in the guise of art criticism), Gavin Butt's collection
deserves them. Framed by Butt's astute introduction, these
performative essays pulse with vitality. Food for thought, this
book makes us think, again, about art and its interpretations in a
new way. Critical writing as a kind of performance –
delicious." Amelia Jones, University of Manchester
"This anthology is an excellent overview of performative critical discourse edited and introduced by one of its leading proponents. All the contributions have an experimental or improvisational edge that preserves a sense of the critical encounter. The book is at the cutting edge of art theory and will be read with enthusiasm by a large number of people engaged with contemporary art practice and criticism." Margaret Iversen, University of Essex