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Art Power (The MIT Press)


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Boris Groys is an extraordinarily gimlet-eyed observer of the impact visual art has on contemporary art-world institutions. Anyone interested in the balance of aesthetic and political power among artists, collectors, curators, and the audience needs to read Groys's lapidary essays. -- Gregg Horowitz, Department of Philosophy, Vanderbilt University This magisterial overview situates contemporary art - its aesthetic strategies, institutions and drives - within the deeper context of the Modernist revolution, urbanism, new technologies and the post communist era. Groys' combines revelatory analysis with philosophical questions that go tothe heart of cultural production today. -- Iwona Blazwick, Director, Whitechapel Gallery Boris Groys produces more provocations, more paradoxes per page than anyother critic. Here, in one short book, are radical propositions aboutreligion (that it represents perfect 'opinionlessness' and is therefore themedium par excellence), the autonomy of art (that it is guaranteed by the absence of aesthetic judgment), political art (that it does not exist incontemporary art market), communist-era art (that it is invisible to theWest because it lacked a market structure), art theory (that the hope of avoiding it entails a theory of race), and images of war and terror (that they are the new iconophilia, the new visual authority). All these unexpected propositions are made in the hope of a slow, complex, incremental return to authorship, authority, presence, and the sublime. -- James Elkins, author of What Happened to Art Criticism? The writings of Boris Groys create a discursive environment where art can be powerful. His commentaries on artistic activities turn aesthetics from a rhetoric of desire to a rhetoric of thinking. The critique replacing consumerism is finally transformed to a logic of the political, where his writing derives its own power. -- Peter Weibel

About the Author

Boris Groys is an art critic, media theorist, and philosopher. He is Global Distinguished Professor of Russian and Slavic Studies at New York University and Professor of Philosophy at the European Graduate School in Saas-Fee, Switzerland. He is the author of Art Power, History Becomes Form- Moscow Conceptualism (both published by the MIT Press), and other books.


By probing unacknowledged, repressed, or otherwise unexamined relationships that hover in the background of art-world conversation, Art Power recombines categories, reconfigures assumptions, and, in the end, reimagines what art writing can be.

-Matthew Jesse Jackson, Bookforum

It's a seemingly unlimited supply of surprising, even audacious truths that many invested in the art world might prefer not to think too hard about.

-Canadian Art

The range of topics canvassed in Art Power is impressive.... All of these subjects have been comprehensively treated elsewhere, but rarely with Groys' penetrating eye for the unexpected upshot of such developments.


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