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One Place after Another

Site-specific art emerged in the late 1960s in reaction to the growing commodification of art and the prevailing ideals of art's autonomy and universality. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, as site-specific art intersected with land art, process art, performance art, conceptual art, installation art, institutional critique, community-based art, and public art, its creators insisted on the inseparability of the work and its context. In recent years, however, the presumption of unrepeatability and immobility encapsulated in Richard Serra's famous dictum "to remove the work is to destroy the work" is being challenged by new models of site specificity and changes in institutional and market forces.

One Place after Another offers a critical history of site-specific art since the late 1960s and a theoretical framework for examining the rhetoric of aesthetic vanguardism and political progressivism associated with its many permutations. Informed by urban theory, postmodernist criticism in art and architecture, and debates concerning identity politics and the public sphere, the book addresses the siting of art as more than an artistic problem. It examines site specificity as a complex cipher of the unstable relationship between location and identity in the era of late capitalism. The book addresses the work of, among others, John Ahearn, Mark Dion, Andrea Fraser, Donald Judd, Renee Green, Suzanne Lacy, Inigo Manglano-Ovalle, Richard Serra, Mierle Laderman Ukeles, and Fred Wilson.
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You are familiar with art history. Welcome to art geography, a new subdiscipline launched by Miwon Kwon's lustrous commentary on thirty-five years of artists' engagement with physical and political environments. -- Andrew Ross, New York University The concept of site specificity has been used to cover a wide and often ill-defined range of art practices. Kwon's important book clarifies the issues at stake and cogently lays out a number of analytical paths down which others will surely follow. One Place After Another will re-define the way we think about public art. -- Russell Ferguson, Chief Curator, UCLA Hammer Museum, Los Angeles A compelling theoretical analysis that never loses sight of the 'here and now' of artistic practice and aesthetic experience. Miwon Kwon's exploration of the social and political dimensions of site specificity succeeds in being both original and provocative; it will provide a valuable foundation for all future studies. -- Judith Russi Kirshner, critic, curator, and Dean of the College of Architecture and the Arts, University of Illinois at Chicago One Place After Another discusses how artists from the 60s to the 90s have engaged with specific sites and their contexts, whether in art institutions or public places. Here, sites bring to the surface what is intrinsic to a locality but often overlooked or not yet visible. This book provides an important and critical overview of discourses about site specificity that will interest artists, commissioners, curators, institutions, critics, and the broader public. -- Uta Meta Bauer, Professor of Theory, Practice, and Mediation of Contemporary Art, Academy of Fine Arts Vienna

About the Author

Miwon Kwon is Assistant Professor of Art History at the University of California, Los Angeles.


"What makes this book strong is the steady course it plots through the inevitable polemical rapids. Kwon does not take sides or pull punches; she has no heroes; she weighs the evidence.... The result is a book that actually dwells in the world and redescribes it, as does art." - Anne M. Wagner, Artforum; "Kwon delivers a much-needed theoretical framework for the complicated notion of site-specificity." - Teme Celeste"

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