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Exhibition as Social Intervention
Authors & Editors
6 x 8 in
Afterall: 978-1-84638-138-X
Koenig: 978-3-86335-448-0

With an introduction by David Morris and Paul O’Neill, essays by Joshua Decter and Helmut Draxler, comprehensive documentation of the contributing projects, reviews from the time by Hafþór Yngvason and Joe Scanlan, a statement by Mary Jane Jacob, interviews with artists Mark Dion and Simon Grennan of Grennan & Sperandio and artist Daniel J. Martinez in conversation with Michael Brenson.

A show challenging conventional understandings of public art, ‘Culture in Action’ in Chicago had a new social agenda, and reworked what an exhibition of contemporary art might be. Through eight projects by artists, initiated in the early 1990s and developed in collaboration with local people, the intention was to engage diverse groups over time, in addition to the visiting public in 1993. In the fifth book in Afterall’s Exhibition Histories series, the course of these projects is illustrated and described, with critical reappraisal of this important exhibition in newly commissioned essays and interviews. In the core text, Joshua Decter reflects on how we might evaluate this controversial curatorial project now. Critical responses and reviews from the time reflect the contemporaneous reception, and a new essay by Helmut Draxler elaborates on the expanded context for art-making and display in those years, bringing European perspectives to bear. The introduction by David Morris and Paul O’Neill frames the whole, which further includes contemporary responses from the curator and three of the participating artists.

The Exhibition Histories series investigates exhibitions that have shaped the way contemporary art is experienced, made and discussed.

Published by Afterall Books in association the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College, 2014. Distributed by Koenig Books and ARTBOOK | D.A.P.