Cloth $27.50 ISBN: 9780226038537 Published May 2013
E-book $7.00 to $27.50 About E-books ISBN: 9780226038674 Published May 2013

Bas Jan Ader

Death Is Elsewhere

Alexander Dumbadze

Alexander Dumbadze

200 pages | 44 halftones | 6 x 9 | © 2013
Cloth $27.50 ISBN: 9780226038537 Published May 2013
E-book $7.00 to $27.50 About E-books ISBN: 9780226038674 Published May 2013
On July 9, 1975, Dutch-born artist Bas Jan Ader set sail from Chatham, Massachusetts, on a thirteen-foot sailboat. He was bound for Falmouth, England, on the second leg of a three-part piece titled In Search of the Miraculous. The damaged boat was found south of the western tip of Ireland nearly a year later. Ader was never seen again.
 
Since his untimely death, Ader has achieved mythic status in the art world as a figure literally willing to die for his art. Considering the artist’s legacy and concise oeuvre beyond the romantic and tragic associations that accompany his peculiar end, Alexander Dumbadze resituates Ader’s art and life within the conceptual art world of Los Angeles in the early 1970s and offers a nuanced argument about artistic subjectivity that explains Ader’s tremendous relevance to contemporary art.
 
Bas Jan Ader blends biography, theoretical reflection, and archival research to draw a detailed picture of the world in which Ader’s work was rooted: a vibrant international art scene populated with peers such as Ger van Elk, William Leavitt, and Allen Ruppersberg. Dumbadze looks closely at Ader’s engagement with questions of free will and his ultimate success in creating art untainted by mediation. The first in-depth study of this enigmatic conceptual artist, Bas Jan Ader is a thoughtful reflection on the necessity of the creative act and its inescapable relation to death.
Matthew Jesse Jackson, University of Chicago
“Alexander Dumbadze is a wonderfully engaging writer. He concentrates tremendous psychological energy in the telling of a taut and revealing story. This is one of the most compelling pieces of art writing that I have yet encountered.”
Tacita Dean
“At last, there exists a well-researched and authoritative account of the life and work of the artist Bas Jan Ader, who has for too long resided in the romanticized shadow cast by his disappearance at sea in 1975. Alexander Dumbadze fleshes out Ader’s working practice, particularly in Los Angeles, giving detailed analysis of the context in which he was working and so bringing a more comprehensive perspective and understanding of both the man and the artist that has hitherto been missing.”
Andrew Perchuk, Getty Research Institute
Bas Jan Ader offers a sophisticated examination of the debate around representation in seventies art, and Alexander Dumbadze offers one of the most theoretically compelling justifications for the use of an artist’s life in recent scholarship. Dumbadze skillfully provides an archival study of Ader’s work that corrects many of the mythic aspects it has taken on since the artist’s death. Thoughtful and meticulous, Bas Jan Ader points out why the terms that have characterized the recent reception of Ader’s work have such a powerful hold on contemporary discourse.”
Art Review
“One of the most enjoyable and affecting academic studies you might hope to read.”
Publishers Weekly
 “Through letters, artwork and interviews by Ader’s contemporaries [Dumbadze] illuminates the brief life of a man content to let gravity take him where it would.”
Cassone
 “Brings out well the Sisyphean nature of Bas Jan Ader’s art-life exploration. . . . This book will be valued by anyone with an interest in Bas Jan Ader or who wishes to understand more about his profoundly challenging art practice. A great read.”
Rain Taxi
“The artist’s untimely demise provides a wildly interesting culmination to an equally interesting life and work, the particulars of which are thoughtfully teased out in Bas Jan Ader: Death Is Elsewhere by Alexander Dumbadze. While Dumbadze’s focus remains primarily on Ader’s work and milieu, he also examines why this relatively small body of work has swelled in influence and led to relative cult status for its creator.”
Contents
Falling
Representing
Trading
Sailing
Dying
For more information, or to order this book, please visit http://www.press.uchicago.edu
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