Dark Matter: Art and Politics in the Age of Enterprise Culture
Distributed for Pluto Press
Gregory Sholette, a politically engaged artist, argues that imagination and creativity in the art world originate thrive in the non-commercial sector shut off from prestigious galleries and champagne receptions. This broader creative culture feeds the mainstream with new forms and styles that can be commodified and used to sustain the few artists admitted into the elite.
This dependency, and the advent of inexpensive communication, audio and video technology, has allowed this 'dark matter' of the alternative art world to increasingly subvert the mainstream and intervene politically as both new and old forms of non-capitalist, public art. This book is essential for anyone interested in interventionist art, collectivism, and the political economy of the art world.
Exordium: An Accidental Remainder
(Sets the scene through a brief meditation on an all but forgotten artists’ collective that the author once belonged to: Political Art Documentation/Distribution aka PAD/D, and its missing presence in contemporary art history.)
Introduction: The Missing Mass
(Who is the author and how did this book come about followed by a concise description of each chapter in the volume.)
1 Art, Politics, Dark Matter: Nine Prologues
(An overview of the book’s key themes and arguments.)
2 The Grin of the Archive
(A critical journey into the PAD/D Archive that is now housed in the Museum of Modern Art is used to examine the shifting politics of the 1980s as neo-conservativism, economic deregulation, gentrification, and the remnants of the New Left clashed in New York City and elsewhere.)
3 History That Disturbs the Present
(Public art projects about history’s missing narratives produced by the artists’ group REPOhistory are described in relation to both the concept of the shadow archive, and in terms of the ultra-gentrified New York City of the 1990s.)
4 Temporary Services
(Chicago’s informal artists’ group Temporary Services is discussed and contrasted to what might be described as the rise of a dark matter Ressentiment exemplified by groups like the Minutemen Border Patrol vigilantes, and the Tea Party.)
5 Glut, Overproduction, Redundancy!
(A journey into the dark matter of the art world’s invisible political economy with its hidden dependency on the unremunerated productivity of the majority of artists.)
6 The Unnamable
(Why did Steve Kurtz and Critical Art Ensemble became a targets of the George Bush Department of Justice (sic), the answer put forth her is that the Tactical Media group not only operated collectively, but openly reverse-engineered power relations dear to the neo-liberal corporate state.)
(Art collectives, groups, and informal communities reinvent institutional form for the 21st Century by skeptically imitating the very function of institutional power.)
8 Conclusions: Nights of Amateurs
(So-called dark matter creativity is only the most recent expression of a far longer cultural history “from below”.)
Appendix: Artists’ Groups Survey 2008