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Distributed for Intellect Ltd

The Performing Observer

Essays on Contemporary Art, Performance, and Photography

Twenty years of writing on art, performance, and photography.

This collection of short, critical writings on contemporary art, performance, and photography analyzes a wide range of global practitioners, from emerging to established artists. The result is a well-informed, jargon-free survey of significant developments in contemporary art and culture over the past two decades. Among the artists discussed are Francis Alÿs, Laurie Anderson, Chris Burden, William Eggleston, Cindy Sherman, and Andy Warhol.

The subject area examines an important series of interconnected contemporary art practices. Comprising writings on performance-based work, material forms, and photography, the book locates performance within a broader art context. Approachable for a wide audience, it provides scholarly and critical depth along with an accessible writing style. It will particularly appeal to readers closely involved in contemporary art theory and practice, whether students, artists, or academics.

272 pages | 49 halftones | 6 3/4 x 9 1/2

Art: Art--General Studies, Photography

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Table of Contents




1 Chris Burden, Iggy Pop, and the aesthetics of early 70s Performance Art (2004)

2 Laurie Anderson’s Adventures in George W Bush’s America (2015)
3 David Cross’ Confounding Hybridity (2018)
4 Richard Maloy: Try and Try Again (2010)
5 Victoria Singh: The Waiting Room (2014)
6 Interview with artist Catherine Bagnall (2015)
7 ‘My Life is One Big Experiment’: A Conversation with Laurie Anderson (2020)


8 Francis Alÿs and Photography: Snapshots from an Indefinite Vacation (2007)

9 William Eggleston on Film (2006)

10 ‘Vaguely Stealthy Creatures’: Max Kozloff on the Poetics of Street Photography (2002)

11 Vantage Points and Vanishing Spaces: Ann Shelton (2008)

12 Imagined Landscapes and Subterranean Simulacra (2011)

13 Gregory Crewdson: In a Lonely Place (2013)

14 Taryn Simon: An American Index of the Hidden and Unfamiliar (2010)

15 On the Recent Photographs of Simon Mark (2010)

16 Yvonne Todd: Creamy Psychology (2014)

17 Cindy Sherman: Morphing Changeling (2016)


18 Encounter (2009)

19 On false leads, readymades, and seascapes (2008)

20 Hope is Not About What We Expect (2011)

21 Echoes, signs, disruptions (2015)

22 Billy Apple: Mercurial Consistency (2015)
23 Reorientations (2018)


24 Shannon Te Ao: A Torch and a Light (Cover) (2015)

25 Watching Sean Grattan’s HADHAD (2015)

26 On Mike Heynes: video art, animation, and activist critique (2016)

27 Pat Badani: [in time time] (2008)

28 Bogdan Perzynski: Selected Photographic Documents and Video Works (2011)

29 Clement Greenberg: Late Writings, ed. Robert C. Morgan, University of Minnesota Press, 2003
30 The Experimental Group: Ilya Kabakov, Moscow Conceptualism, Soviet Avant-Gardes, Matthew Jesse Jackson, University of Chicago Press, 2010

31 Parallel Presents: The Art of Pierre Huyghe, Amelia Barikin, MIT Press, 2013

32 Performing Contagious Bodies: Ritual Participation in Contemporary Art, Christopher Braddock, Palgrave Macmillan, 2013

33 It’s the Political Economy, Stupid: The Global Financial Crisis in Art and Theory, Gregory Sholette and Oliver Ressler, eds., Pluto Press, 2013

34 Zizz! The life and art of Len Lye, in his own words, with Roger Horrocks, Awa Press, 2015


35 Teresa Hak Kyung Cha (2003)

36 Robyn Kahukiwa (2012)

37 Sad Songs (2005)

38 Shona Macdonald: Simmer Dim (2010)

39 Craig Easton: Collapse (2009)

40 18th Biennale of Sydney (2012)

41 Simon Starling: In Speculum (2014)

42 Chris Heaphy’s Kaleidoscopic Eye (2012)

43 Niki Hastings McFall: In Flyte (2013)

44 Simon Morris: Black Water Colour Painting (2015)

45 Dan Graham: Beyond (2009)

46 Richard Long: Heaven and Earth (2009)

47 Split Level View Finder: Theo Schoon and New Zealand Art (2019)

48 Elisabeth Pointon’s Pop Problematics (or the Customer Might Just Be Wrong) (2020)

49 Warhol: Immortal (2013)

50 Is it the beginning of a new age? (2016)


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