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As Radical as Reality Itself

Essays on Marxism and Art for the 21st Century

Matthew Beaumont, Andrew Hemingway, Esther Leslie and John Roberts

This collection of essays, by a number of established scholars and artists, proposes new directions for Marxist cultural theory and the criticism of modern visual culture. It addresses a diverse range of topics, including the state and revolution, Communist and post-Communist aesthetics, Situationist thought and the avant-garde, subjectivity and commodification, and the politics and problems of contemporary artistic practice. The contributions also consider several other pressing questions in the visual arts, from the practice of digital culture to appropriations of critical theory, from the relations of art and the spectacle to architecture in the age of global modernity. This book on Marxism and art is not offered in a spirit of nostalgia: on the contrary, it testifies to the continuing vitality and confidence of historical materialist thought in the field of cultural theory and practice in the 21st century.
Contents: Matthew Beaumont: Preface – John Roberts: Marxism and Art Theory: A Short Conspectus – Andrew Hemingway: Marxist Art History Now – Esther Leslie: Marxism Against Cultural Studies – Satish Padiyar: Shadow of Agency: Derrida, Marx, David – Mary K. Coffey: Representation, Institutionalization, and the State: Marxist and Post-Structural Approaches to Mexican Muralism and the Popular – Paul Jaskot: Marxism and the Built Environment in the Twenty-First Century: Millennium Park in Chicago and the Question of Private and Public Space – Christina Kiaer: The Socialist Objects of Russian Constructivism as a Model of Aesthetic Value – Jutta Held: Work as an Artistic Motif: Theoretical and Pictorial Models from the DDR: An Historical Sketch – Wojciech Tomasik: I Demolish Moscow! Acts of Symbolic Destruction in the Post-Communist Period – Anselm Jappe: Were the Situationists the Last Avant-Garde? – Peter Smith: Never Work! The Situationists and the Politics of Negation – Frances Stracey: Consuming the Spectacle: The Watts Revolt and a New Proletariat – David Cunningham: Architecture in the Age of Global Modernity: Tafuri, Jameson and Enclave Theory – Barry King: Modularity and the Aesthetics of Self-Commodification – Drew Milne: Processual Performance: Critical Notes on Adorno’s Autonomous Artwork – Ben Watson: The Theory of Value in Marx and Adorno – Rasheed Araeen: Globalization, Cultural Difference, and the Alternative to the Crisis of Art Today – Geoff Cox: Sub Disorder(). After ‘The Author as Producer’ – Gregory Sholette: Dark Matter, Activist Art and the Counter-Public Sphere.