Publications

CCVA-Voorhies-Beyond-Objecthood

Beyond Objecthood
The Exhibition as a Critical Form since 1968

In 1968, Robert Smithson reacted to Michael Fried’s influential essay “Art and Objecthood” with a series of works called non-sites. While Fried described the spectator’s connection with a work of art as a momentary visual engagement, Smithson’s non-sites asked spectators to do something more: to take time looking, walking, seeing, reading, and thinking about the combination of objects, images, and texts installed in a gallery. In Beyond Objecthood, James Voorhies traces a genealogy of spectatorship through the rise of the exhibition as a critical form—and artistic medium. Artists like Smithson, Group Material, and Michael Asher sought to reconfigure and expand the exhibition and the museum into something more active, open, and democratic, by inviting spectators into new and unexpected encounters with works of art and institutions. This practice was sharply critical of the ingrained characteristics long associated with art institutions and conventional exhibition-making; and yet, Voorhies finds, over time the critique has been diluted by efforts of the very institutions that now gravitate to the “participatory.”

Beyond Objecthood focuses on innovative figures, artworks, and institutions that pioneered the exhibition as a critical form, tracing its evolution through the activities of curator Harald Szeemann, relational art, and New Institutionalism. Voorhies examines recent artistic and curatorial work by Liam Gillick, Thomas Hirschhorn, Carsten Höller, Maria Lind, Apolonija Šušteršič, and others, at such institutions as Documenta, e-flux, Manifesta, and Office for Contemporary Art Norway, and he considers the continued potential of the exhibition as a critical form in a time when the differences between art and entertainment increasingly blur.

By James Voorhies

Published by MIT Press, 2017
73 color and 15 b&w illustrations
288 pages; 9.375 x 6.5 inches
$34.95 on Amazon.com


CCVA-Voorhies-New-Institutionalism

What Ever Happened to New Institutionalism?
New Institutionalism, a mode of curating that originated in Europe in the 1990s, evolved from the legacy of international curator Harald Szeemann, the relational art advanced by French critic and theorist Nicolas Bourriaud, and other influential factors of the time. New Institutionalism’s dispersed and varied approaches to curating sought to reconfigure the art institution from within, reshaping it into an active, democratic, open, and egalitarian public sphere. These approaches posed other possibilities and futures for institutions and exhibitions, challenging the consensual conception, production, and distribution of art. Practitioners engaged the art institution with renewed confidence by imbuing it with the potential for new aesthetic experiences and different relationships among artists, institutions, and spectators beyond engrained modernist ideologies. Working in these new modes, the art institution could become a site of fluidity, unpredictability, and risk.

What Ever Happened to New Institutionalism? reflects upon the aspirations of these curatorial strategies and assesses their critical efficacy today within the landscape of contemporary art and globalized culture. The first in a series of readers examining changing characteristics of art institutions, this publication thinks through New Institutionalism by bringing together facsimiles of seminal texts, new critical essays, a history of trends and practices, and commissioned artist projects and contributions. These are complemented by documentation from the inaugural year of programming at the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts at Harvard University focused on reimagining CCVA as a twenty-first-century institution.

Artists and Writers
Martin Beck, Nina Beier, Silvia Benedito, Ulla von Brandenburg, Katarina Burin, Simon Dybbroe Møller, Jonas Ekeberg, Alex Farquharson, Fernanda Fragateiro, Simon Fujiwara, James Goggin, Tone Hansen, Owen Hatherley, Henriette Huldisch, Damon Krukowski, Maria Lind, Markus Miessen, Eline Mugaas, Elise Storsveen, Gloria Sutton, James Voorhies, Naomi Yang, Amy Yoes

Edited by James Voorhies

Published by Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts and Sternberg Press, 2016
Designed by James Goggin of Practise
192 pages; 9.5 x 6.625 inches

Made possible with funding and staff of Harvard University’s Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts


Voorhies-Last Year at Marienbad

Last Year at Marienbad redux
Last Year at Marienbad redux takes the form of an expanded exhibition guide to communicate the visual continuities, subtle overlaps and conceptual intersections among the works of art, design and architecture experienced in the exhibition of the same title. This book is part one in a combined two-volume publication produced as part of the project.

Artists and Writers
Keren Cytter, Tacita Dean, Jessamyn Fiore, Dan Fox, Jens Hoffmann, Iman Issa, David Maljković, Ján Mančuška, Gordon Matta-Clark, Josh Tonsfeldt, Allan Sekula & Noël Burch, and Maya Schweizer

Published by Bureau for Open Culture, 2014
Designed by Nate Padavick
80 pages; 11 x 6.67 inches; out of print

view PDF
view exhibition page
.
.
.


Voorhies-Blast from the Past

Blast from the Past
Blast from the Past theatricalizes found texts about the work of Gordon Matta-Clark and Robert Smithson, combining their words with contemporaneous interviews and articles to propose the genesis of two artworks Blast from the Past (1972–73) and Reality Properties: Fakes Estates (1974) by Matta-Clark. The text is written by Jessamyn Fiore and commissioned for The Marienbad Sessions, a public event series produced as part of the exhibition Last Year at Marienbad redux. It is part two of a two-volume publication.

Artists and Writers
Gordon Matta-Clark and Jessamyn Fiore

Published by Bureau for Open Culture, 2014
Designed by Nate Padavick
80 pages; 11 x 6.67 inches; out of print

view PDF
view exhibition page
.
.
.


I was happy then
I was happy then is a book and film that unites the cinematic spaces of Michelangelo Antonioni’s 1962 L’eclisse and the present-day reality of Siena, Italy. Through the framework of a tourist guide that focuses on topics of alienation, architecture, economy, love and urbanization, I was happy then is a critical reflection on cities that renounce the contemporary in exchange for a re-presentation of key historical periods. It expands possibilities for dissemination of written and visual content by bringing together complementary qualities of printed matter and film into a singular work.

Artists and Writers
Nate Padavick, Casssandra Troyan, James Voorhies

Published by Bureau for Open Culture, 2013
Designed by Nate Padavick
160 pages; 8.25 x 5 inches; out of print

view PDF
view exhibition page
.
.


a kind of forever present
a kind of forever present that takes the form of a theatrical script to perform a fictitious conversation among cultural theorists that considers what ever happened to postmodernism. The script culls parts of seminal texts by Fredric Jameson, Jean Baudrillard, Jürgen Habermas, Clement Greenberg and Jennifer Allen and combines them into a discussion about the transformation of postmodernism into a hybrid, constant stream of social media and digital technology that inherently changes our relationship with time.

Artists and Writers
Nicholas Hoffman, Nate Padavick, James Voorhies with Alice Bayandin, Lena Rosa Händle, Michèle Pagel, Mario Strk, Cassandra Troyan

Published by Bureau for Open Culture, 2012
Designed by Nate Padavick
32 pages; 8.25 x 5 inches; out of print

view PDF
view exhibition page
.


On Symptoms of Cultural Industry
On Symptoms of Cultural Industry examines the impact of cultural production on economic, social and physical characteristics of post-industrial cities, specifically North Adams, Massachusetts. The book is an extension of an exhibition that included performance, video and photography procured from interviews with former workers of Sprague Electric Company, now home to MASS MoCA. While specific to a region, the book speaks widely to conditions cities face in wake of changes from Fordist to post-Fordist economic models.

Artists and Writers
James Voorhies with Timothy Nazzaro, Nate Padavick, Rachel Sherk, Cassandra Troyan

Published by Bureau for Open Culture, 2011
Designed by Nate Padavick
32 pages; 8.25 x 5 inches; out of print

view PDF
view exhibition page
.
.


Voorhies

The New Administration of a Fine Arts Education
The New Administration of a Fine Arts Education features interviews with leading individuals in contemporary art who convey an urgency to consider issues of distribution in relation to sustainable livelihoods for artists. Discussions address ways of making art and exhibitions within the conditions at hand, creating new economic outlets of dissemination and inspiring a need to dispense with notions of the solitary artist working in a studio, relying on “someone” to “discover” them. Harnessing means of distribution in some cases is both content and functioning source of income of this work.

Artists and Writers
Matthew Higgs, Michael Mercil, J. Morgan Puett, Jon Rubin

Published by Bureau for Open Culture, 2011
Designed by Nate Padavick
60 pages; 8.25 x 5 inches; out of print

view PDF
view exhibition page
.
.


Seventh Dream of Teenage Heaven
Seventh Dream of Teenage Heaven seeks to generate ideas about contemporary life in the wake of postmodernism. It explores these issues in relation to how the passage of time once evident in the material residues of our culture has given way technology, social media and consumerism that change the way we perceive to time. The essay takes the form of a three-act play and prologue that combines parts of seminal texts by leading theorists on postmodernism, a pastiche that shapes a fictional conversation⎯itself performing the very ideas addressed by the publication. The book has original musical scores with lyrics drawn from Orwell’s 1984.

Artists and Writers
Guy Ben-Ner, Joachim Brohm, Gerard Byrne, Malcolm Cochran, Peter Dayton, Ben Kinsley, Lara Kohl, Jeremy Kost, Mark Leckey, Mary Lum, Dennis McNulty, Timothy Nazzaro, Johannes Nyholm, Pipilotti Rist, Cassandra Troyan, Jeffrey Vallance, Alejandro Vidal

Published by Bureau for Open Culture, 2011
Designed by Nate Padavick
188 pages; 8.25 x 5 inches; out of print

view PDF
view exhibition page


Voorhies, Calling Beauty

Calling Beauty
“An Argument about Beauty” by American writer and cultural theorist Susan Sontag serves as a basis for examining relationships between contemporary art and a historical responsibility for painting to portray beauty through representation. Calling Beauty is organized around four conventional pillars of reflection: still life, landscape, nude and portraiture. It includes work that draws on these traditional genres and their associations with beauty only to emphasize the retreat from that tradition and thus renewed engagements with a history of art and painting today. Sontag’s essay is reprinted in full in this book.

Artists and Writers
Thorsten Brinkmann, Moyra Davey, Elizabeth Gerdeman, Ellen Harvey, Matts Leiderstam, Ryan McGinley, Anna Molska, Susan Sontag, Eve Sussman/The Rufus Corporation, Darren Waterston

Published by Bureau for Open Culture, 2010
Designed by Nate Padavick
96 pages; 8.25 x 5 inches; out of print

view PDF
view exhibition page


Voorhies, Descent to Revolution

Descent to Revolution
Descent to Revolution draws on a discourse of revolutionary action, revolutionary language and revolutionary theory to thread together and situate revolution in the present moment. It features interviews, commissioned texts and work by five international artist collectives that use urban spaces and social spheres as primary means of engagement. It examines how slow, incremental shifts in social behavior generate knowledge and action that lead to long-term changes in how we engage with one another and our environments. The publication includes a commissioned text by Claire Fontaine and extensive interviews with Red76 and REINIGUNGSESELLSCHAFT.

Artists and Writers
Claire Fontaine, Learning Site, Red76, REINIGUNGSGESELLSCHAFT, Tercerunquinto

Published by Bureau for Open Culture, 2010
Designed by Nate Padavick
224 pages; 8.25 x 5 inches; out of print

view PDF
view exhibition page


Of Other Spaces
Of Other Spaces asks us to consider the ways in which spaces are charged with authority, and both serve and suppress our actions and ways of relating. It follows within a discourse on the sociocultural conditions embedded in different spaces, institutional and otherwise. The concept of “other spaces” is inspired by the philosophy of Michel Foucault, from his 1967 essay, Of Other Spaces, Heterotopias, on the social relations and cultural conditions associated with the weight of space, architecture, and history. Foucault’s essay is reprinted in this book.

Artists and Writers
Mary Jo Bole, Michael Brown, Alain Bublex, Robert Buck, Gregory Crewdson, Dan Graham, Candida Höfer, Guillaume Leblon, Laura Lisbon, Gordon Matta-Clark, Eva Meyer and Eran Schaerf, Laurent Montaron, Maryléne Negro, TJ Norris and Scott Wayne Indiana, Sarah Schönfeld, Maya Schweizer, Suzanne Silver, Christian Tomaszewski, Clemens von Wedemeyer, Jane and Louise Wilson

Published by Bureau for Open Culture, 2009
Designed by Nate Padavick
128 pages; 8.25 x 5 inches; out of print

view PDF
view exhibition page


Taking Shelter
Taking Shelter presents projects and interventions that examine the human desire for appropriate shelter as a place of ownership, a place to call one’s own. The works in this book demonstrate how community, government, economics, and politics are interwoven with and sometimes inextricably linked to the dreams and expectations of having a personal place where one can take shelter.

Artists and Writers
Eric Araujo, Jonathan Calm, Anthony Hernandez, Patrick Killoran, McCallum & Tarry, Jackie Sumell and Herman Wallace

Published by Bureau for Open Culture, 2008
Designed by Nate Padavick
40 pages; 8.25 x 5 inches; out of print

view PDF
view exhibition page
.
.
.
.


Exact Imagination
Exact Imagination is about the experience of art, however one may have it, via gallery exhibitions, social encounters, books, reproductions, academics, or simply by being alive. Taking its inspiration and title from the Frankfurt School philosopher Theodor Adorno and his analysis of aesthetic experience in which he argues that subjective and objective forces collide to determine a viewer’s perceptual reception of art—how it makes them feel, what they take away from it, what they draw up inside of them to relate to it—it includes art that encourages both concrete and immaterial aesthetic explorations. With this in mind, Exact Imagination investigates the authority of the institution and its effect on the viewer.

Artists and Writers
BANK, Andrea Fraser, Gaylen Gerber, David Ireland, Christian Jankowski, Louise Lawler, N55, David Ording, Red76

Published by Bureau for Open Culture, 2008
Designed by Nate Padavick
60 pages; 8.25 x 5 inches; out of print

view PDF
view exhibition page


Consumption Junction
Consumption Junction is about the paradoxical intersection of environmentally sustainable activity and daily acts of consumption. The works of art gathered together for this exhibition and book share a conceptual language that addresses a range of topics from excessive spending, pollution, and urban infrastructure to alternative transportation, suburban sprawl, and recycling. They offer insightful cultural criticisms and whimsical, imaginative alternatives set somewhere between reality and fiction. In all cases they suggest the need for a worldwide environmental movement that responds to our ecologically precarious moment.

Artists and Writers
Amy Chan, Guy Debord, Design Management AS, Dan Graham, Komar & Melamid, Learning Group, Nicola López, Scott Massey, Miss Rockaway Armada, Ester Partegás, Tim Rietenbach, 5.5 Designers

Published by Bureau for Open Culture, 2007
Designed by Nate Padavick
52 pages; 8.25 x 5 inches; out of print

view PDF
view exhibition page


My Dear Stieglitz
Letters of Marsden Hartley and Alfred Stieglitz, 1912–1915

A collection of previously unpublished correspondence between American artist Marsden Hartley and avant-garde impresario and photographer Alfred Stieglitz, My Dear Stieglitz chronicles a painter’s three-year-plus European pilgrimage before—and during the inception of—World War I. Beginning with Hartley’s 1912 arrival in Paris, his letters to Stieglitz from this pioneering capital of modern art and world culture provide sweeping accounts of Gertrude Stein’s salons, gossip of Montparnasse cafés filled with poets, writers, artists, and composers, and commentary on paintings by Picasso, Cézanne, and Matisse. Searching for social acceptance as well as artistic growth and inspiration, Hartley reports to Stieglitz on leading galleries such as Ambroise Vollard, Bernheim-Jeune, and Paul Durand-Ruel, while finding solace in art at the Musée du Louvre.

From Germany in early 1913, Hartley writes vibrant letters about the Expressionist artists in Munich, Wassily Kandinsky and Franz Marc, and their group Der Blaue Reiter. Hartley’s missives quickly become up-to-the-minute exposés on avant-garde trends in Germany with childlike lamentations over the bustling, modern city of Berlin. His glory in Germany turns solemn with the onset of World War I and the death of his close friend, a German officer named Karl von Freyburg—a loss vividly depicted in Hartley’s renowned war motif paintings from this period. Steiglitz’s correspondence from New York gives an American point of view of a war in Europe and chronicles exhibitions at 291, his own gallery for modern art. Although Stieglitz’s letters are less personal than Hartley’s, he shows subtle signs of resentment toward the famous 1913 Armory Show, which usurped his reign over modernism in America.

Closing in late 1915 with Hartley’s return to an America filled with anti-German sentiment and a New York seasoned by the influx of modern art, My Dear Stieglitz provides an intimate perspective on modern art and the human condition during the tempestuous years of the early twentieth century.

Published by The University of South Carolina Press, 2002
Edited by James Voorhies
254 pages; 7 x 10 inches


View Bureau for Open Culture publications on issuu.

Publications distributed in the UK and Europe by Antenne Books. BOC publications also available at Printed Matter, New York; Pro qm, Berlin; Motto, Berlin; Half Letter Press, Chicago; Van Alen Books, New York; McNally Jackson, New York; Salon für Kunstbuch, Vienna; Purr, Buenos Aires; Útúrdúr, Reykjavík and Art Metropole, Toronto; and at museum bookstores at the Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; ICA London; Centre Canadien d’Architecture, Montreal; MASS MoCA; LA MoCA.

Flickr photostream of Printed Matter NY Art Book Fair, P.S. 1 / MoMA, 2013

Flickr photostream of Printed Matter NY Art Book Fair, P.S. 1 / MoMA, 2011