Writing in Review 31, Theo Reeves-Evison praises Gregory Sholette’s Dark Matter: Art and Politics in the Age of Enterprise Culture:
Within its pages there lie insights that speak of a lived engagement with political art stretching over thirty years. Sholette describes his book as ‘an attempt to infect the “lawfully” embodied systems of exclusion and visibility’. As well as achieving a great many of its aims, the most infectious aspect of Dark Matter proves to be its author’s passion and commitment to the issues at stake.
Reeves-Evison comments on how Sholette links economic exclusion and exploitation in the art world with wider socio-economic trends:
Dark Matter is also a book about innovation itself and its relation to adaptability. For Sholette – as for many of the Marxist scholars that inspire his approach – it is not simply that the majority of ‘emerging’ artists are willing to work for free, happy to make do without employment rights, pensions, or a guaranteed income; often working second or third jobs to support their practices, but that this paradigm is increasingly becoming the norm in other spheres of economic activity as well. The figure of an artist as a flexible, creative entrepreneur; self-promotional and at ease with instability, has become a model for employees in general under what Boltanski and Chiapello call the ‘new spirit of capitalism’ in their book of the same name. The freedom to transform, to re-train, to remain in perpetual motion, today takes the form of an imperative. For the author of Dark Matter, the guiding question is how to make critical art in a world that welcomes it with open arms.
Visit Review 31 to read the review in full.
Art and Politics in the Age of Enterprise Culture
Shows that the elite of the art world are sustained by new forms and styles created by artists outside the mainstream.
“With great verve and urgency, Gregory Sholette explores the economics of contemporary art production in an era of neoliberalism, and outlines the promises and pitfalls of various tactics of resistance. Dark Matter is a salient call-to-arms to all cultural laborers.” – Julia Bryan-Wilson, author of Art Workers: Radical Practice in the Vietnam War Era
“Based on a multitude of examples from the heterocosmos of invisible art practices, Dark Matter is the ultimate companion to contemporary activist art. In his exquisite and theoretically informed style Gregory Sholette investigates the problematic functions of art practices in the processes of neoliberal appropriation, but above all the wild, explosive and deterritorializing lines that are drawn in the dark matter between art and politics.” – Gerald Raunig, philosopher and art theorist and author of Art and Revolution