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After Art

David Joselit


Clear, concise, elegantly argued, After Art is an expansive attempt to understand the production, distribution, and meaning of art in a digitally networked global art world. As ambitious in his program as Walter Benjamin was in "The Work of Art in the Age of Its Technological Reproduceability," Joselit outlines the changes, the challenges, and the opportunities brought about by the vast amount of imagery now available to anyone with a wi fi connection. The contributing players come from every contemporary nook and historical cranny: from Hannah Arendt and Sherrie Levine to Rem Koolhaas and Ai Weiwei from Ethnicity Inc and James Gilmore and Joseph Pine (creators of "experience branding") to UNESCO's Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export, and Transport of Ownership of Cultural Property. Illustrated with original diagrams by Geoff Kaplan, Joselit shapes this wide array of sources into a dynamic framework of movement and activity in which images emerge into networks, artists expand formats into meanings, and institutions provide political platforms. Informed optimism runs across the grain of most contemporary critical voices, but in the midst of turmoil and excess, David Joselit has outlined a way forward, a theory of art that re-imagines and reaffirms its ability to affect positive change in the world.

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