The release of Boredom, the latest title in the Documents of Contemporary Art book series, edited by Associate Professor and Chair Tom McDonough, will be celebrated at the Whitechapel Gallery in a conversation between McDonough and artist Fulvia Carnevale this evening, February 23.
“Tom McDonough’s rich and fun compilation of statements, reflections and pleas by philosophers, artists and filmmakers advocates boredom as a state of mind from which thoughts and ideas spark…this anthology encourages its readers to reclaim their own latent state of boredom as political act.”
-Uta Meta Bauer, Founding Director of the NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore and Professor at the School of Art, Design and Media, Nanyang Technological University
In contemporary art, boredom is no longer viewed as a singular experience; rather, it is contingent on diverse social identifications and cultural positions, and extends from a malign condition to be struggled against, to an experience to be embraced, or explored as a site of resistance. This anthology explores this history: from the political critique of boredom in 1960s France; silence, repetition or indifference in Fluxus, Pop, Minimalism and conceptual art; the development of feminist diagnoses of malaise in art, performance and film; Punk’s social critique and its influence on theories of the postmodern; and the recognition from the end of the 1980s of a specific form of ennui experienced in former communist states. Today, with the emergence of new forms of labour alienation and personal intrusion, deadening forces extend even further into subjective experience, making the divide between a critical and an aesthetic use of boredom ever more tenuous.
For New York-based artist Amie Siegel’s first solo show in London, the South London Gallery presents recent works which explore the mechanisms through which objects become imbued with meaning. Known for her layered, meticulously constructed works that consider the undercurrents of value systems, cultural ownership and image-making, Siegel works across film, video, photography, performance and installation.
For over three decades, the Art History Department has been committed to the cross-cultural, global study of art, visual culture, architecture and the built environment. This has never simply been a decision regarding disciplinary “methodology” but rather, we believe, a profoundly principled commitment to questioning the Eurocentric, patriarchal and class-based biases ingrained in the field and our society at large and to excluding all forms of discrimination and prejudice, regardless of the prevailing political climate.
As a department that welcomes a very international student body and strives to model an inclusive transnational community open to all regardless of nationality, race, gender identification or sexual preference, we reaffirm our commitment to a more egalitarian engagement with world cultures and stand in solidarity with all those struggling to realize that vision in academia and beyond.