In recent years, artists and curators have often been confronted with the political dilemma of engagement or disengagement. The ideological, economic, or ethically objectionable circumstances of certain biennials and art exhibitions have raised the question of whether to continue and, if so, under what circumstances, with what consequences, and to what ends? From 2013 to 2015, biennials in Istanbul, St. Petersburg, Sydney, and São Paulo demonstrated that curating and art production can’t just carry on as if nothing had happened.
This reader is the result of Joanna Warsza’s course at the Salzburg International Summer Academy of Fine Arts in 2015. It examines four recent cases of boycotts, presenting their political, ideological, and economic contexts, timelines, statements, as well as interviews with parties involved. It reflects on how certain biennials became the place where the power of art is renegotiated and why one simply “can’t work like this.”
Ahmet Öğüt is a sociocultural initiator, artist, and renown artist who lives and works in Berlin and Amsterdam. Was one of the initiators of the boycott at the Biennale of Sydney in 2014.
Julieta Aranda is a conceptual artist, originally from Mexico, who lives and works in Berlin and New York City. She is one of the co-funders of e-flux journal.
Tirdad Zolghadr is a curator and writer. His most recent publication is Traction, Sternberg Press 2016. Zolghadr is director of the Summer Academy Paul Klee in Bern and associate curator at KW Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin. He teaches at the Dutch Art Institute in Arnhem.
About the reader:
I Can’t Work Like This. A Reader on Recent Boycotts and Contemporary Art
Edited by Joanna Warsza; with associate editors Ágnes Básthy, Anna Ten, Georgia Stellin, Judith Waldmann, Katharina Brandl, Lianne Mol, Mirela Baciak, Petra Belc, Renata Cervetto, Sarah Werkmeister, Ulrike Jordan, Ursula Guttmann, Vanda Sárai
Contributions by Corina L. Apostol, Julieta Aranda, Burak Arikan, Dave Beech, Boris Buden, Brad Butler & Karen Mirza, Libia Castro & Ólafur Ólafsson, Tony Chakar, Chto Delat?, Ekaterina Degot, Galit Eilat, Charles Esche, Lara Fresko, Maria Galindo, Erdem Gündüz, Thomas Hirschhorn, Clara Ianni, Alevtina Kakhidze, Matthew Kiem, Kasper König, Vasif Kortun, Maria Kulikovska, Pablo Lafuente, Ana Lira, Vesna Madžoski, Angela Mitropoulos, Ahmet Öğüt, Andrea Phillips, Natascha Sadr Haghighian, Christoph Schäfer, Gregory Sholette, Jonas Staal, Hito Steyerl, Chen Tamir, Nato Thompson, Gabrielle de Vietri, Dmitry Vilensky, Joanna Warsza, Tirdad Zolghadr