Gregory Sholette & Oliver Ressler
It’s the Political Economy, Stupid
The Global Financial Crisis in Art and Theory
2013 Pluto Press (UK)
Edited by: Gregory Sholette & Oliver Ressler
Designed by: Noel Douglas
It’s the Political Economy, Stupid brings together internationally acclaimed artists and thinkers, including Slavoj Žižek, David Graeber, Judith Butler and Brian Holmes, to focus on the current economic crisis in a sustained and critical manner.
In sympathy with the subject matter, the book features powerful original artwork for the cover, and an internal design theme based on the movements of Goldman Sachs stock market values by activist designer Noel Douglas. What emerges is a powerful critique of the current capitalist crisis through an analytical and theoretical response and an aesthetic-cultural rejoinder. By combining artistic responses with the analysis of leading radical theorists, the book expands the boundaries of critique beyond the usual discourse.
It’s the Political Economy, Stupid argues that it is time to push back against the dictates of the capitalist logic and, by use of both theoretical and artistic means, launch a rescue of the very notion of the social.
About The Editors
Gregory Sholette is an artist and writer whose current publications include It’s The Political Economy, Stupid co-edited with Oliver Ressler, (Pluto Press, 2013) and Dark Matter: Art and Politics in an Age of Enterprise Culture (Pluto Press, 2011). His recent art exhibitions include Collectibles, Action Figures and Objects, at Station Independent Gallery, Imaginary Archive: Graz, Rotor Art Center, Graz, Austria; NY; Exposed Pipe / ماسورة موسيقية for the American University Beirut art gallery; Torrent for Printed Matter Books in Chelsea; iDrone for cyberartspace.net; and Fifteen Islands for Robert Moses at the Queens Museum. Sholette teaches at Queens College, City University of New York.
Oliver Ressler is an artist and filmmaker based in Vienna. His work has been exhibited across the world including at the Berkeley Art Museum, USA; Platform Garanti Contemporary Art Center, Istanbul and the Alexandria Contemporary Arts Forum, Egypt. He is the editor of Alternative Economics, Alternative Societies (2007).
“Confrontational, intellectual, and occasionally amusing group show, which squarely aligns itself with the Occupy movement.” -Village Voice (praise for the exhibition on which the book is based)
“In the wake of the capitalist crisis, very few cultural institutions have dared to address the horrors of greed that plague us in such a direct and haunting way.” -Alexander Cavaluzzo, Hyperallergic.com
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Foreword by Pia Hovi-Assad, Pori Art Museum, Finland
1. ‘Unspeaking the Grammar of Finance’ – Gregory Sholette & Oliver Ressler
2. ‘It’s The Political Economy, Stupid!’ – Slavoj Žižek
> Liz Park comments on art from the exhibition It’s The Political Economy, Stupid
3. ‘The Political Economization of Art’ – John Roberts
4. ‘Derivative Days: Notes on Art, Finance and the Un-Productive Forces’ – Melanie Gilligan
5. ‘Occupational Realism’ – Julia Bryan Wilson
> Angela Dimitrakaki & Kirsten Lloyd comment on art from It’s The Political Economy, Stupid
6. ‘Occupy Wall Street’s Anarchist Roots’ – David Graeber
7. ‘Bodies in Alliance and the Politics of the Street’ – Judith Butler
> Thom Donovan comments on art from It’s The Political Economy, Stupid
8. ‘Sick Sad Life: On the Artistic Reproduction of Capital’ – Kerstin Stakemeier
9. ‘Art after Capitalism: a final word’ – Brian Holmes
Artists Include: Zanny Begg and Oliver Ressler; Filippo Berta; Libia Castro and Ólafur Ólafsson; Julia Christensen; Paolo Cirio; Field Work; Yevgeniy Fiks, Olga Kopenkina and Alexandra Lerman (Reading Lenin with Corporations); flo6x8; Melanie Gilligan; Jan Peter Hammer; Alicia Herrero; Institute for Wishful Thinking; Sherry Millner and Ernie Larsen; Isa Rosenberger; Dread Scott; and Superflex. (Damon Rich, Superflex, Aaron Burr Society/Occupy Museum, Pablo Helguer, and Larry Bogad participated in select venues.)
The economic crisis that we face today has also become a major crisis for representative democracy. The very idea of the modern nation state is in jeopardy as the deterritorialized flow of finance capital melts down all that was once solid into raw material for market speculation. It is the social order itself, and the very notion of governance with its archaic promise of security and happiness that has become another kind of modern ruin.
It’s the Political Economy, Stupid brings together an international group of artists who focus on the current crisis in a sustained and critical manner. Rather than acquiesce to the current calamity, this exhibition asks if it is not time to push back against the disciplinary dictates of the capitalist logic and, by use of artistic means, launch a rescue of the very notion of the social itself.
The Austrian Cultural Forum New York is pleased to present this new group exhibition which was curated by the Austrian-American team of Oliver Ressler and Gregory Sholette. The show derives its title from the slogan which in the early 1990s came to define then presidential candidate Bill Clinton’s campaign, “It’s the economy, stupid”.
“In the wake of the capitalist crisis, very few cultural institutions have dared to address the horrors of greed that plague us in such a direct and haunting way as the Austrian Cultural Forum.” – Alexander Cavaluzzo, Hyperallergic.com, Feb. 13, 2012
“Curated by Gregory Sholette and Oliver Ressler, this is a good old political exhibition, full of sarcasm, hope, protest, and information.” – William Corwin, Saatchi Online Magazine, Feb. 21, 2012
“Curated by Oliver Ressler and Gregory Sholette, this is a smart exhibition that I suspect will be preaching to the converted, but in style. […] This is the gallery version of Occupy Wall Street.” – Andrea Kirsh, Feb. 14, 2012, theartblog.org
“Visible from the sidewalk on a block that the Austrian Cultural Forum shares with Cartier, Ferragamo and Tourneau, the work [by Dread Scott] affirms a disheartening truth about the cultural mindset this well-curated exhibition aims to critique: many would prefer to see their money burn than have it distributed equitably.” –David Markus, Art in America, Mar. 28, 2012
“Ressler’s and Sholette’s show does indeed achieve its objectives, occupying the Austrian Cultural Forum through a diverse range of artworks stemming from the 2008 crisis of finance capitalism. It does so principally by drawing together a selection of works which both educate and entertain, offering invaluable information and welcome critical reflection.” – Thom Donovan, Art:21 Blog, Apr. 16, 2012
Timeline and exhibition venues thus far:
Open Space – Zentrum für Kunstprojekte
Vienna, Austria March 16 – April 25 2011
Austrian Cultural Forum New York
New York, NY Jan 24 – April 12, 2012
Thessaloniki Center of Contemporary Art
Thessaloniki, Greece June 27– October 14, 2012
Pori Art Museum
Pori, FInland Jan 1 to May 26, 2013
University of Illinois, Chicago,
November 1 – December 14, 2013
Zagreb, Croatia December 18, 2013 – October 5, 2014
University of Cincinnati, Ohio, February 15th – April 10th, 2016