Dark Matter: Art and Politics in the Age of Enterprise Culture

Gregory Sholette, London: Pluto Press, 2010, reprinted 2011, and 2013.

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9780745327532Google Scholarly Citations: 110  Art is big business, with some artists able to command huge sums of money for their works, while the vast majority are ignored or dismissed by critics. This book shows that these marginalised artists, the ‘dark matter’ of the art world, are essential to the survival of the mainstream and that they frequently organize in opposition to it. Gregory Sholette, a politically engaged artist, argues that imagination and creativity in the art world originate thrive in the non-commercial sector shut off from prestigious galleries and champagne receptions. This broader creative culture feeds the mainstream with new forms and styles that can be commodified and used to sustain the few artists admitted into the elite. This dependency, and the advent of inexpensive communication, audio and video technology, has allowed this ‘dark matter’ of the alternative art world to increasingly subvert the mainstream and intervene politically as both new and old forms of non-capitalist, public art. This book is essential for anyone interested in interventionist art, collectivism, and the political economy of the art world.

A short introduction to Dark Matter from Manifesta Journal

Selected Dark Matter Book Reviews


Reviews in Cultural Theory

Book of the Year Pick

Monthly Review

Mute Magazine

Review 31

Afterimage Magazine

Oxford Art Journal

New Wolf

 CAA Art Journal  (PDF)

The Harvard Crimson (review of Dark Matter lecture)

Another Green World (UK)

Exhibitions, conferences influenced by Dark Matter

Purchase College and Franklin Street Works Gallery

The Nomadic Gallery (Texas) and San Antonio Current

Version Fest (Chicago arts program)

Co-Prosperity Sphere (Chicago art space)

Baltimore Museum of Art Exhibition (and here: Click Here )

Other responses to Dark Matter research

Cat Mazza Review  (Boston)

The Speakeasy  (Midwest)

Lifelong Learning (Croatia)

We Are All Surplus (UK)

Social Practice (LA)

Furtherfield (London)

Overtime (Tel Aviv)

Shannon Jackson Syllabus (Berkeley U.)

Arclines (Vancouver)

P2P Foundation


Our Vitamin

Annette Au