The Studio Reader: On the Space of Artists

The Studio Reader: On the Space of Artists

Mary Jane Jacob

Language: English

Pages: 328

ISBN: 0226389618

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


The image of a tortured genius working in near isolation has long dominated our conceptions of the artist’s studio. Examples abound: think Jackson Pollock dripping resin on a cicada carcass in his shed in the Hamptons. But times have changed; ever since Andy Warhol declared his art space a “factory,” artists have begun to envision themselves as the leaders of production teams, and their sense of what it means to be in the studio has altered just as dramatically as their practices.

The Studio Reader pulls back the curtain from the art world to reveal the real activities behind artistic production. What does it mean to be in the studio? What is the space of the studio in the artist’s practice? How do studios help artists envision their agency and, beyond that, their own lives? This forward-thinking anthology features an all-star array of contributors, ranging from Svetlana Alpers, Bruce Nauman, and Robert Storr to Daniel Buren, Carolee Schneemann, and Buzz Spector, each of whom locates the studio both spatially and conceptually—at the center of an art world that careens across institutions, markets, and disciplines. A companion for anyone engaged with the spectacular sites of art at its making, The Studio Reader reconsiders this crucial space as an actual way of being that illuminates our understanding of both artists and the world they inhabit.

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artist,” and with his Social Sculpture he hoped to harness the power of art to liberate alienated laborers.3 In order to accommodate Beuys’s dictum, it would be necessary to transform the long-held mythos of the artist to such an extent that it includes those activities that everyone performs.4 At first glance, this would seem to be a liberating theory, throwing open the studio doors to marginalized individuals otherwise excluded from the privileges of the art world, but instead, writes Martha

practice confounds these terms. It is not nature (the real) but painting in the studio—neither the real world, nor the imagining of it, but a third, new way—that posed the threat to painting as it had been. But the studio strictly conceived presents problems for the artist—among the vexations of art. Prominent among them is the fact that it excludes so much of the world and that its condition is that of isolation. Both lead to trying to make connections. Poussin, it has been recently shown,

But the function of the studio as I defined it a long time ago is exactly the same even if the work seems to be different. A studio obliges a certain type of work even if you are just using it to prepare a plan. Today, of course, you have many more variations of the studio, yet that which I defined in the text is still completely valid in the majority of cases. The system still prescribes the result under the same restrictions. The studio process creates objects that complement our society of

artwork also tests the difference between what is plausible and all that is possible to say. Let the studio as knowledge be viewed through speculative lenses such as these. Marjorie Welish The Studio Visit Although many of us have rejected the Romantic notion of artist as creative genius, we critics still cling to the related notion that the studio is an arena where an artist grapples with creative process. An artist’s invitation to visit the studio, then, would seem like a gesture of

the intellect and, in this case at least, an unconfessed careerism. Nor did I say that the art itself betrayed, despite her alleged intellectual authority, a limited capacity for self-critique. Given her recent artistic direction, she seemed surprisingly oblivious to her collaboration with the culture industry—her art remaining fashionable because superficial or sporadic in assimilation of major ideas. Intellectual affection, not thoroughgoing style, was her accomplishment. Previous gallery press

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