Forthcoming Book by AICA-USA Member Jacki Apple

Coming in October 2019: A collection of critical essays by AICA-USA member Jacki Apple. Performance / Media / Art / Culture: Selected Essays 1983-2018 chronicles 35 years of Apple's writings on performance, media arts, and the politics of culture. Many of the writings featured in this collection originally appeared in smaller press journals and arts magazines that have now gone out of print. With a foreword by editor Marina LaPalma (excerpted below) and an afterword by Apple, this collection is a must-read for those immersed in the history of interdisciplinary performance and media culture, the politics of art and the performance of politics. Published by Intellect UK. Distributed in the USA by University of Chicago Press.

Excerpt from foreword by Marina LaPalma

Performance, Media, Art, Culture: Selected Writings 1983- 2018, is not only a catalogue of the fundamental, crucial issues raised by the works and their informed examination, but also an archive of often ephemeral events and works. Crucially, it is a rich compendium of thirty-six years of responses by a sharp-eyed and eloquent witness to the evolving genius of an age.

Like all good observation and scholarship, these essays raise many broad questions regarding imitation, reproduction and interpretation, the role of art and artists in society, and of audiences. They also examine the production and reception of art, and the relationship between art and technology with particular attention to the tensions between the social, concrete, practical and transcendent ideals and concepts in which the works and their creators are grounded. Thus our structure for this book is not chronological. Rather, we have grouped the writing into chapters focused on fundamental themes and issues.

The first three sections investigate a range of new technologies, contexts, and intermedia hybrids employed by several decades of artists exploring different terrains, cultural influences, and political positions. Artists seized on existing, as well as the latest technologies. While radio was recognized as a rich field for artistic intervention and innovation, the broadcast spectrum was also understood as another slice of the commons being gripped overtly by government licensing, and -- just as insidiously -- swamped by the ideology of the market. Control of the airwaves was understood as part of the struggle for public space during the culture wars of the early 1990s.

Several sections lovingly interrogate the specific to uncover larger patterns that we might call historical. History is political because it is the description and explanation of what happened and what it means. In the wake of the collapse of previous boundaries between public and private, cultural space has been transformed. Section Six specifically focuses on both the politics of the art world and the larger culture, and how that affects what is produced. The last section in this book, Concerning Nature, deals with works addressing humanity’s role as planetary destroyer, concerned only with short-term gain in terms of endless growth and the almighty Market.

“Writing with deep historical knowledge, compassion and generosity, Jacki Apple is an artists’ critic, always seeking first to reveal and then to celebrate the heart of a performance, no matter what the medium. Her fearless radicalism, tempered by a refreshing sense of humor, uncovers buried roots while also posing the most essential cultural question: how does this art help us understand who we are? I am particularly enthralled by the final section, Concerning Nature, essential reading during a time when ecocidal capitalism has surely reached the breaking point.” – Gregory Whitehead, Artist/writer

"For several decades now, Jacki Apple's astute observations of the arts, performance, and culture in Los Angeles have added profound insight to this still burgeoning landscape populated by the movers and shakers who flock here. Her history as an artist in her own right expands the depth and comprehension of her analysis. She has been an influencer in the truest sense, advancing the cultural discussion with erudition and compassion. Among the annals of tomes dedicated to understanding why LA is so significant, so centripetal, this is a long-awaited addition." – Tony Abatemarco, Playwright, Performer, Co-Artistic Director - Skylight Theatre Company

“Jacki Apple’s accurate, intimate, gracious, erudite and insightful writing provides a front row seat to an expanding cultural big-bang. This book is a gift to those of us determined to understand the who, the where, the when, the how and the why of the tectonic shifts that brought social interaction into the scope and insight of art makers. Her enthusiasm for the subject coupled with a commitment to her readers makes for learning more than history. She makes the history feel
contemporary.”
– Conrad Gleber PhD, Media artist

AICA supports art writers around the world through public programs and membership that includes free access to museums across the globe. Since its formation in 1950, AICA has been committed to elevating the values of art criticism as a discipline, and acting on behalf of the physical and moral defense of works of art.
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AICA supports arts writers around the world through public programs and membership that offers free access to museums across the globe. AICA-USA represents the largest national section of AICA International with over 450 distinguished critics, curators, scholars, and art historians working throughout the United States. As part of the international organization, we benefit from a global reach in presence. AICA-USA is intent on international communication, elevating the values of art criticism as a discipline, and acting on behalf of the physical and moral defense of works of art.

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AICA's membership card is recognized for entrance to museums around the world. Members are invited to attend the annual AICA International Congress, hosted each year by a different member nation, and the AICA-USA annual meeting, which is held every year in May.

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Featured Programs

Organized in collaboration with CUE Art Foundation, this program matches emerging critics with experienced AICA-USA members who guide them through the process of writing a catalogue essay.

A partnership between the Arts Writers Grant Program and AICA-USA that gives art writers the opportunity to strengthen their work through one-on-one consultations with leading art critics.

Every fall, in cooperation with the New School's Vera List Center for Art and Politics, AICA-USA presents a Distinguished Critic Lecture.

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