I have been asked to read and comment upon a forthcoming University of California Press book on Allan Kaprow and Robert Smithson. Professional discretion allows me to provide nothing else to you at this time – except that this Swiss art historian's thesis regarding Kaprow and Smithson reevaluates the lack of historicization of Happenings and Earthworks that will open fertile ground for renewed perception of both artists and the malleable nature of art history.
As always, my academic pursuits at the Corcoran College yield new challenges and this semester is no different; the Academics Department has invited me to create and lead a new class on "Art as Social Practice." This is auspicious and timely, as my own participatory art practice convincingly seems to be moving in the direction of community involvement and the relation of art to social discourse. Tantalizingly, I have already uncovered similarities in Kaprow's Environments in my reading of the above-mentioned Swiss scholar's proofs that resonate profoundly with my vision for social practice art.
If that is not sufficient busy-ness, the January 2013 issue of Art in America has published my Letter to the Editor, in which I took Aimee Walleston to task for her review of Nicolás Guagnini (AiA, Vol. 100, No. 9, Oct. 2012) and what I perceived to be her "incorrect" reading of Guy Debord’s Situationist theories in relation to Guagnini’s paintings at Miguel Abreu Gallery. Given that Ms. Walleston wrote a reply, that was also published (page 14), and she even welcomed the possibility of "lively debate" - presumably on whether my reading of past art theory is or isn’t "nostalgia" – I have responded to AiA that I would encourage such a debate. As I said to the Managing Editor:
I believe it’s important to periodically address the historicity of art theory; relevance and precedence grants theoretical grounding in the narrative of contemporary art. Moreover, international art publications like AiA provide almost the sole opportunities for such engagement to occur "in print." Coincidentally, Artforum very recently printed Claire Bishop’s take on digital art – and the subsequent rejoinders from Brian Droitcour and Lauren Cornell. These kind of interactions are rare yet undoubtedly beneficial for your readership and the discourse surrounding contemporary art issues.
IMAGE: Allan Kaprow's Calling (1965); a Happening in Grand Central Station; photograph© Copyright by Peter Moore.