September 2020

Amelia Jones: Ethnic Envy and Other Aggressions in the Contemporary “Global” Art Complex

Care, Caring, and Repair in Cognitive Capitalism

The pre-Covid art world in its self-congratulatory “global” guise epitomized the triumph of neoliberal late capitalism: art circulated both as a commodity itself and as a branding mechanism to support tourism in various art “centers” from Beijing to Venice to Dubai. But the Covid crisis has slammed the brakes on this well-oiled machine, as well as proving the efficacy of global networks in spreading disease. The global is suspect, not the least in the structural violence it has allowed to operate under the radar screens of “culture.” Taking off from these observations, this paper is drawn from a book of manifestos that critically examine the co-extensiveness of structural racism, sexism, classism, and other forms of inequity and exclusion in art and its institutions. Here, Jones uses the work of Okwui Enwezor (who warned us well) and looks at possible escape routes: the David Hammons exhibition at Hauser & Wirth Los Angeles in 2019 and the work of Crenshaw Dairy Mart in collaboration with Black Lives Matter in “Care not Cages,” a project presented in Los Angeles in 2020.

Amelia Jones is Robert A. Day Professor and Vice Dean of Academics and Research, University of Southern California Roski School of Art & Design, and is a curator and scholar of contemporary art, performance, and feminist/sexuality studies. Recent publications include Seeing Differently: A History and Theory of Identification and the Visual Arts (2012); Otherwise: Imagining Queer Feminist Art Histories (2016), coedited with Erin Silver; and the edited special issue “On Trans/Performance” of Performance Research (2016). Jones is currently working on a retrospective of the work of Ron Athey with accompanying catalogue (Queer Communion: Ron Athey) to debut in New York and Los Angeles in 2020–2021, and a book entitled In Between Subjects: A Critical Genealogy of Queer Performance, forthcoming from Routledge Press.

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