One of our favourite art brains Zoe put down the brushed to lead this weeks Book Club. Although to be fair, she didn’t stray far from the studio.
Chris Kraus’ Where Art Belongs hit me in a way so arresting yet so loving, that it stayed with me on the train and into the grocery store and into my mundane tasks and thoughts well after reading it. And its not just because like Kraus I hate the blankness of conceptual art. This book is the reason I still pine to live in the empty confusion of Los Angeles at some stage in life and is most of the reason why I still read anything people ever write about art.
Chris Krauss manifests in her essays a unique humanness as she describes art initiatives from LA and Berlin to New York and Mexicali, while describing the ambiguous and quickly shifting space that surrounds them, ripe with institutions, gentrification, consumerism and change. This series of essays lends itself to a mood of an era that Krauss lived through while gently interrogating a stack of issues that have historically cornered creativity. Ultimately the book is a testimony to the passage of a particular moment in time. In an earlier book, Video Green, Kraus states that “the art world is interesting only insofar as it reflects the larger world outside it”; in Where Art Belongs, she shares more of this world. She generously goes where many art critics and academics generally don’t, to a place that privileges her experience as her deepest anchor for shaping critical interpretation. Where Art Belongs reports on a decade of art—the budding and disconcerting importance of MFA degrees, the struggling artist communities, the social politics and problems with the art market—but while doing so it is confrontational, caring and confessional. It seeks to explore the rigid places where art and its makers need reside to exist. The essays in this book search and weave without pushing you into conclusions, leaving you instead still questioning and wondering where art belongs for you.
Words by Zoe Koke