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Again...The Lumpen-Headache

  • CUE Art Foundation 137 W 25th St New York, NY (map)

Again…The Lumpen-Headache
Saturday, December 15th, 2018
Led by Camel Collective (Anthony Graves and Carla Herrera-Prats)

This workshop is about re-enactment as a specific form, about collectivity, collaboration, and self-organizing around political ideas. Those participating in the workshop will be enlisted in the analysis and co-recreation of a set of meetings that marked the end of the art journal The Fox along with the New York section of the artist collective Art & Language in 1976.

These meetings, documented in the final issue of the journal under the title “The Lumpen-Headache,” are at turns caustic, politically incisive, self-critical, petty, and brutally honest. They form a historical index to the way art, politics, and political commitment were conceived of in a politically volatile moment that marked the end of the Vietnam War, Watergate, and a broad disillusionment after the hard-fought struggles of 1968. The workshop uses the transcribed minutes from the meetings at The Fox as an historical script to think about our own volatile moment, the words we use to describe it, and our own positions as artists within it.

Participants in the workshop are expected to take part in the conversations as one of the interlocutors, and be actively involved in staging the group reading. The roles to be played include artists Michael Corris, Joseph Kosuth, Sarah Charlesworth, Karl Beveridge, Christine Kozlov, Ian Burn, Carole Conde, Mel Ramsden, Andrew Menard, Preston Heller, Jill Breakstone, Mayo Thompson, Nigel Lendon, and Alex Hay.

The readings will be recorded in video and audio at CUE Art Foundation as part of the workshop. Previous knowledge or background in Art & Language, The Fox, or any of the artists mentioned is encouraged but not required to participate. What is required is a desire to think carefully and sincerely about the role of artists and collective power in the present tense.

To register for this workshop, please submit short answers to this questionnaire. Space is limited - early submission is recommended!

Video recording of the workshop will be done by Nate Harrison and Richard Lehun, with support from Camel Collective. The event will be live-streamed here from 3-6pm.

In 1976 a series of exchanges between the members of the editorial board of the art journal The Fox were published as “The Lumpen-Headache,” edited by Peter Benchley. Some would say these transcripts from their last meetings charted the breakdown of the New York section of the trans-Atlantic artist collective, Art & Language. The Fox (1975–1976) was a polemical publication — part art magazine, part trade journal, part artist book. The exchanges we will be re-creating were published in the third and final issue of the journal. These meetings—or “struggle sessions” as they called them—were devoted to the question of the collective unity, the ideological “position” of the collective, the role of feminism within critical artistic practice, and the question of individual agency within a collective project. A more robust historical background will be provided as part of the workshop.

Camel Collective:
Anthony Graves and Carla Herrera-Prats have worked together as Camel Collective since 2010. Their artworks use performance, video, sculpture, and photography think through the contradictions of contemporary labor, myths of cultural production, and to resuscitate marginalized or incomplete histories. Their projects aim to bring together collaborators from a variety of professions and backgrounds into new configurations of collective authorship.