Visual Cultures as Seriousness

Andrews, Jorella G., ed. 2013. Visual Cultures as Seriousness. Berlin: Sternberg Press. ISBN 9783943365399 [Edited Book]

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Abstract or Description

Book co-authored by Gavin Butt and Irit Rogoff.

The contemporary art world has become more inhospitable to “serious” intellectual activity in recent years. Critical discourse has been increasingly instrumentalized in the service of neoliberal art markets and institutions, and artists are pressurized by the demands of popularity and funding bodies. Set against this context, Gavin Butt and Irit Rogoff raise the question of “seriousness” in art and culture. What is seriousness exactly, and where does it reside? Is it a desirable value in contemporary culture? Or is it bound up with elite class and institutional cultures? Butt and Rogoff reflect on such questions through historical and theoretical lenses, and explore whether or not it might be possible to pursue knowledge and value in contemporary culture without recourse to high-brow gravitas. Can certain art forms—such as performance art—suggest ways in which we might be intelligent without being serious? And can one be serious in the art world without returning to established assumptions about the high-mindedness of the public intellectual?

Item Type:

Edited Book

Additional Information:

Visual Cultures as… series published by Sternberg Press:
Visual culture is a cross-disciplinary site of encounter for divergent perspectives, including competing attitudes toward the ethical status and ideological functioning of the visual itself. Each volume in this series investigates a single pertinent topic: two colleagues with shared interests—and differing points of view—examine their chosen subject in a particularized and probing manner. Within the format—two essays and a conversation—contents unfold in their own way with respect to their positions, polemics, and poetics. The series is edited by Jorella Andrews, professor in the Department of Visual Cultures, Goldsmiths, University of London.

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Visual Cultures


1 September 2013

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

21 Oct 2016 16:00

Last Modified:

11 Dec 2021 09:55


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