Noble, Richard. 2009. Utopias. London/New York: Whitechapel/MIT. ISBN 978-26264069-5 [Book]

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An edited collection of writings about and by artists who have employed utopian strategies in contemporary art. It contains a scholarly introduction by the editor.

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Richard Noble (ed.), Utopias (London: Whitechapel/MIT Press, 2009). ISBN 978-0-26264069-5

OUTPUT: This book is an edited collection of writings by artists, critics and theorists about the concept of utopia in the field of visual art. There is an introductory essay, in which the significance of the concept in both the history of ideas and art is developed, as well as an argument with respect to how we might understand its significance within contemporary art.

The introductory essay and the edited writings form a contribution to the complex debates around the relation between art and politics. The claim is that utopian strategies can offer an effective means through which artists can engage with political subject matter.

The basic argument is that utopian strategies involve a methodology of modelling possible world scenarios, that enable and shape debate around social and political questions, without at the same time instrumentalising art as a form of political activism, or a type of social scientific research. The introductory essay also outlines the methodology of the book, which is to divide the various iterations of the utopian impulse in contemporary art into five categories: the utopian imaginary, utopian avant-gardes, therapeutic utopias, critical utopias and utopia.

The book has been one of the leading sellers in the ‘Documents in Contemporary Art’ series published by Whitechapel/MIT. It has had wide distribution globally, and been written about and discussed at conferences at the Arken Museum in Denmark on Utopias (2010) and the Mori Museum in Tokyo (2012). It is in its second printing.

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26 September 2009

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12 Jun 2012 19:44

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29 Apr 2020 15:34



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