Walker Art Center

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Publications Let’s Entertain: Life’s Guilty Pleasures

Let’s Entertain: Life’s Guilty Pleasures examines the “spectacularization” of everyday experience through the twin lenses of contemporary art practice and cultural criticism, and challenges us not to simply renounce entertainment, but to understand how its strategies can be used to tell a different kind of story. The story that unfolds is sweet, amusing, and, like a fairy tale, often cruel.

Unlike conventional exhibition catalogues, Let’s Entertain takes a different approach by recontextualizing the exhibition within a larger set of questions and social concerns. Specifically, the artists’ works in the show are represented in the book not as illustrations of the text, but rather expand and reflect on each essay’s specific content. Essays do not speak about the artworks per se, but discuss themes and issues related to entertainment and culture in general.

Designed to function more like a reader than a catalogue, the book is meant to be portable and accessible. Its flexible hardcover binding is lighter than conventional hardcover books, while the extensive use of saturated color intensifies and challenges the typically somber look and feel of academic writing and publishing. The cover is designed with scratch-off material, appropriating a technique ordinarily used in lottery cards and prize games. As the silver bars are removed, a set of messages appear, which are themselves adapted from Elvis Presley bubblegum cards.

Let’s Entertain: Life’s Guilty Pleasures, 2000