Walker Art Center

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Lecture: David Joselit on “Heritage and Debt”

David Joselit’s art-historical work has approached the history and theory of image circulation in the 20th and 21st centuries from a variety of perspectives, spanning Marcel Duchamp’s strategy of the readymade, in which commodities are reframed as artworks, to the mid-20th ecology of television, video art, and media activism, and the current conditions of contemporary art under dual pressures of globalization and digitization.

For this lecture, which departs from his recent publication After Art (Princeton University Press, 2012), Joselit further considers the nature of contemporary art as an agent within globalized networks. He proposes a deep structure of globalization, acknowledging that not every artist from everywhere is “global” but rather that globality implies an international style, which both appropriates and represses indigenous modes of creativity: “Art manifests the ratio between that which is inherited from a culture and that which it owes to others; it is a laboratory for inventing global subjects and objects.” His lecture title “Heritage and Debt” is drawn from this dual action of appropriation and repression.

Joselit is a distinguished professor in the PhD Program in Art History at CUNY Graduate Center. His publications include Feedback: Television Against Democracy (MIT Press, 2007) and Infinite Regress: Marcel Duchamp 1910–1941 (October Books/MIT Press, 1998). He is an editor of the journal October and a regular contributor to Artforum and Texte zur Kunst.

Copresented by Midway Contemporary Art, Univocal Publishing, and the Walker Art Center.


Mack lectures are made possible by the generous support of Aaron and Carol Mack.