Contemporary Absurdities, Existential Crises, and Visual Art (Book)

An edited collection consisting of essays and artworks by distinguished and emerging theorists, artists, and scholars. It explains how our contemporary moment is absurd and how absurdity is a useful, potentially radical tool within the contemporary.35 b&w illus.


Some have called this an age of absurdity, and as such Contemporary Absurdities, Existential Crises, and Visual Art presents the contributions of artists, theorists, and scholars whose words and works investigate the absurd as a condition of, a tactic for, and a subject in the contemporary.

The absurd is a lens on the disturbances of our moment and a challenge to the propositions about and solutions for the world. The absurd shakes off the paralysis that what we know must be the only thing we (re)produce. Those willing to recognize that and confront it, rather than flee from it, are thereby introduced to the political writ large.

This edited collection adopts ideas and practices associated with the absurd to explain how the contemporary moment is absurd and how absurdity is a useful, potentially radical tool within the contemporary.
Critical art allows the absurd a space within which audiences can observe their own tendencies and assumptions. The absurd in art reveals our inculcation into hegemonic belief structures and the necessity to question the systems to which we subscribe. Today we see the absurd in memes, performative politics, and art, expressing the
confusion and disorientation wrought by the endless, emerging crises of our 24/7 relations.

Katherine Guinness is Katherine Guinness is a theorist and historian of contemporary art. She is a Lecturer of Art History at the University of Queensland.

Charlotte Kent is Assistant Professor, Department of Art and Design, Montclair State University, USA

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