In This Issue: At Last We Can No Longer Predict the Future
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In This Issue: At Last We Can No Longer Predict theFuturePatricia C. PhillipsPublished online: 07 May 2014.
To cite this article: Patricia C. Phillips (2003) In This Issue: At Last We Can No Longer Predict the Future, Art Journal,62:2, 3-3
To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00043249.2003.10792154
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Patricia C. Phillips
In This Issue:At LastWe Can No Longer
Predict the Future
There is a fugitive temporal dimension to the production schedule of a publica-
tion. As I sit here tonight to write an introduction for the summer 2003 issue of
Art Journal, I am distractedly preoccupied by the imminence of war on Iraq, as
well as conflict in other international sites. As we daily witness an alarming ero-
sion of civil liberties quieted by a zealous rhetoric of national security, I observe
a palpable collective anxiety that is more than a projec-
tion of my own apprehension. As viVidly as I experi-
ence feelings of fear and regret this March evening, it is
impossible to predict the consequences of preemptive
strikes and trained aggression several months from
now. Will summer be a sunny time of rejuvenation,
travel, special projects, or will it be a season of political
heat, escalating hostilities, and individual anguish?
This issue explores some of the temporal and
political dimensions of art. Current practices are bal-
anced by reconsideration of earlier work that influenced how we think about art.
Antony Hudek's thoughtful conversation with Conrad Atkinson traces lineaments,
manifest in his recent exhibition, of this artist's long and deep commitment to
an aesthetic-political practice. Atkinson's exquisite ceramic land mines and other
"mutilations" are stunningly prescient and timely. Dan Wang conducts another
conversation on political engagement with a younger group of artists whose
practices are honed and shaped by our "critical times." Reflecting on the personal
habits and intellectual significance of newspaper-reading, Nicholas Mirzoeff also
implicitly challenges and laments the diminishing critical role of printed media.
Considering the role of independent media from another perspective, Jenni
Sorkin takes an opportunity to re-examine the conceptual and critical role of the
first five years of High Performance magazine. From its inception in 1978, the publi-cation offered an open space for artists' submissions, as well as an increasing
international forum for "live and ephemeral art forms." And in another conver-
sation on critical reception and revisionist activity, two art historians and three
artists offer fresh perspectives that challenge earlier, narrower readings of the
stunning, complex, and idiosyncratic work of photographer Francesca Woodman.
With their own attractive and unsettling ambiguities, the paintings of Kojo
Griffin are another response and aesthetic practice in critical times. As a painter,
Griffin engages traditional forms and media, as well as more intimate narratives
that begin to trace the consequences of small, daily acts of isolation or aggression
that we witness or overlook. Depicting endearing hybrid figures chronically
displaced in eerily familiar settings, Griffin shifts the scales to invoke a more
embodied experience of imminent crisis.
There is unsettling and frequently beautiful work in this issue. In truth, little
of it is singularly cheering. Perhaps it reflects a sharper hunger for art in difficult
times. Art can offer moments of nuance and contemplation during alarming
passages ofrigidity and extremity. It has a fluid capacity to make its way into inti-
mate and infinite spaces. This summer, let us seek to be renewed and recharged
by art's fluidity, mobility, and resonance.
Subtitle with thanks to Conrad Atkinson (see p. 5).
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