Books for changing the world

Art in the After-Culture: Capitalist Crisis & Cultural Strategy

It is a scary and disorienting time for art, as it is a scary and disorienting time in general. Aesthetic experience is both overshadowed by the spectacle of current events and pressed into new connection with them. The self-image of art as a social good is collapsing under the weight of capitalism’s dysfunction.

In his new book Art in the After-Culture, critic Ben Davis makes sense of our extreme present as an emerging "after-culture"—a culture whose forms and functions are being radically reshaped by cataclysmic events. In the face of catastrophe, he holds out hope that reckoning with the new realities of art, technology, activism, and the media, can help us weather the super-storms of the future.

”Here's to art criticism with an axe to grind.”—Boots Riley

“This kaleidoscopic collection will help you see and comprehend the world anew—which is, in my book, what good art should do.”—Astra Taylor

“Following in the footsteps of theorists like John Berger, Stuart Hall, and Lucy Lippard, Ben Davis is an essential guide to the politics of culture in the 21st Century.”—Trevor Paglen



Ben Davis is the author of 9.5 Theses on Art and Class, which ARTnews named one of the best art books of the decade in 2019. He has been Artnet News's National Art Critic since 2016. His writings have also been featured in The New York Times, New York Magazine, The Baffler, Jacobin, Slate, Salvage, e-Flux Journal, Frieze, and many other venues. In 2019, Harvard’s Nieman Journalism Lab reported that he was one of the five most influential art critics in the United States. He lives in Brooklyn.

Naeem Mohaiemen is Associate Professor of Visual Arts and Concentration Head of Photography at Columbia University, New York. His work combines photography, films, and essays to parse the many forms of utopia-dystopia (families, borders, architecture, and uprisings) in the postcolonial Muslim world(s). He is co-editor with Eszter Szakacs of the forthcoming Solidarity Must be Defended (Tranzit: Hungary, 2022).

Julieta Aranda is an artist born in Mexico City, who currently lives and works between Berlin and New York. Central to Aranda’s multidimensional practice are her involvement with circulation mechanisms; her interest in science-fiction, space travel, zones of friction; and her interest in the possibilities for the production of political subjectivities by way of all of the above. As a co-director of e-flux together with Anton Vidokle, Julieta Aranda has developed the projects Time/Bank, Pawnshop, and e-flux video rental, all of which started in the e-flux storefront in New York, and have traveled to many venues worldwide. Since 2008, Julieta Aranda has been the editor of e-flux journal, together with Anton Vidokle and Brian Kwan Wood.

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