Social Art Tactics


"Way leads on to way."
- Robert Frost

Note: This bibliography is admittedly idosyncratic. Many of these authors have written other works of interest, and certainly, many relevant authors go unnamed here.

Writings by, or about Artists

Becker, Carol, ed.The Subversive Imagination: Artists, Society, & Social Responsibility. (Routledge, 1984)
Collection of essays by Artist/Theorists and Theorists. Including Gómez-Peña, Coco Fusco, Martha Rosler, Kathy Acker, and Henry Giroux's highly recommended (see EDUCATION, above?below) "Benetton's 'World Without Borders': Buying Social Change".

Bey, Hakim. T.A.Z.: The Temporary Autonomous Zone, Ontological Anarchy, Poetic Terrorism. anti-copyright (Autonomedia, 1991)
--- Millenium. anti-copyright (Autonomedia, 1996)

Bordieu, Pierre, and Haacke, Hans. Free Exchange. (Stanford U. Press, 1995)
Discussion between the sociologist and the high social artist revolving around Haacke's work. Highly recommended.

Clark, Toby. Art and Propaganda in the Twentieth Century. Perspectives series (NY: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1997)
Nicely surveys arts of fascism, communism, war, early women's movement, "feminism(s)", and other recent of protest.

Cantsin, Monty. Neoism Now. (Berlin: Artcore Editions, 1987)

The Center for Land Use Interpretation. Hinterland: A Voyage into Exurban Southern California. Catalogue of exhibition (May 29- July 6, 1997) at Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions [LACE] --- Researched and written by Matthew Coolidge, The Nevada Test Site: A Guide to America's Nuclear Proving Ground (1996)
"The Center for Land Use Interpretation is a nonprofit research organization dedicated to improving the collective understanding of the human/land dialectic. All donations to the organization go towards this objective, and are tax-deductible."

Conal, J. Art Attack: The Midnight Politics of a Guerrilla Artist. (Harper Perennial, 1992)

Critical Art Ensemble. Electronic Civil Disobedience and other Unpopular Ideas. Anti-Copyright (Autonomedia, 1997) --- The Electronic Disturbance.

D'Agostino, Peter and Muntadas, Antonio, curators. The Un/necessary Image. (NY: Tanam Press, 1982)
Includes an essay by Hans Haacke, "On Social Grease", and "Hans Haacke's Cunning Involvement", by David Craven, among other "works by artists who are concerned with the 'public image' generated by mass media, advertising and communication systems." Book consists of contributions by artists in an exhibition at the Hayden Corridor Gallery, MIT, focusing on "art, advertsing and technology."

Debord, Guy. The Society of the Spectacle. No copyright. No rights reserved. (Detroit: Black & Red, 1983)
The godfather of situationists delivers the
Comments on Society of the Spectacle Malcom Imrie, trans. (Pirate Press, 1991)

Felshin, Nina, ed.But is it Art? The Spirit of Art as Activism. (Seattle: Bay Press, Inc., 1995)
Essays on contemporary practices. From the jacket: "Twelve critically and visually engaging essays examine the work of the Guerrilla Girs; Gran Fury; Group Material; the Women's Action Coalition (WAC); the Amercian Festival Project; the Artist and Homeless Collaborative; Helen and Newton Harrison; Carole Condé and Karl Beveridge; Peggy Diggs; Suzanne Lacy; Mierle Laderman Ukeles; and David Avalos, Louis Hock, and Elizabeth Sisco."

Foster, Hal, ed. Dia Art Foundation: Discussions in Contemporary Culture, No. 1. (Seattle: Bay Press, 1987)
Topics: The Cultural Public Sphere; 1967/1987: Genealogies of Art and Theory; The Politics of Representation.

Gooding, Mel, ed.A Book of Surrealist Games. Alexis Lykiard & Jennifer Batchelor trans., compiled by Alastair Brotchie. (Boston: Sambhala Redstone Editions, 1995)

Gómez-Peña, Guillermo. The New World Border. (City Lights, 1996)
See also, if possible, Guillermo's "'zine":

Gordon, Mel, ed. Dada Perfomance. (NY: PAJ Publications, 1987)
Original texts.

Harrison, Charles, and Wood, Paul, eds. Art in Theory: 1900-1990: An Anthology of Changing Ideas. (Oxford, UK: Blackwell, 1992)

Home, Stewart. The Assault on Culture. (AK Press)...
--- ed., Plaigarism: Art as Commodity and Strategies for its Negation. No Copyright (Aporia Press, 1987)

Hubert, Renee Riese. Surrealism and the Book. (U. California Press, 1989)

Hulsenbeck Dada Lives! (1936)

Kaprow, Allan. Essays on the Blurring of Art and Life. Kelley, Jeff, ed. (U. California Press, 1993)

Knabb, Kenneth, ed. Situationist International Anthology, No Copyright (Berkeley, CA: Bureau of Public Secrets, 1981)

Kranzfelder, Ivo. George Grosz: 1893-1959 (Cologne, Germany: Benedikt Taschen Verlag GmbH, 1994)

Lacy, Suzanne, ed. Mapping the Terrain: New Genre Public Art. (Seattle: Bay Press, 1995)
In addition to collecting noteable essays, includes the highly recommended Section Five: "Directional Signs: A Compendium of Artists' Works", a survey of the field.

Lippard, Lucy R., Mixed Blessings: New Art in a Multicultural America. (1990)
--- ed. Six Years: The dematerialization of the art object from1966 to1972: a cross-reference book of information on some esthetic boundaries: consisting of a bibliography into which are inserted a fragmented text, art works, documents, interviews, and symposia, arranged chronologically and focused on so-called conceptual or information or idea art with mentions of such vaguely designated areas as minimal, anti-form, systems, earth, or process art, occurring now in the Americas, Europe, England, Australia, and Asia (with occasional political overtones, edited and annotated by Lucy R. Lippard. (U. California Press, reprint 1997)
--- and??

Lykiard, Alexis. trans. and ed. Poésies and complete miscellanea by Isidore Ducasse also known as Lautréamont. (London: Allison & Busby, 1980)
I like this edition because it includes the french, and the notes contain the original french passages which Lautréamont rewrites, largely from Pascal.
Most quoted passage: "Plaigarism is necessary. Progress implies it." continues, " It closely grasps an author's sentence, uses his expressions, deletes a false idea, replaces it with the right one." Claimed as early example of détournement by the situationists, plaigarism by the neoists, appropriation by postmodernists.
Inspired surrealists with a "chance" image of an umbrella and a sewing machine.

Marcus, Greil. Lipstick Traces: A Secret History of the 20th Century. (Harvard U. Press, 1989)
Traces back the influences of Punk through Situationists, i.e., Malcom McLaren.

Margolin, Victor. The Struggle for Utopia: Rodchenko, Lissitzky, Moholy-Nagy, 1917-1946. (U. Chicago Press, 1997)

Melzer, Annabelle. Dada and Surrealist Performance. (The Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 1976-1994) I read the whole thing, but I don't recommend it very highly. Does give a fair/good picture of the activities of Tristan Tzara, who bridges DaDa and Surrealism.

Minh-Ha, Trin T. "An Acoustic Journey" in Rethinking Borders. J. Welchman, ed.

Motherwell, Robert, ed. The Dada Painters and Poets: An Anthology (Boston: G. K. Hall and Co., 1981)

Piper, Adrian. "Ideology, Confrontation, and Political Self-Awareness: An Essay, 1981" in Blasted Allegories: An Anthology of Writings by Contemporary Artists, Brian Wallis and Marcia Tucker, eds. (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1989)

Richter, Hans. DADA: art and anti-art. David Britt, trans. (NY: Thames and Hudson, 1965/1997)
A history of Dada written by an early participant.

Rubin, William S. Dada, Surrealism and their Heritage (NY: Museum of Modern Art, 1968)

Tzara, Tristan. Seven Dada Manifestos and Lampisteries. Barbara Wright, trans. (NY: Riverrun Press Inc., 1992)

Vaneigem, Raoul. The Revolution of Everyday Life. (Rebel Press/Left Bank Books, 1994)

Wallis, Brian, ed. Hans Haacke: Unfinished Business (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1987)
"Institutions Trust Institutions" by B. Wallis. Every article here is good, but see especially Haacke's own, "Museums, Managers of Consciousness", and, Frederic Jameson's "Hans Haacke and the Cultural Logic of Postmodernism".
--- ed. DEMOCRACY: A Project by Group Material. Dia Art Foundation: Discussions in Contemporary Culture, No. 5. (Seattle: Bay Press, 1990)
--- ed. IF YOU LIVED HERE: The City in Art, Theory, and Social Activism: A Project by Martha Rosler. Dia Art Foundation: Discussions in Contemporary Culture, No. 6. (Seattle: Bay Press, 1991)

Whitford, Frank, intro and notes. George Grosz: The Face of the Ruling Class. (Allison & Busby, 1984)
Collection of dadaist Grosz's political cartoons from between the World Wars.

Willet, John. Heartfield versus Hitler. (Paris: Hazan, 1997)
Pocketsize collection of political dadaist John Heartfield's photomontages.

??, Confessions of the Guerrilla Girls.


Artaud, Antonin. The Theater and its Double.

Boal, Augusto. Theatre of the Opressed. (NY: Theatre Communications Group, 1985)
We read a selection from the essay "Experiments from the People's Theatre in Peru" in "Chapter 4: Poetics of the Oppressed." Boal advocates performance as literacy, deriving conceptually from/relying on the pedagoy of Paolo Friere (see below). He champions the notion of the Spect-Actor against the passive notion of spectatorship. We both act and reflect on our actions. Famous conception: Invisible Theater. I see him as parallelling the Situationists (they were contemporaneous) in the emphasis on behaviors, participation in affecting everyday situations of oppression, as opposed to more detached social art tactics of earlier avant-gardes.
--- Games for Actors and Non-Actors. (Adrian Jackson, trans.) (NY: Routledge, 1992)

Goldberg, RoseLee. Performance: Live Art 1909 to the Present. (NY: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1979)

Sayre, Henry M. The Object of Performance: The American Avant-Garde since 1970. (U. Chicago Press, 1989)

Willett, John, trans. and ed. Brecht on Theater: The Development of an Aesthetic. (NY: Hill and Wang, 1981)


Adorno, T. and Horkheimer, Max. "Advertising what????/see Drew reader" in Dialectic of Enlightenment. (NY: Herder and Herder, 1972)

Bagdikian, Ben. The Media Monopoly. (Boston: Beacon Press, 1983 ....)
The classic layout of corporate ownership of media. fifth edition expands critique to new media.

Branwyn, Gareth. Jamming the Media: A Citizen's Guide. Reclaiming the Tools of Communication. (San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 1997)

Chomsky, Noam. Media Control: The Spectacular Achievements of Propaganda. The Open Media Pamphlet Series. (NY: Seven Stories Press, 1991/1997?)
--- Herman, E. Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media. (NY: Pantheon, 1988)

Dorfman, Ariel and Mattelart, Armand. How to Read Donald Duck: Imperialist Ideology in the Disney Comic. (NY: International General, 1991)
Written during the brief tenure of Chile's "Popular Unity Government" under Allende, attempts to show the cultural imperialism at work in the supposedly "innocent."

Drew, Jesse. "Media Activism and Radical Democracy" in Resisting the Virtual: The Culture and Politics of Information. James Brooks and Iain Boal, eds. (City Lights, 1995)
I read the whole book with relish. Includes photo essay "Banalities of Information" by Marina McDougall who also taught a class in the CI/A concurrent with S.A.T.
--- ed.; Paper Tiger Television/West Collective. The Paper Tiger Guide to TV Repair Guide. (Oakland, CA: Inkworks, 1992)
courtesy of Sarah Lewison.

Enzenberger, Hans Magnus. The Consciousness Industry (NY: The Seabury Press, 1974)

Ewen, Stuart. All Consuming Images. (NY: Basic Books, Inc., 1988)

Haug, W.F. Critique of Commodity Aesthetics: Appearance, Sexuality and Advertising in Capitalist Society. (U. Minnesota Press, 1986)
I don't know if this is an "important" book or not, but the subject matter is of interest, at least, and I found it to be clear writing, if not simple. Good discussion of advertising, packaging and the disappearance/obsolescence of the commodity body. Attempts to update Marx.

Jacobson, Michael F., Mazur, Laurie Ann. Marketing Madness: A Survival Guide for a Consumer Society. (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1995) from The Center for the Study of Commercialism.

Kellner, Douglas. Media Culture: Cultural Studies, Identity and Politics between the Modern and the Postmodern. (Routledge, 1995)

Marris, Paul and Thornham, Sue, eds. Media Studies: A Reader. (Edinburgh U. Press, 1996)

Schiller, Herbert. Culture, Inc.: The Corporate Takeover of Public Expression. (NY: Oxford U. Press, 1989)
--- Information and the Crisis Economy. ( Oxford U. Press, 1986)

Stauber, John, and Rampton, Sheldon. Toxic Sludge is Good for You: Lies, Damn Lies and the Public Relations Industry. (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 1995)
Tells of such marvels as "astro-turf" movements, the groups that look like the grass-roots ones they actively seek to undermine in the name of unimpeded corporate control. The source of the title tells it all. It comes from an incident that occurred while the book was still pre-press. A concerned lobbyist for a group in favor of using toxic sludge as "organic" fertilizer called the authors in an attempt to pre-empt any negative coverage, alerting them to this practice.

Williamson, Judith. Decoding Advertisements: Ideology and Meaning in Advertising. (London: Marion Boyars, 1978)


Thanks to Dr. Inez Gomez (SFSU, Department of Education) for conversation and photocopies!

Friere, Paolo. Pedagogy of the Oppressed. --- Everything.

Gatto, John Taylor. Anything ???.

Giroux, Henry A. Schooling and the Struggle for Public Life: Critical Pedagogy in the Modern Age (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1988)
--- and McLaren, Peter. "Teacher Education and the Politics of Engagement: The Case for Democratic Schooling" in Harvard Educational Review, Vol. 56, No. 3, August, 1986.
---Theory and Resistance in Education. (South Hadley, MA: Bergin and Garvey, 1983)
--- Postmodern Education. with Aronowitz, Stanley.

Schor, Ira. "Education is Politics: Paulo Freire's critical pedagogy" in Paulo Freire: A critical Encounter (Routledge, 1993)


Appignanesi, Lisa, ed. Postmodernism: Institute of Contemporary Arts Documents. (London: Free Association Books, 1989)

Baudrillard, Jean François. Simulations. (Semiotext(e), 1983) Of course.
--- In the Shadow of Silent Majorities.
Essays include, "The Implosion of Meaning in the Media", which starts, "We are in a universe where there is more and more information, and less and less meaning." (p. 95)
--- Jean Baudrillard: Selected Writings. Poster, Mark, ed. (Stanford U. Press, 1988)

Benjamin, Walter. "The Artist as Producer" in Reflections: Essays, Aphorism, Autobiographical Writings. Edmund Jephcott, trans. (NY: Schocken Books, 1986)
This essay discusses the potencies of productive apparatii, both the revolutionary and fascist possibilities of technologies. Also contains, "Surrealism: The Last Snapshot of the European Intelligentsia" an incisive critique of the early avant-gardes.

Berger, John, Ways of Seeing. (BBC/Penguin, 1972)

Black, Bob. The Abolition of Work and Other Essays. No Copyright (Port Townsend, WA: Loompanics Unlimited, ?) --- Beneath the Underground. (Portland, OR: Feral House, 1994)

Bürger, Peter. Theory of the Avant-Garde. Michael Shaw, trans. Foreward by Jochen Schulte-Sasse.
Dense theory, but it lays out the tactics of montage, chance, and the new. Identifies the historical avant-garde as attacking the bourgeois "institution art". I read the whole thing and re-read most of it.

de Certeau, Michel. The Practice of Everyday Life. Translated by Steven Rendall. (University of California Press,1984 )
Inspired the name for our class, Social Art Tactics: p. xix quote at length
--- Culture in the Plural. (U. Minnesota Press, 1997)
More essays from the poetic master of everyday disaster.

Docherty, Thomas, ed. Postmodernism: A Reader. (Columbia U. Press, 1993)
Features many relevant articles.

Ellul, Jacques. The Technological Society. (NY: Vintage Books, 1964) Foster, Hal, ed. The Anti-Aesthetic: Essays on Postmodern Culture. (Seattle: Bay Press, 1983)

Foucault, Michel. "Revolutionary Action: 'Until Now'" in Language, Counter-Memory, Practice: Selected Essays and Interviews. (Cornell U. Press, 1977)
Foucault starts out the discussion with the question, "What is the most intolerable form of repression for those of you currently enrolled in a [high school]: family authority, the impact of the police on ordinary life, the organization and discipline imposed by the [school], or the passive role encouraged by the press ...?"
--- The Foucault Reader. Rabinow, Paul, ed. (Pantheon, 1984)

hooks, bell. Outlaw Culture: Resisting Representations. (Routledge, 1994)

Jameson, Frederic, ed. Aesthetics and Politics: The Key Texts of the Classic Debate within German Marxism.(Verso, 1977) Essays by Adorno, Benjamin, Bloch, Brecht, Lukacs, and a more (post)modern commentary, "Reflections in Conclusion", by Jameson that is a classic in itself.

Kaplan, Alice and Ross, Christine, ed. Everyday Life YALE FRENCH STUDIES, 73
Courtesy of Paula Levine. From the introduction: "To advance a theory of everyday life is to elevate lived experience to the status of a critical concept---not merely in order to describe lived experience, but in order to change it." Explicitly addresses the Situationist programme.

Lyotard, Jean-François The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge. Theory and History of Literature, Vol. 10. Translation from the French by Geoff Benningtona and Bian Massumi. Foreward by Frederic Jameson. (University of Minnesota Press, 1989)
--- The Postmodern Explained
(U. Minnesota Press, 1992)
--- "Notes on the Critical Function of the Work of Art" in Driftworks. Foreign Agents Series. (Semiotext(e), 1984) Derived from a 1970 discussion entitled "Art, Ideology, Phantasy" on the theme "Art and Society".

Shaw, Randy. The Activist's Handbook: A Primer for the 1990s and Beyond. (U. Cal. Press, 1996)
The Director and Supervising Attorney for the Tenderloin Housing Clinic relates the fruits his experiences with lawyers, politicians, media, ballot initiatives, and other realities of activism.

Varnedoe, Kirk and Godpnik, Adam. High and Low: Modern Art and Popular Culture. (NY: Museum of Modern Art, 1990)



Frank, Thomas, ed. The Baffler. (Fantagraphics Books)

Stay Free

Law, Larry. Spectacular Times.
e.g., #12: The Bad Days Will End. Situationist inspired.

Vague, Tom, ed. VAGUE. (London: Aldgate Press)
e.g. see:
#20: Televisionaries
#22: Media Sickness [More Contagious than AIDS]
Carries on in the Situationist tradition. Out of print.