Seven Billion Perverts:
A program in response to the Whitney Biennial 2012
Is it irresponsible to allow people to speak, without precautions, without supporting documentation, and without a pseudo-scientific screen? How otherwise to conceive of a study, whether it be in psychiatry, pedagogy, or areas that concern justice? Is it really dangerous to let people speak of things as they feel them, and with their language, their passions, their excesses? [...] We think that the expression of desire is synonymous with disorder and irrationality. But the neurotic order that forces desire to conform to dominant models perhaps constitutes the real disorder, the real irrationality.
– Felix Guattari, Three Billion Perverts on the Stand, 1974
As a curatorial programming partner of Whitney Biennial 2012, Artists Space Books & Talks will be the site of a weekly program, curated by Artists Space, focusing on key concerns from the work of the exhibiting artists, as well as from Whitney Biennial 2012 as a whole.
Artists Space Books & Talks is a space in which new ideas can be proposed, examined and contested, fostering a discourse beyond exhibition and display. It acknowledges the vital role that the exchange of knowledge plays within the context of contemporary art and beyond – how we locate ourselves and our work in an expanded cultural field; how we relate to each other and each other’s desires, and to the conditions of living in 2012.
As Artists Space turns forty this year, opening this second permanent venue, which will exist alongside Artists Space Exhibitions, will build new and extend existing relationships. Discussion, debate, correspondence, and argument have long formed a central part of Artists Space’s work—as aspects of working and living, these social relations are to be seen as much in the realm of art production as an object or image; or, as Louise Lawler and Sherrie Levine once said, “A picture is no substitute for anything.”¹ In addition to an open space for talks, discussions, screenings, and meetings, Artists Space Books & Talks houses a bookstore—consisting initially of one thousand titles, selected by one hundred artists, writers, and thinkers.
As a parallel narrative, relationships will, or will not unfold over time.
1 This phrase references a statement made by Hollis Frampton to Carl Andre, in 12 dialogues, 1962–1963, ed. Benjamin H.D. Buchloh (Halifax: Press of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design; New York: New York University Press, 1980).