WHERE QUESTIONS OF MEDIUM and making are concerned, most art criticism seems patently uninterested in (if not fundamentally incapable of) dealing with issues of production. Why obsess over the stuff of MFA curricula and fabrication trade manuals, goes the rationale, when more urgent issues are at stake? Given the choice between a meditation on aesthetics and politics, say, or on the latest shoptalk about rapid-prototyping technology, the decision seems made in advance.
Perhaps it’s a decision worth reconsidering. We should hardly need convincing that questions of production are continuous with matters of labor; and where labor is at issue, politics at once precede it and trail in its wake. So maybe it is high time for us to revisit that old Marxian saw “the means of production,” precisely because such concerns can illuminate deeper readings of the art-and-politics question. This recollection
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