PRINT December 2007


Waiting for Godot: Paul Chan In New Orleans

Placard in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans for Paul Chan and Creative Time’s production of Waiting for Godot, 2007. Photo: Paul Chan.

AT THE CLOSE OF 2007, one gets the sense that art—like the ever-forgetful Estragon of Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot—is once more struggling to take off its boot. In light of a booming market whose culture of investment is continually eclipsing any sense of art’s speaking meaningfully to society at large, and against the backdrop of political developments whose increasing gravity only underscores that diminished relationship, many artists are seeking venues beyond the conventional circuitry of the art world (and scuttling any vestiges of the myth of art’s autonomy) to obtain a renewed sense of relevance and consequence in practice.* Art is, it seems, in want of a little airing out.

Paul Chan’s production of Godot in New Orleans last month would appear to be the latest, convincing evidence not only of this desire but also of its potential. To culminate a semester-long

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