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Seth Siegelaub

Seth Siegelaub, 44 East 52nd Street, New York, ca. 1969. Photo: Robert Barry.

LIKE MANY OTHERS OF MY GENERATION, I knew Seth Siegelaub as the legendary figure who launched the most visible and canonical practices of Conceptual art: the “fab four” (Robert Barry, Douglas Huebler, Joseph Kosuth, and Lawrence Weiner) and all that. It’s a story that’s become a little pat. But history is far more interesting, and Siegelaub’s role more complicated and improvisatory. From the 1960s until his death, Siegelaub seems to have been resolutely practical and nondogmatic, and almost maddeningly mobile. He responded to the moment as if making things up as he went along.

Who else could go from issuing Weiner’s landmark artist’s book Statements in 1968 to publishing the first English translation of How to Read Donald Duck: Imperialist Ideology in the Disney Comic just seven years later? Both books are foundational in completely different fields. Initially published in Chile

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