Refusal and withdrawal are familiar themes in contemporary art; their traces and spectral shadows stretch everywhere, touching each medium. Beyond all the examples catalogued by Susan Sontag in her 1967 essay “The Aesthetics of Silence,” consider Lee Lozano’s infamous boycott projects (withdrawing from the New York art world, refusing to speak to women) or, more generally, the many artists and writers who have renounced honors on political grounds: Jean-Paul Sartre refusing the Nobel Prize in Literature, Asger Jorn refusing the Guggenheim International Award, Adrienne Rich refusing the National Medal of Arts. In Europe’s current young art scene, where participation and participatory practices are a trump card that may have once indicated counter-cultural political concerns but now connote the oppositea golden ticket to art-market successthe act of refusal takes on
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