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By Julia Bryan-Wilson
Berkeley, California: University of California Press, 2009
Pages: 283
Dimensions: 7 in x 10 in
Cover: two-color dust jacket
Binding: hard bound
Color: 8 full color plates, b&w throughout
Edition size: 3000

During the late 1960s and early 1970s, in response to the political turbulence generated by the Vietnam War, an important group of American artists and critics sought to expand the definition of creative labor by identifying themselves as "art workers." In the first book to examine this movement, Julia Bryan-Wilson shows how a polemical redefinition of artistic labor played a central role in minimalism, process art, feminist criticism, and conceptualism. In her close examination of four seminal figures of the period—American artists Carl Andre, Robert Morris, and Hans Haacke, and art critic Lucy Lippard—Bryan-Wilson frames an engrossing new argument around the double entendre that "art works." She traces the divergent ways in which these four artists and writers rallied around the "art worker" identity, including participating in the Art Workers' Coalition—a short-lived organization founded in 1969 to protest the war and agitate for artists' rights—and the New York Art Strike. By connecting social art history and theories of labor, this book illuminates the artworks and protest actions that were central to this pivotal era in both American art and politics.

Read what others have to say:

"In this engaging history of the Art Workers' Coalition, Julia Bryan-Wilson considers the dilemmas and contradictions as well as the artistic innovation and activism that resulted when 'artist' and 'worker' were brought into conjunction at a volatile moment in the late 1960s. Carl Andre in blue coveralls, Robert Morris driving a forklift, Hans Haacke polling gallery-goers, Lucy Lippard delivering her art reviews right after delivering her baby—to such iconic images and moments Bryan-Wilson brings her thorough scholarship and keen analysis."
— Douglas Crimp, author of On the Museum's Ruins

"Art Workers: Radical Practice in the Vietnam Era” by Julia Bryan-Wilson, is an intensive account of how four important figures — Carl Andre, Hans Haacke, Robert Morris and the critic Lucy Lippard — combined creativity with activism to make political art in the 1960s and ’70s, which extended to agitating for artists’ rights. Ms. Bryan-Wilson’s book is of immediate, practical value to young artists today who want to re-establish art as an alternative place in the culture, though her clean prose will also make the book inviting to more casual readers."
— New York Times Book Review

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