Scott Burton: Collected Writings on Art and Performance

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Scott Burton (1939-1989) was an American artist best known for his large-scale furniture sculptures in granite and bronze. Recognized internationally as a preeminent figure in postwar American art, Burton synthesized minimalism, performance art, and large-scale civic projects.

Before gaining widespread recognition for his sculpture and public art, however, Burton produced a substantial body of art writing in the late 1960s and early 1970s. An eclectic and wide-ranging critic, he wrote important texts, including the introduction to the groundbreaking exhibition of Post-minimal art Live in Your Head: When Attitudes Become Form and also served as an editor for both ARTnews and Art in America. At the same time, Burton simultaneously became known as a performance artist, developing themes he pursued in his writing. His dual role as an artist-critic, however, has rarely been explored.

Scott Burton: Collected Writings on Art and Performance, 1965-1975 brings together—for the first time—Burton's essays and unpublished manuscripts from these years, tracing his work as an art critic as well as his early statements on performance. In his writing, Burton championed positions that others held as mutually exclusive and antagonistic. He advocated for reductive abstract art while defending figuration, and he argued for the urgency of time-based and ephemeral art practices in the same years that he curated exhibitions of realist painting. Distinct in these diverse texts are Burton's increasing concerns with art's appeal to affects, empathies, and subjective responses; the early formulation of his desire to make art public and accessible; and his critical grasp on the implications and exclusions of mainstream narratives of art.

This collection offers rich new context for Burton's sculptural work and reveals him as an important voice in the rapidly changing art world of the 1960s and 1970s.

Edited by David J. Getsy

Published by Soberscove Press
First edition, 2012
258 pages, 1-color with color plate section, 6 x 9 inches

ISBN 978-0-9824090-4-6