Alexander Dumbadze’s article will assert that postmodernism’s origins are not fixed temporally to the late 1970s or spatially to New York. Many of the signal themes of postmodernism—including the critique of representation and a nuanced sense of performativity—came to the foreground in the conceptual art produced in Los Angeles in the early 1970s. In particular, Dumbadze is interested in the way many conceptual artists based in Los Angeles conceived of individual subjectivity and the potential, or lack thereof, of one’s will. Jack Goldstein, a participant in Douglas Crimp’s 1977 Pictures show and a defining figure of New York postmodernism, was first active in the Los Angeles conceptual art scene and was close to Bas Jan Ader, Ger Van Elk, William Leavitt, and Allen Ruppersberg. Dumbadze’s article will show that Goldstein’s art was a conduit of ideas from Los Angeles to New York in the mid-1970s. He contends that this development begins to reveal a contemporary art world similar to that of the present, where ideas and aesthetic advances are not geographically or temporally determined.
Alexander Dumbadze recently completed a book manuscript on the artist Bas Jan Ader, to be published by the University of Chicago Press, and is editing, with Suzanne Hudson,Contemporary Art: 1989 to the Present (forthcoming, Wiley-Blackwell, 2012). He is a founder (with Suzanne Hudson and Joshua Shannon) of both the Society of Contemporary Art Historians and the Contemporary Art Think Tank. He has written a number of catalogue essays and reviews for such publications as Artforum, Modern Painters, and Sohbet: The Journal of Contemporary Arts and Culture. In 2009 he participated in Our Literal Speed (Chicago). Dumbadze has recently lectured at X-Initiative (New York, 2010) and the Radboud Universiteit (Nijmegen, Netherlands, 2009). Dumbadze is an assistant professor of art history at George Washington University. He holds a PhD from the University of Texas at Austin.