In the late 1960s and early 1970s, some of the most important U.S. artists and critics began to identify themselves as “art workers.” This is the first book to examine how this polemical redefinition of artistic labor was central to minimalism, process art, feminist criticism, and conceptualism. Bryan-Wilson traces the politicization of artistic labor and analyzes it in relationship to the economic transformations of the post-industrial age. Through case studies of Carl Andre, Robert Morris, Lucy Lippard, and Hans Haacke, she reveals the diverse ways that artists and writers during the Vietnam War era understood themselves as workers, not least through their participation in the anti-war activities of the Art Workers’ Coalition and the New York Art Strike.
Julia Bryan-Wilson is associate professor of modern and contemporary art at the University of California, Berkeley. She previously taught at the Rhode Island School of Design, where she was awarded the Frazier Award for Excellence in Teaching, and at UC Irvine, where she received the Humanities Award for Teaching Excellence. Her book Art Workers: Radical Practice in the Vietnam War Era (University of California Press) was published in 2009, and she is the editor of Robert Morris, forthcoming from the MIT Press in the October Files series. She has also published on artists including Yoko Ono, Harmony Hammond, and Sharon Hayes, and her writing has appeared in Artforum, Art Journal, Bookforum, differences, October, Oxford Art Journal, and TDR: The Drama Review, among others. Her current research focuses on the politics of handmaking since 1970. In 2012–2013 she is serving as the acting director of the Arts Research Center at UC Berkeley.