Bruce Hainley’s Under the Sign of [sic] Sturtevant’s Volte-Face (Semiotext(e)/MIT, 2014) is the first monographic study of Sturtevant, an American artist whose work employs repetition to interrogate and transform how art is understood. Throughout the 1960s, Sturtevant participated in important performances by Claes Oldenburg and Robert Rauschenberg; her work was also exhibited as part of such key group shows as Gene Swenson’s “The Other Tradition” at the Institute for Contemporary Art in Philadelphia and “Art in the Mirror” at MoMA. In the 1970s, she created repetitions of works by Walter De Maria, Michael Heizer, and Joseph Beuys. Hainley considers the consequence of her repetitions, both as a formative prehistory to what is called “appropriation” art and as meditations on the structure of art in their own right. Through her repetitions, both of single art works and entire shows (some of them her own), Sturtevant has radically challenged the understanding and categorization of art via historical movements (Pop, Conceptual, Earthworks, Institutional Critique) while highlighting art’s economic, contextual, and social entanglements.

Bruce Hainley served as the Associate Director of Graduate Studies in Criticism & Theory at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA, and is visiting faculty at the School of Fine Arts at the University of Southern California. He is a contributing editor at Artforum. He has written several articles on Sturtevant that have been published in Artforumfrieze, and Frog. His recent books include Foul Mouth, published by 2nd Cannons in 2006, and Art – A Sex Book, with John Waters, which was published by Thames & Hudson in 2003.