Contemporary Art and the Digitization of Everyday Life argues that digitization is a socio-historical process that is contributing to the erosion of democracy and an increase in political inequality, specifically along racial, ethnic, and gender lines. Taking a historical approach, Kraynak finds that the seeds of these developments are paradoxically related to the ideology of digital utopianism that emerged in the late 1960s with the rise of a social model of computing, a set of beliefs furthered by the neo-liberal tech ideology in the 1990s, and the popularization of networked computing. The result of this ongoing cultural worldview, which dovetails with the principles of progressive artistic strategies of the past, is a critical blindness in art historical discourse that ultimately compromises art’s historically important role in furthering radical democratic aims.

Janet Kraynak teaches in the Department of Art History and Archaeology at Columbia University, where she is the Director of the MA in Modern and Contemporary Art: Critical and Curatorial Studies. She is the author of Nauman Reiterated (University of Minnesota Press, Electronic Mediations series, 2014), Monica Bonvicini (Phaidon Press, 2014), and the editor of Please Pay Attention Please: Bruce Nauman’s Words: Writings and Interviews (MIT Press, 2003). Her writings have appeared in Art Journal, Grey Room, Artforum, Frieze, and the Journal of Visual Culture.