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T J Demos

  • CountryUnited States


T.J. Demos writes widely on modern and contemporary art and his essays have appeared in journals including Grey Room and October. He is also a critic, writing for magazines such as Artforum, Texte zur Kunst, and Art Press, and recently completed a term on the editorial board of the quarterly Art Journal. His published work centres broadly on the conjunction of art and politics, examining the ability of artistic practices to invent innovative and experimental strategies that challenge dominant conventions, whether representational, aesthetic, or social and political.

His books include: The Exiles of Marcel Duchamp (MIT Press, 2007), which places Duchamp’s installations and mixed-media projects – including his “portable museum,” La Boîte-en-valise – in relation to geopolitical and aesthetic displacement during the early twentieth century’s periods of world war and nationalism; and Dara Birnbaum: Technology/Transformation: Wonder Woman (MIT Press/Afterall Books, 2010), which examines Birnbaum’s art practice in relation to postmodernist appropriation, media analysis, and feminist politics, and explores the artist’s pioneering attempts to open up the transformative capacities of video as a medium.

T.J. Demos’ recent work focuses on contemporary art, investigating, in particular, the diverse ways that artists have negotiated the recently emerging conjunction of political sovereignty and statelessness. His book The Migrant Image: The Art and Politics of Documentary during Global Crisis (Duke University Press, 2013) explores the relation of contemporary art – including practices from North America, Europe, and the Middle East – to the experience of social dislocation and political crisis, where art figures in ways both critically analytical and creatively emancipating. Attendant to developments in post-structural and postcolonial theory, his present research also considers new ways of comprehending photographic and video-based practice, art and ecology, socially-engaged art, and the recent restructurings of art institutions.


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