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Art and Postcapitalism

Art and Postcapitalism

Aesthetic Labour, Automation and Value Production

Dave Beech

What can art tell us about a postcapitalist future?

The rise of the anti-work movement and current theories of 'fully automated luxury communism' have seen art topple from its privileged place within the left's political imaginary as the artist has been reconceived as a prototype of the precarious 24/7 worker.

Art and Postcapitalism argues that art remains essential for thinking about the intersection of labour, capitalism and postcapitalism not insofar as it merges work and pleasure but as an example of noncapitalist production. Revisiting debates about art and technology, Dave Beech challenges the aesthetics of labour in John Ruskin and William Morris and sheds light on the anti-work theory of Silvia Federici, Andr Gorz, Kathi Weeks and Maurizio Lazzarato, as well as the technological Cockayne of Srnicek and Williams and Paul Mason.

Formulating a critique of contemporary postcapitalism, this is essential reading for anyone interested in the real and imagined escape routes from capitalism.

Dave Beech is Professor of Art at Valand Academy, University of Gothenburg. He is the author of Art and Value: Art's Economic Exceptionalism in Classical, Neoclassical and Marxist Economics (Brill 2015) which was shortlisted for the Deutscher Memorial Prize. He co-authored The Philistine Controversy (Verso, 2002) and Art and Text (Blackdog Books, 2011). He is a founding co-editor of the journal Art and the Public Sphere.

'Amplifying his previous defence of art's unique anti-capitalist status, Beech challenges post-capitalist fantasies envisioning either a future society of artists, or a utopia of aestheticised labour. I know of no other writer who so clearly lays-out the stakes regarding arts relation to value production, or what might follow upon capital's elimination' - Gregory Sholette, author of 'Dark Matter' and 'Delirium and Resistance' (Pluto Press)

'Filled with thrilling uncomfortable insights, 'Art and Postcapitalism' offers a unique critical position that rubs against the grain. With this timely intervention, Dave Beech solidifies his position as the voice to follow in the discourse on art and labour' - Paul Mason, author of 'Postcapitalism: A Guide to Our Future'

Introduction: Postcapitalism, Critique and Art
1. What is Postcapitalism?
2. Art's Hostility to Capitalism
3. Artists and the Politics of Work
4. Avant-Gardism and the Meanings of Automation
5. Laziness and the Technologies of Rest
Conclusion: Gratuity, Digitalisation and Value
Published by Pluto Press in Oct 2019
Paperback ISBN: 9780745339245
Hardcover ISBN: 9780745339252
eBook ISBN: 9781786805096

160 pages

135mm x 215mm