Marion von Osten: Once We Were Artists (A BAK Critical Reader in Artists’ Practice) critically maps the political commitment of von Osten’s influential work to feminism, theories of labor, knowledge production, education, and (post)coloniality. Von Osten’s practice systematically escapes strictures of canonization by scrutinizing, obstructing, and unsettling divisions categorizing art, art object, history making, theory, authority, curating, organizing, and teaching, opening up routes to radical re-readings of the contemporary. The contributions to this book discuss some of the many aspects of this situated, collaborative, process-oriented work so as to provide a locus from which to further engage her transversal practice, as well as the subject of the artist at present.

Marion von Osten: Once We Were Artists is co-edited by Maria Hlavajova and Tom Holert. It includes contributions by cultural practitioners Kader Attia; Sabeth Buchmann & Judith Hopf; Diedrich Diederichsen; Tom Holert; Brian Kuan Wood; Isabell Lorey; Angela McRobbie; Peter Spillmann; Marina Vishmidt; and Tirdad Zolghadr. The reader is designed by Kummer & Herrman, Utrecht and published by BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht and Valiz, Amsterdam.

Marion von Osten: Once We Were Artists is the second in the BAK Critical Readers in Artists’ Practice Series, initiated in 2012 with a publication on the artistic and theoretical work of Rabih Mroué. In parallel to BAK’s acclaimed series of Critical Readers in Contemporary Art, this publishing line examines the practice and body of work of a key international contemporary artist through a range of critical essays written by curators, art historians, theorists, critics, and artists. The readers put the focus on generating new insights into the practice of contemporary artists through in-depth critical intellectual engagement with their work across a spectrum of perspectives and critical approaches. In addition to a selection of images of the artist’s works, the material is augmented by an extensive bibliography, other background information, and an index, making each book a significant source of research and documentation on the featured artist’s work.

The publication can be ordered via Valiz.

Table of Contents

Once We Were Artists
Maria Hlavajova and Tom Holert in Conversation with Marion von Osten

Kader Attia and Marion von Osten

Friends in Context
Sabeth Buchmann and Judith Hopf

The Best of Three Worlds
Diedrich Diederichsen

In the Company of Others: Marion von Osten’s Building Practice
Tom Holert

The Horses
Brian Kuan Wood

Becoming Common: Precarization as Political Constituting (A Revision)
Isabell Lorey

Notes on Cultural Production: Marion von Osten, Art, and the Birmingham Contemporary Cultural Studies Tradition
Angela McRobbie

Our Relation to All These Places Is Operative: Practices Beyond Curating
Peter Spillmann

Beneath the Atelier, the Desert: Critique, Institutional and Infrastructural
Marina Vishmidt

The Transversal Imperative
Tirdad Zolghadr


Editors: Maria Hlavajova and Tom Holert
Managing Editor: Hidde van Greuningen
Research and Editorial Support: Hidde van Greuningen, Lucy Lopez, and Whitney Stark
Language Editing and Proofing: Aileen Derieg, Cielo Lutino, and Whitney Stark
Design: Kummer & Herrman, Utrecht
Published by: BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht and Valiz, Amsterdam
Language: English
Pages: 320
ISBN: 978-90-77288-23-8
Price: € 19,90

Book Launch

24.06.2017 10.30 uur
Once We Were Artists