Written in the wake of the far-right populist turn in Europe, the US, and beyond, What We Do Is Secret addresses aesthetic and intellectual affinities between recent art and conspiracy, proposing a theory of conspiracy that is not primarily concerned with conspiracy theory. This inquiry takes shape across chapters on the politics of post-internet art aesthetics; the sublime and possessive individualism in recent “critical” art; Cady Noland’s security fences, and silkscreens of the Symbionese Liberation Army; and mutuality, secrecy, and improvisation in the work of Ima-Abasi Okon. Larne Abse Gogarty discusses the relationship between culture and contemporary politics, following on from David Lloyd’s proposition that through its compensatory qualities, the aesthetic sphere naturalizes forms of life lived under the rule of property. What kind of art can work against this? Can art exist as a conspiracy capable of corroding that rule?
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