John C. Welchman

John C. Welchman is Professor of Modern Art History in the Visual Arts Department at the University of California, San Diego. He is the editor of Minor Histories: Statements, Conversations, Proposals, a collection of writings by the artist Mike Kelley (MIT Press).

  • Joseph Kosuth

    Joseph Kosuth

    Redefining the Context of Art, 1968 and After: The Second Investigation and Public Media

    John C. Welchman and Gabriele Guercio

    The first comprehensive survey of Joseph Kosuth's work, centering on The Second Investigation (1968–74)

    This first comprehensive survey of Joseph Kosuth's work with public media centers on his pioneering project The Second Investigation (1968–74). This indexical work takes the form of anonymous advertisements in media—newspapers, magazines, billboards, television—based on a taxonomy of the world developed in the early nineteenth century by Roget for use in his thesaurus. Marking the start of Kosuth's sustained engagement with public media, this work anticipated the media orientation of New York postmodernism beginning in the late 1970s.

    Featuring a significant reexamination of Kosuth's work with language and media by art historian John C. Welchman, an appendix by art historian Gabriele Guercio, as well as the artist's own reflections on art and media, the book is richly illustrated with unpublished material from the artist's archive along with documentation of the artist's eponymous 1997 exhibition at the MIT List Visual Arts Center and his 2004 retrospective at the Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven.

    • Hardcover $40.00
  • On the Last Afternoon

    On the Last Afternoon

    Disrupted Ecologies and the Work of Joyce Campbell

    John C. Welchman

    A richly illustrated retrospective of interdisciplinary artist Joyce Campbell and her three decades of work in photography, film, and video.

    On the Last Afternoon: Disrupted Ecologies and the Work of Joyce Campbell offers a number of portholes into the relations between photography, philosophy, ecology, material history, science fiction, and the care and reading of sacred and symbolic landscapes, as they have been engaged by artist Joyce Campbell over her near three-decade career. Richly illustrated with a full array of her various bodies of work in photography, film, and video, the publication complements and extends her major 2019 exhibition at Adam Art Gallery Te Pātaka Toi in Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand. Bringing together new and existing writings by Christina Barton, Geoffrey Batchen, Elizabeth Grosz, Richard Niania, Bernard Stiegler, Mark von Schlegell, and John C. Welchman with the embedded wisdom and inherited narratives of her Māori and Pākehā collaborators, Campbell demonstrates the interconnectedness of complex biological, spiritual, and representational systems, and the potential of photography to resist the global techno-capitalist hegemony that underpins the exponential collapse of biodiversity and the decline of spirit in our contemporary era.

    Raised in Aotearoa New Zealand's rural hinterland, before spending a decade in Southern California, Campbell's biography mirrors her practice, oscillating between New Zealand's verdant coasts and the smog-choked, climate-stressed systems of the Californian deserts. She has photographed in extreme conditions in North America, New Zealand, and Antarctica, using the full panoply of techniques from photography's two-hundred-year history. This publication is the outcome of a close collaboration with volume editor and contributor John C. Welchman (Professor of Art History, Theory and Criticism, University of California, San Diego, and Chair, Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts).

    Copublished with Adam Art Gallery Te Pātaka Toi at Victoria University of Wellington


    Christina Barton, Geoffrey Batchen, Joyce Campbell, Elizabeth Grosz, Tungāne Kani, Apikara Niania, Richard Niania, Mark von Schlegell, George Smith, Sebastian Smith, Vicky Smith, Bernard Stiegler, John C. Welchman

    • Paperback $40.00
  • After the Wagnerian Bouillabaisse, Volume 2

    After the Wagnerian Bouillabaisse, Volume 2

    Essays on European Avant-Garde Art, XX–XXI

    John C. Welchman

    Critical analyses of some of the major European artists and movements in the twentieth century, delivered with verve and insight.

    The ten essays in After the Wagnerian Bouillabaisse offer original critical discussions of some of the major European artists and movements in the twentieth century, beginning with important reassessments of Italian Futurism and the unique and disruptively consequential compounding of words and images in Dada and Surrealism. Welchman writes with verve and insight about the production, and circumvention, of affect in the work of Henri Matisse and Fernand Léger; the delirious splits and metaphorical ricochets fired up by Salvador Dalí; and the social and philosophical ideas mobilized by René Magritte. The second half of the volume examines mid- and later-twentieth century artists, offering a revisionist assessment of Hans Hartung; a new analysis of major themes and issues in the work of Antoni Tàpies; a meditation on “whiteness” in the practice and thinking of Günter Brus; and an exploration of exchanges between the US and the UK about sculpture between 1945 and the 1970s. The book concludes with an essay on the relations between writing and seeing in the work of Swiss artist Rémy Zaugg. The volume is the second in Welchman's series XX–XXI on European art from this and the last century.

    • Paperback $32.00
  • Past Realization, Volume 1

    Past Realization, Volume 1

    Essays on Contemporary European Art, XX–XXI

    John C. Welchman

    This volume is a collection of dynamic and engaged writings by art historian John C. Welchman on a range of contemporary European artists: Vasco Araújo, Cosima von Bonin, Jan De Cock, Orshi Drozdik, Susan Hiller, Andy Hope 1930, Michael Kunze, Nathaniel Mellors, Miguel Palma, José Álvaro Perdices, Sascha Pohle, Thomas Raat, Nicola Stäglich, and Xavier Veil­han. Anchored in concerns that emerged in the late 1960s and 1970s, Welchman poses thoughtful and provocative questions about how these artists receive and negotiate the social and aesthetic histories through which they live and work. 

    Past Realization inaugurates XX–XXI, John C. Welchman's two-part series on European art from this and the last century, which will be followed by a series on West Coast artists and one on the work of Mike Kelley.

    • Paperback $26.00
  • Minor Histories

    Minor Histories

    Statements, Conversations, Proposals

    Mike Kelley and John C. Welchman

    The second volume of writings by Los Angeles artist Mike Kelley, focusing on his own work.

    What John C. Welchman calls the "blazing network of focused conflations" from which Mike Kelley's styles are generated is on display in all its diversity in this second volume of the artist's writings. The first volume, Foul Perfection, contained thematic essays and writings about other artists; this collection concentrates on Kelley's own work, ranging from texts in "voices" that grew out of scripts for performance pieces to expository critical and autobiographical writings.Minor Histories organizes Kelley's writings into five sections. "Statements" consists of twenty pieces produced between 1984 and 2002 (most of which were written to accompany exhibitions), including "Ajax," which draws on Homer, Colgate- Palmolive, and Longinus to present its eponymous hero; "Some Aesthetic High Points," an exercise in autobiography that counters the standard artist bio included in catalogs and press releases; and a sequence of "creative writings" that use mass cultural tropes in concert with high art mannerisms—approximating in prose the visual styles that characterize Kelley's artwork. "Video Statements and Proposals" are introductions to videos made by Kelley and other artists, including Paul McCarthy and Bob Flanagan and Sheree Rose. "Image-Texts" offers writings that accompany or are part of artworks and installations. This section includes "A Stopgap Measure," Kelley's zestful millennial essay in social satire, and "Meet John Doe," a collage of appropriated texts. "Architecture" features an discussion of Kelley's Educational Complex (1995) and an interview in which he reflects on the role of architecture in his work. Finally, "Ufology" considers the aesthetics and sexuality of space as manifested by UFO sightings and abduction scenarios.

    • Hardcover $65.00
    • Paperback $36.95
  • Foul Perfection

    Foul Perfection

    Essays and Criticism

    Mike Kelley and John C. Welchman

    Critical writings and commentary by the Los Angeles based artist Mike Kelley.

    The work of artist Mike Kelley (b. 1954) embraces performance, installation, drawing, painting, video, and sculpture. Drawing distinctively on high art and vernacular traditions, including historical research, popular culture, and psychology, Kelley came to prominence in the 1980s with a series of sculptures composed of craft materials. His recent work offers dialogues with architecture and with repressed memory syndrome, and a sustained inquiry into his own aesthetic and social history. The subjects on which Kelley has written are as varied as his artistic media. They include the work of fellow artists, sound, caricature, the uncanny, UFOlogy, and gender-bending.

    This book offers a diverse collection of Kelley's writings from the last twenty-five years. It contains major critical texts on art, film, and the wider culture, including his piece on the aesthetic he calls "urban Gothic." It also contains essays, mostly commissioned for exhibition catalogs and journals, on the artists and groups David Askevold, Öyvind Fahlström, Douglas Huebler, John Miller, Survival Research Laboratories, and Paul Thek, among others. Kelley's voices are passionate, analytic, and ironic, and his critical intelligence is leavened with touches of whimsy.

    • Hardcover $13.75
    • Paperback $34.95


  • Appropriation


    David Evans

    Important documents and appraisals of appropriation art from Duchamp's readymades to feminist and postcolonial critique.

    Scavenging, replicating, or remixing, many influential artists today reinvent a legacy of “stealing” images and forms from other makers. Among the diverse, often contestatory strategies included under the heading “appropriation” are the readymade, détournement, pastiche, rephotography, recombination, simulation and parody. Although appropropriation is often associated with the 1980s practice of such artists as Peter Halley, Sherrie Levine, Richard Prince, and Cindy Sherman, as well as the critical discourse of postmodernism and the simulacral theory of Jean Baudrillard, appropriation's significance for art is not limited by that cultural and political moment. In an expanded art-historical frame, this book recontextualizes avant-garde photomontage, the Duchampian readymade, and the Pop image among such alternative precursors as Francis Picabia, Bertolt Brecht, Guy Debord, Akasegawa Genpei, Dan Graham, Cildo Meireles, and Martha Rosler. In the recent work of many artists, including Mike Kelley, Glenn Ligon, Pierre Huyghe, and Aleksandra Mir, among others, appropriation is central to their critique of the contemporary world and vision for alternative futures

    Artists surveyed include Akasegawa Genpei, Santiago Álvarez, Art Workers Coalition, Ross Bleckner, Marcel Broodthaers, Victor Burgin, Maurizio Cattelan, Hans-Peter Feldmann, Douglas Gordon, Johan Grimonprez, Peter Halley, Hank Herron, Pierre Huyghe, Mike Kelley, Idris Khan, Barbara Kruger, Sherrie Levine, Glenn Ligon, Steve McQueen, Alexandra Mir, Keith Piper, Richard Prince, Jorma Puranen, Cindy Sherman, John Stezaker, Retort, Martha Rosler, Philip Taaffe.

    Writers includeMalek Alloula, Jean Baudrillard, Walter Benjamin, Nicolas Bourriaud, Benjamin H. D. Buchloh, Johanna Burton, Douglas Crimp, Thomas Crow, Guy Debord, Georges Didi-Huberman, Marcel Duchamp, Okwui Enwezor, Jean-Luc Godard, Isabelle Graw, Boris Groys, Raoul Hausmann, Sven Lütticken, Cildo Meireles, Kobena Mercer, Slobodan Mijuskovic, Laura Mulvey, Jo Spence, Elisabeth Sussman, Lisa Tickner, Reiko Tomii, Andy Warhol.

    • Paperback $24.95