In the Fall of 1975, Bruxellois editor Stéphane Rona asked Parisian art critic Otto Hahn to share his thoughts on Marcel Broodthaers, whom Hahn had known for more than ten years. The publication was +-0, a fledgling art review based in Belgium. The occasion was Broodthaers’ retrospective that opened in October at the Salomon de Rothschild Foundation, Paris, organized by the Centre National d’Art Contemporain.

Throughout the interview, which was scandalous at the time, Rona and Hahn are sarcastic, dismissive, and incredulous of the fact that a character like Broodthaers could be fêted by the CNAC, a great honor for any artist let alone a peripatetic failed Belgian poet who had only been making art for a dozen years. Whereas most people in the art world have welcomed Broodthaers’ palatial humor and erudite style, even if they couldn’t quite grasp his intent, Rona and Hahn were having none of it.

Piqued by the tone of this interview, Broodthaers demanded equal time. Rona obliged by conducting a followup conversation with him for the next issue of +-0. Alas, Broodthaers died three days before it came out.

This booklet marks the first time that Marcel Broodthaers’ final interview has been published in tandem with the Rona and Hahn interview that inspired it. Both are remarkable, in different ways, for addressing laziness, a moral concept that is no less relevant at a moment when great swaths of the public are, for now, choosing not to participate in the reinstatement of the exploitative labor status quo.

Yes, we are aware that laziness is a fraught subject position, a privileged object of consideration. Nonetheless, Marcel Broodthaers urges us to think, and take action, on the many forces attempting to shape our definitions of laziness and work today.

Joe Scanlan


the related exhibition
another related exhibition