through August 1
Broodthaers Society of America
520 West 143rd Street
New York, NY 10031
I don’t even know whether I’m lazy, I might well be. But the question could just as well be put the other way around: why is such and such a person hardworking?
—Marcel Broodthaers, 1976
The Broodthaers Society of America is pleased to announce an ongoing performance event on the subject of laziness. The event will be accessible beginning Monday, June 21st and will continue through Sunday, August 1st. The setting for the event is comprised of three parts: a bespoke queen-sized bed installed in the gallery for the duration of the exhibition; an online portal through which willing participants can occupy the bed during regular business hours; and new scholarship around two interviews in which the success of Marcel Broodthaers as a visual artist is largely attributed to his laziness.
In the first interview—translated here for the first time by art critic and curator Nora Kovacs—plus minus zero magazine editor Stéphane Rona asked Parisian art critic Otto Hahn to share his thoughts regarding Marcel Broodthaers on the occasion of Broodthaers’ retrospective at the Centre National d’Art Contemporain, Paris. Throughout the exchange, Rona and Hahn are by turns dismissive and incredulous that such a “personalité” as Broodthaers could be fêted at the CNAC.
Piqued by the tone of this interview, Broodthaers demanded equal time. Rona obliged by conducting a corresponding interview with him for publication in the next issue of plus minus zero, but, alas, Broodthaers died three days before it was scheduled to hit the newsstands. Although
this final interview by Broodthaers is well known, Laziness marks the first time it will be published in tandem, in English, with the Rona and Hahn conversation that inspired it. A fourth component of Laziness—the show’s ‘hidden track’ so to speak—will be a first edition of the announcement with which Broodthaers’ infamously launched his career as a visual artist, the silkscreened magazine pages on which he wondered aloud whether or not he, too, might sell something and succeed in life.
Therein lies the rub. As summer begins and the sixteen-ton gears of the artworld begin to groan and turn and reengage—urging us back, back to work, back to school, back to attention-giving, back to building back better the neonormalcy of a more diverse and inclusive neoliberalism—what to make of success and resistance? Of success as resistance? Is that even possible now in a way that it was for Broodthaers? Yes, we are aware that laziness is a privileged object of consideration, a subject position that is practically unthinkable for entire swaths of the art community, let alone humanity. Nonetheless, with Marcel Broodthaers in mind, this show encourages us to consider—even perform—the “many different components entering into these definitions of laziness and work.”
The Broodthaers Society of America provides a forum in which America might contemplate itself through the life and work of Marcel Broodthaers. When Broodthaers died at the relatively young age of fifty-two, he left behind many unfinished ideas on such themes as laziness, merchandise, and the alphabet. The BSA periodically mounts exhibitions and events that expand on these ideas. The BSA also houses an extensive archive of Broodthaers related material and maintains a growing community of scholars and enthusiasts. Most recently we have converted our parlor floor into MBnb, a commercial space available to artists, designers, dealers, writers, and people in trade the world over.
Laziness the pamphlet can be purchased here
Occupants of the show can be seen here