Last month, Artinfo Executive Editor and longtime art critic Ben Davis turned in a draft of his book, tentatively titled 9.5 Theses on Art and Class, a collection of 19 essays that have mostly appeared elsewhere but will be updated with new material, and some entirely new bits to fill in the gaps. The book is now with his publisher, Haymarket Books, and he expects it out in 2013.
“I’ve been writing for Internet publications so long that I am spoiled,” Mr. Davis wrote in an e-mail to The Observer yesterday. “I really want to have it now to give to people. I started the process before Occupy broke out, which brought up issues and arguments that I feel like I’ve been writing about for a while that have practical implications.
“But, of course,” he added, “I’m pretty sure that issues about art and inequality, art and politics, art and class are going to be around next year too.”
The book’s title comes from a pamphlet Mr. Davis wrote in 2010 for a show titled “#class” at Winkleman Gallery and taped Luther-style to the front window of the gallery (it’s still available online here). It’s seemed to endure, he said, and he’s heard that it’s been translated into Spanish and Romanian. “An artist even wrote me once to say they were doing a project based on it, something involving a food fight (I think she might have missed the point),” he added.
And he’s been pleased to land at the left-leaning Haymarket. “They’ve published people like Noam Chomsky, Amy Goodman, Wallace Shawn, Dave Zirin—people who serve proper public intellectual roles—and books like Soldiers in Revolt or Sin Patron, both of which have made a real difference to people engaged in activism,” he wrote. “I’d like the book to be inspiring in that way.”