Houses to Die In And Other Essays on Art

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“With breathtaking elegance and profound acuity, Houses to Die In overturns everything we think we know about contemporary culture. Blom reveals the surprising connections between finance capitalism and drugs, modernist painting and machine intelligence, disco and neurology, the designed world and the human struggle—undoing traditional binaries of spectacle and critique and finding, in the most unlikely of places, glimmers of the radical reorganization of life in the twenty-first century.”

— Michelle Kuo,
Curator of Painting and Sculpture, Museum of Modern Art, New York


The undead of contemporary painting, avant-garde populism, photography courting stupidity, fraught networking, synthetic atmospheres, displaced abstractions, and the mediation of pain: these are among the subjects treated in this collection of essays by art historian and critic Ina Blom. Drawing on Blom’s familiarity with the contemporary art scene as well as the archives of twentieth-century avant-garde art, these texts share a pull towards artistic projects that are not redemptive or exemplary but that rather convey a sense of—often unheroic—trouble. Leaning into ambivalence as a methodology of criticism, Blom takes a particular interest in the detours, doubts, and difficulties that run alongside avant-garde art’s more constructively hopeful desires for transformative innovation and change.

Born in Oslo in 1961, Ina Blom is an Associate Professor at the Department of Philosophy, Classics, History of Art and Ideas at the University of Oslo. She has written extensively on modern and contemporary art and is also active as an art critic.

Published by Sternberg Press, 2022
Language: English
Paperback: 15 × 21 cm, 256 pages
ISBN 978-3-95679-631-9