The 7 Neoliberal Arts

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1920px Hortus Deliciarum Die Philosophie mit den sieben freien Künsten

Over at Post45: Contemporaries, I’ve organized a cluster of essays called “The 7 Neoliberal Arts.” It started life as a riff on Gilbert Seldes’s classic book The 7 Lively Arts (1924), but grew into a serious investigation of the way that new and formerly marginalized cultural practices have been elevated to—or sought the status of—“art.”

I wrote the intro and have a piece on Rob Liefeld (which will, I hope, become part of a longer chapter on Image Comics in my book-in-progress on comics [more on that in future posts]).

There is a great essay on Hill Street Blues and the concept of Quality Television by Madeline Ullrich. Sheri-Marie Harrison wrote movingly about the rise of the audiobook and listening to Toni Morrison’s oeuvre in her own voice. Robin James wrote about two fascinating tendencies in recent Electronic Dance Music that critics have called Business Techno and conceptronica.

There is an essay by Patrick Jagoda on neoliberalism and video games, with a super-interesting discussion of Death Stranding, an art-game I haven’t played but which has received a lot of buzz and media attention. Michelle Chihara has an epic essay on the podcast company Gimlet Media, and its self-referential form of (what she calls) neoliberal gaslighting.

And Ignacio M. Sánchez Prado has a mouth-watering essay on the Mexican chef Enrique Olvera that’ll make you want to buy a ticket to Mexico City. 

Anyway, this cluster turned into much more than I initially hoped for. I really love it and am very proud of how it came together. It’s evidence that if you pair the right writer with the right object, the product is amazing writing.

Check it out.