Gillick writes of the artist's capitalization of the mind – the “accusation” is that they are “in thrall to the processes of capitalization.” He then defines this by investigating scenarios of control the artist apes from capital. These structures include leisure, deadlines, ethics, research and documentary practice, the limitation of the commodity, and the promise of a better life. Capitalization is sometimes predatory. I lean towards its definition as “interest capitalization” because that is the most predatory of the various uses of the term in finance. The principal balance in this case is the loan that culture, Modernism disburses to the art, the license to work in the free zone of play and immaterial scenarios. The artist then moves through a practice in Gillick’s characteristically “discursive” manner, constantly looking to take the advances made and “capitalize” them back upon of the balance of his territory of “continually mutating” exchange. 


AuthorMike Pepi


I’ll try to deal with Gillick’s concepts of capitalization of the mind, the “accusation”, the artist as immaterial laborer or knowledge worker, and his definition of responsible didactic criticism as they appear in his essay Doing Nothing. Gillick opens all of these with the following estimation of “current artists”, a term he uses to avoid the thorny associations with “contemporary art”: “The challenge made is that artists today… have fallen into a trap that is pre-determined by their existence within a regime that is centered on a rampant capitalization of the mind.”  One definition of capitalization in finance is the addition of the accrued interest of a loan back on to the principal balance. There are other definitions, but I find this one brings up notable parallels to the artist’s vested contingencies and the power that is ceded and gained through them.

There will be more entries, but let me begin by stating that Gillick leads me towards a definition of capitalism vis-à-vis aesthetics as a system that erects “barriers between work, life, and art.”