Maybe we all missed Davis' point? Artists were thinking about their relationship in the capacity of players in a material scenario. The book elicits this reaction. He wants us (including artists) to explore the transgressions of the sphere. Davis asserts that the
“industry is fucked up, but we need to think of ways to move beyond it. On the other hand, it’s a place that does have seeds of a political discussion, and you can’t begin to think of alternatives unless you can actually talk constructively about the actual milieu that [artists] find themselves engaged with.”
This leads us to a material theory of the artists as producer. I had trouble with this due to its de-historicized approach. Here Mike Kelley’s essay on his impression of Tetsumi Kudo and Joseph Beuys reveal an entirely different lens to the discussion of artists in society:
"It seemed to me that [Tetsumi Kudo and Joseph Beuys] shared certain characteristics; their actions took place in gallery spaces or the street and not in theatres, nightclubs, or other traditional performance venues; sculptures and objects were manipulated live, bringing a theatrical slant to the practice of sculpture; and both artists were dandies of sorts, adopting a mode of dress that immediately set them in clear opposition to their audience. In the case of Beuys, this consisted of a costume skin to hunter’s garb accented with a fedora; for his part, Kudo often shaved his head and dressed in fluorescent green, sporting pop plastic sunglasses of the same color. What these costumes signified I did not know, but it seemed clear that their purpose was to position these artists overtly in the tradition of the performer. I appreciated this negation of the image of the artists as “everyman”, as exemplified in the often-published photos of Jackson Pollock painting in his studio dressed in work clothes. In opposition to this symbolic refusal of the special role of the artists in society (they are “workers” like any other), Kudo and Beuys, like clowns, visually set themselves at odds with normal behavior. Though I did not necessarily feel the need to position myself in one camp or the other relative to the politics of the artists’ fashion, I was curious about how, and why, exactly these two artists tackled the issue. For me, as an American who understood that artists, clearly, were not thought of as being productive members of society, this kind of self-presentation as culturally “other” made perfect sense. The artist was, inherently, closer to the fetishized position of the performer than to the daily laborer."