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One Place After Another: Site-Specific Art and Locational Identity

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review

By Miwon Kwon.MIT Press, 2002. 218pp. £22.50

The notion of a 'site-specific'public art work, which might have seemed radical 30 years ago, is no longer so; instead the term has simply been 'adopted as another genre category by mainstream art institutions'. Despite the attempt of artists such as Richard Serra to give it a critical edge, more energy of late has gone into finding an alternative term that resists that institutional absorption.

Hence such current euphemisms as 'site-determined', 'siteoriented', 'site-referenced' and 'site-related'- attempts at a linguistic makeover to keep a lost ideal alive.

So argues Miwon Kwon in One Place After Another, who goes on to look with suitable scepticism at efforts to reframe the idea of site in terms of 'communityspecific'art (who constitutes the 'community'? ), and asks what it means to be specific at a time when globalisation is eroding distinctions of place.

The book is soberly written, and in its production shows MIT Press at its least ingratiating, but for anyone - client or artist - still contemplating a 'site-specific' commission, it is a pertinent and cautionary read.

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