Zero Squared #42: The Truth About Art


Patrick Doorly is an art historian specializing in Renaissance Italy. He divides his time between writing and teaching art history in the Department for Continuing Education, Oxford University, where he was acting director of studies for art history in 2001–02. Previously he was Head of Critical and Theoretical Studies at the School of Art & Design, Croydon College. Today we’ll discuss his book The Truth About Art which was published by Zero Books in August of 2013.

His book:
Traces the multiple meanings of art back to their historical roots, and equips the reader to choose between them. Art with a capital A turns out to be an invention of German Romantic philosophers, who endowed their creation with the attributes of genius, originality, rule breaking, and self-expression, directed by the spirit of the age. Recovering the problems that these attributes were devised to solve dispels many of the obscurities and contradictions that accompany them. What artists have always sought is excellence, and they become artists in so far as they achieve it. Quality was the supreme value in Renaissance Italy, and in early Greece it offered mortals glimpses of the divine. Today art historians avoid references to beauty or Quality, since neither is objective or definable.

In this episode you’ll hear some excerpts from Pierre Grimes, Robert Hughes, John Cage, Joseph Beuys and George Plimpton on Good Morning Mister Orwell, a BBC interview with Marcel Duchamp, and the theme from the 1968 film “Je t’aime, je t’aime,” and something called “Phased Floyd.”

21 Oct 2015, 6:27pm
Zero Squared


Zero Squared #41: Echo


Fiamma Montezemolo is both a Cultural Anthropologist (PhD University Orientale of Naples) and an artist (MFA San Francisco Art Institute). She has taught for many years in Mexico, Italy and USA and she is currently teaching in the Cinema&Digital Media department in UC Davis. Her film Echo will be exhibited at an event organized by the Zero Books author Mike Watson entitled The Elephant in the Room?: Talk and Screenings on Social Inequality, Meritocracy and Art’ and slated to occur some time in December.

Echo is set in the border between Mexico and USA and it is an ethnographic research on the after life and “echoes” of 9 art works that have been part of the two-decade old public art event called inSite. It highlights the procedures of intrusion at work in such a site as the US-Mexico border as well as the now canonical deployment of the emblematic figure of fieldwork. It teaches us that intrusion is an ontological dimension of intervention, at once anthropological, curatorial, and artistic. By revisiting the scenes of these curatorial and artistic interventions, “echo” emerges both as a concept and a practice that assembles the futures of art works beyond its expected ruins and remains. 

In this episode you’ll hear some excerpts from Laurie Anderson, an explanation of the liberatory potential of nonracist “racist” jokes from Slavoj Zizek, an excerpt from the audiobook “Tales from Ovid” read by Ted Hughes, Steve Reich’s Clapping Music, and Steve Reich’s Drumming.

Zero Squared #40: Poor But Sexy


Agata Pyzik is a Polish journalist who divides her time between Warsaw and London, where she has already established herself as a writer on art, politics, music and culture for various magazines, including The Wire, Guardian, New Statesman, New Humanist, Afterall and Frieze. Her book, Poor but Sexy, was published last year by Zero Books.

Daniel Trilling, author of Bloody Nasty People blurbed her book this way “A necessary corrective to the paper-thin portrayal of Eastern Europe by Western media. Pyzik’s writing is clear, direct, knowledgeable – and partisan, in the best sense of the word.”

In this episode you’ll hear an excerpt from Dezerter’s Ask the Policeman, XTC’s Are You Receiving Me, and Weird Nun by Stride machine. You’ll also hear a McDonald’s Ad, Claire’s theme from the 1991 film Until the End of the World, and Kraftwerk’s Electric Cafe at 45 RPM.

Zero Squared #39: Land of Hunger

Please take a moment this week to fill out a very short survey. Zero Books is working on offering a book club and we’d like to get your input.

Wayne Holloway is a writer director, working in commercials and movies in London and in LA. His first book, Land of Hunger, is out from Zero Books and is the subject of our conversation this week.

Land of Hunger is a collection of short stories, that interconnect, loop and return upon each other despite their seemingly disparate subject matter. Fragments that resonate across time and place, from the Ukraine during the Russian Civil War, to the miners’ strike, to the world of animal rights protestors.

It’s Wednesday, the 7th of October, 2015 and I’m Douglas Lain the publisher of Zero Books and the host of this podcast.

In this episode you’ll hear an excerpt of a cover of the Beatles’ Sexy Sadie by Joe Goldmark, a monologue from My Dinner With Andre, archival clips of advertising from the year 2000, the ’84 Miner’s Strike, the Bolshevik revolution, and Cyndi Lauper’s cover of John Lennon’s hit Working Class Hero.

The music you’re listening to right now is an astro funk hit by the Earons. This is The Land of Hunger and in just a moment you’ll hear Wayne Holloway and I discuss his book by the same name.