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Publishers WeeklyPart of the MIT Press' series "Documents of Contemporary Art" (co-published with London's Whitechapel Gallery), this volume has an all-encompassing title, but is really about failure as an artist. This broad anthology includes artists' statements, interviews with artists, exhibit reviews, something called a "reading script," literary analysis, and philosophical texts. While this eclectic approach keeps things interesting, it comes at a cost: a number of pieces have been cut too much; some seem deliberately obscure; and not all selections are equally interesting. Still, the book does what this kind of project should: it introduces you to unfamiliar ideas, authors, and practices; offers new approaches; and raises new questions. Presumably, it's intended for people who make or write about art, but you certainly don't have to be an artist to appreciate new ways of thinking about failure and, not coincidentally, success. As artist Chris Burden says when describing a performance piece gone awry: "I'm sure the people who organized the event were disappointed, but I was quite elated. I'd been so wrong in my expectations."
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