“Termite Art,” in Farber’s definition, is art born of observing and acknowledging the transitory nature of daily life. It is also a key antidote to the widespread problem of “White Elephant” art—big, swaggering “masterpiece art” self-consciously striving for greatness. In this book, artists, historians, and critics dive deep into art that forgoes such ambition in order to attend to the pleasures and problems of the everyday. The book is anchored by an essay by editor Helen Molesworth and features four contemporary commissioned artists’ projects that exemplify “Termite Art,” an interview with filmmaker Jean-Pierre Gorin, and a carefully selected collection of historical essays by and about Farber that functions as a reader on the subject.
HELEN MOLESWORTH is Chief Curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. Her articles regularly appear in periodicals such as Artforum, Art Journal, and October.
HELEN MOLESWORTH is Chief Curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.
Glenn Ligon is an artist whose midcareer retrospective was presented at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, in 2011.