Touring the Archive, Archiving the Tour

Based in Los Angeles, the Center for Land Use Interpretation describes itself as an independent, non-profit, educational organization “dedicated to the increase and diffusion of information about how the nation’s lands are apportioned, utilized, and perceived.” Through exhibits, publications, bus tours, an online database, and an artists’ residency program, CLUI has crafted a visually coherent and unaffected set of presentation and interpretive strategies drawn from the places where tourism, the archive, museum educational displays, and conceptual art intersect. While the organization refuses to state a clear position for or against particular ways land has been used, its body of work resists the notion that certain landscapes, especially ugly or utilitarian ones, are either unremarkable or inevitable.

Kanouse, Sarah, “Touring the Archive, Archiving the Tour,” Art Journal 64(2): 78-87.

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Cooing Over the Golden Phallus

A increasing number of popular documentary films are employing prankster tactics for political effect.  With a heritage stretching back to the Yippies, the Situationists, and beyond, prankster activists harness broad dissatisfaction with contemporary society and express it in visceral, anarchic, experiential form. This paper considers and critiques these practices in light of the politics of the spectacle they engage. Specifically, what types of political activity – individualist or collective, transcendent or engaged, patriarchal or feminist – are suggested by the prankster-activist?  What economic and gender relations are engaged by pranksters, and do politicized pranksters reinforce these underlying schema even as they temporarily turn the tables on their powerful targets?  Does the popular reception of prankster politics represent a fulfillment of its promise to make dissent more ‘fun’?  If so, what kind of fun are we having, and what kind of politics are we not doing while we’re having it?

Kanouse, Sarah, “Cooing Over the Golden Phallus,” The Journal of Aesthetics and Protest 4 (2005): 21-31.

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Additional Publications

Publications grouped here are intended for a non-art audience, are short-form reflections on a creative work, or are commissioned and unrefereed. PDFs are supplied for all refereed publications, though editorial rather than blind peer review may have been the vetting mechanism.

Book Chapter

Kanouse, Sarah, “Installation Art,” in John Downing, ed., The Encyclopedia of Social Movement Media (London: Sage, 2010), 272-279.

Download PDF: Installation Art

Journal Articles

Greenwald, Dara, and Sarah Kanouse “What the Market Bares,” Critical Planning 18 (2011): 92-98

Download PDF: What the Market Bares

Kanouse, Sarah, “Tactical Irrelevance: Art and Politics at Play,” The Democratic Communiqué 20(2) (2007): 23-39.

Download PDF: Tactical Irrelevance

Brown, N., R. Griffis, K. Hamilton, S. Irish, and S. Kanouse, “What makes justice spatial? What makes spaces just?” Critical Planning 14 (2007): 7-28.

Download PDF: What Makes Justice Spatial? What Makes Spaces Just?


Kanouse, Sarah, “Marc Tasman,” Mary L. Nohl Fellowship Exhibition Catalog, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Peck School of the Arts, 2007 (unnumbered)

Kanouse, Sarah and Nicholas Brown, “Urban, Rural, Wild,” AREA: Art Research Education Activism 1:4 (2005)

Cover image: Art book spines, photo by Sarah Kanouse