Sharon Hayes: After Before and in the near future

This is a print-on-demand book published as part of Art in General’s New Commissions, a program which I initiated during my time there as curator and programs manager. Designed by Project Projects in New York, this book series includes various paperback volumes, each one per commissioned project.

This particular book documents Sharon Hayes’s commissioned project, After Before (2005). It includes an introduction by me, a statement by Sharon Hayes, and an essay by Doug Ashford. It also includes documentation of Sharon’s performance in the near future (2005), concurrently organized with the exhibition and co-presented with Performa05.

Begun in 2004 during a studio residency at the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council and finally edited and completed in 2005 with the assistance of Art in General, Hayes’ After Before is a conceptually rich and lengthy multi-channel video installation. This book attempts to at least present the overarching ideas of the project. The text by Hayes included here was originally her project description, and is printed here with only slight edits. It is a remarkable piece of writing that thoughtfully introduces the project, including her influences and the aesthetic concerns that ultimately give shape to her work.

Since its first iteration in New York in 2005, Hayes has expanded in the near future, at times by exhibiting the documentation-aspect of the performance or by adapting the performance to different locations and languages. This book documents the first version of in the near future, which was commissioned by Art in General and held in New York City in 2005. This performance was co-presented with Performa05, the first biennale of performance art by visual artists that was initiated and led by RoseLee Goldberg. Additional documentation of in the near future is published in the biennale’s catalog.

This text is followed by Doug Ashford’s essay about Hayes’ artistic investigation and practice in general, and about After Before in particular. Ashford’s text complements a radio interview that the artist and he conducted for Art Radio WPS1 on the occasion of the exhibition of After Before and the end of her performance in the near future. This dialogue was held on November 12, 2005, and a sound recording of this is available on the web-archive of

In 2007, Hayes’s created another performance and installation, Everything Else Has Failed. Don't You Think it’s Time for Love?, which was included in the anniversary exhibition 25 Years Later: Welcome to Art in General at the UBS Art Gallery in New York. While no documentation of this work is included in the book, it is important to mention it, if briefly, to point out that Art in General once again served as a platform for Hayes to create new work. And, most importantly, because this new performance–which expands the artist’s exploration on the speech act and the uncertainty of time, and now also openly touches upon intimacy and emotion–marks a new direction in her practice.

The book can be bought here.