Ben Davis

Haymarket Books (July, 2021)

Trade paper • ISBN-13: 9781642594621 • US $16.95 • 6 in x 9 in • 180 pgs.


At a time when the world looks bleak and art seems small, critic Ben Davis offers a constructive and hopeful look at what it means to make art.

We are living through a time of disorienting transformation for anyone working in the arts, as giant corporate forces, massive political shifts, and looming political, technological, and ecological crises can make art feel small at best, and like a distraction at worst.

In Making Art in Terrible Times, leading art critic Ben Davis offers a guide to navigating major debates around art, politics, and technology. In these incisive and accessible essays, Davis shows how tectonic shifts have disturbed what it means to be an artist in the twenty- first century, charts a map of the pitfalls those disruptions present, and finds hope in the opportunities that still exist for art to make a meaningful difference to a world on fire.


Ben Davis is author of 9.5 Theses on Art and Class, and essays for The Baffler, Jacobin, the New York Times, and elsewhere. A 2019 survey of art writers ranked him as the fifth most influential critic in the United States.


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