Fandom as Methodology

A Sourcebook for Artists and Writers

Edited by Catherine Grant and Kate Random Love


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Fandom as Methodology examines fandom as a set of practices for approaching and writing about art. The collection includes experimental texts, autobiography, fiction, and new academic perspectives on fandom in and as art.

Key to the idea of “fandom as methodology” is a focus on the potential for fandom in art to create oppositional spaces, communities, and practices, particularly from queer perspectives, but also through transnational, feminist and artist-of-colour fandoms.

The book provides a range of examples of artists and writers working in this vein, as well as academic essays that explore the ways in which fandom can be theorised as a methodology for art practice and art history.

Fandom as Methodology proposes that many artists and art writers already draw on affective strategies found in fandom. With the current focus in many areas of art history, art writing, and performance studies around affective engagement with artworks and imaginative potentials, fandom is a key methodology that has yet to be explored.

Interwoven into the academic essays are lavishly designed artist pages in which artists offer an introduction to their use of fandom as methodology.

Rescuing fandom from the realm of cultural studies, this exciting collection bravely asserts fandom as an effective means of critical discourse. As editors Grant and Random Love suggest, the reflex distance and scepticism of traditional criticism are merely a choice that may be abandoned at any time; it is equally possible for an actor or an artwork or musician to be understood in every dimension through the filters of empathy, enthusiasm and love.

Chris Kraus, author of Social Practices, After Kathy Acker, and other books

Like adoring fans drawn to one another by desire for a distant idol, this book brings together contributors from across the contemporary art world to bridge gaps between art-making and fanatic following, criticism and adoration. Thumbing its nose at the snobs, Fandom as Methodology giddily mines how loving attachments for disparaged objects enshrine important templates for cultural change. I am a huge fan!

Gavin Butt, author of Between You and Me and Professor of Fine Art, Northumbria University, Newcastle

Fandom as Methodology makes a powerful contribution to many fields, especially fan studies, art history, media theory, and LGBTQIA studies. For too long, fan productions have been considered wholly separate from the art world. This book brings together fandom and art by reframing famous creators, like Andy Warhol and Jack Smith, as fans, and by platforming specific fan makers as artists. The editors and contributors allow us to perceive how fandom has been an active impulse, technique, and approach in genres such as installation art, photography, video, performance, collage, mail art, film criticism, for decades, and how fandom is driving internet-based visual culture today. Fandom as Methodology establishes that ‘fan art,’ routinely dismissed by so many, constitutes one of the most energetic, experimental, compelling sectors of contemporary art.

Abigail De Kosnik, University of California, Berkeley


Edited by Catherine Grant and Kate Random Love

Catherine Grant is a Senior Lecturer in the Art and Visual Cultures Departments at Goldsmiths, University of London. She is the coeditor of Girls! Girls! Girls! and Creative Writing and Art History

Kate Random Love is an independent art historian and writer

Listen to the the editors of Fandom as Methodology and Dominic Johnson, Holly Pester and Michelle Williams Gamaker discuss art, fandom and the obsessions that lie in between.

Listen to Catherine Grant on the most exciting contemporary developments in art writing.

Experiments In Art Writing features a set of highly innovative UK-based art writers, and asks them to describe the encounters, materials, voices and texts that have shaped the form of their writing.