The book Double Bind pivots around an extensive conversation between artist Leigh Ledare and art historian Rhea Anastas concerning Ledare’s project of the same name. As an installation, Double Bind puts in play a series of overlaying comparative structures: over one thousand photographs of the artist’s ex-wife (half taken by Ledare, the other half by her current husband, according to a script conceived by Ledare) and an ample collection of printed mass media. Through a critical and wide-ranging dialog, Ledare and Anastas probe the complexities of the viewing experience of the work and the consequences of its provocations. Ordered according to six sections, the conversation addresses key concepts and methodologies that structure the work: viewing, systemic conditions, enactment, installation and mass media, genealogy, and affect. Taken by Ledare exclusively for this book, installation views of the New York exhibition (Mitchell-Innes & Nash, 2014) foreground the subjective experience of the work and anchor the coauthors’ testing of models of aesthetic and social critique within an ethics of actually looking. The dialogue also appears with an introduction by Anastas, a preface by Ledare, and a chronology of Double Bind exhibitions and publications to date.
“Ledare’s Double Bind project examines social process of habitual enactment, such as what it means “to be a wife,” emotional and material terms of exchange, thresholds of public and private imagination, gender normativity and symbolic boundaries of relationships—all through the lens of a camera. Ledare suggests a kind of unraveling of these habituations and carries this logic over to his discussion of the work with Rhea Anastas. Here, Double Bind functions not simply as an object of analysis but instead as a rubric through which the two extend the work itself through a dialectic of articulation and dis-articulation. In line with the radical (and often suppressed) premises of conceptual art, here Ledare and Anastas challenge and override conventional distinctions between artwork, viewer, artist, critic and art historian. In this way this book serves as a vital part of Double Bind’s progressive unfolding.” – John Miller, artist and critic