Thursday, February 11th, 2016...10:00 am

“A New Standard of Laziness”

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This post is part of an ongoing series featuring items recently cataloged from the Julio Mario Santo Domingo Collection.


Tuli Kupferberg’s 1001 Ways to Live Without Working is a handbook, political satire, and collage all-in-one. Nestled between the actual 1005 point list are newspaper advertisements, photographs of protest, slave sale notices, and other pieces of historical media used to turn the list into a multimedia protest artwork. Matt Groening, creator of the Simpsons, called Kupferberg “a pioneer of list-making as art.” His style is reminiscent of French detournement, an art form where expressions of capitalist and media cultures are appropriated into new art forms used to mock and critique these very cultures. Detournement in the United States is well illustrated by Barbara Kruger’s photography. A heavy critique of American capitalism, Kupferberg’s 1001 Ways juxtaposes struggles of the working class (“have lots of doctors bills so you don’t have to pay any income tax”) with newspaper advertisements claiming a path to phenomenal wealth (“a money miracle can come to you, too!)


Founding member of the first Beat generation band, The Fugs, Kupferberg continued to create anarchist multimedia art in New York City until his death in 2010. Kupferbeg is forever memorialized in Allen Ginsberg’s Howl as the man “who jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge this actually happened and walked away unknown and forgotten into the ghostly daze of Chinatown soup alleyways & firetrucks, not even one free beer.”
As for those tips to live without working, the text includes such helpful suggestions as “be 1 year old” (#810), “keep on living with your parents” (#830), “invent a new political party” (#845), and “live on an iceberg” (#269). There are also direct comparisons between material culture and starvation along with a correlation between American capitalism and fascism.

To learn more, 1001 Ways To Live Without Working can be found in Widener’s collection: New York: Grove Press, 1967.

Thanks to Irina Rogova, Santo Domingo Library Assistant, for contributing this post.

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