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OED Definition
Pronunciation: /riˈjekt/
Verb [with object]: dismiss as inadequate, inappropriate, or not to one’s taste; refuse to agree to (a request); fail to show due affection or concern for (someone); rebuff; medicine show an immune response to (a transplanted organ or tissue) so that it fails to survive.
Pronunciation: /ˈrēˌjekt/
Noun: a person or thing dismissed as failing to meet standards or satisfy tastes
Origin: late Middle English: from Latin reject- ‘thrown back’, from the verb reicere, from re- ‘back’ + jacere ‘to throw’

“Popular in our time, unpopular in his. So runs the stereotype of rejected genius.” – Robert Hughes on Caravaggio

“The painter must give a completely free rein to any feeling or sensations he may have and reject nothing to which he is naturally drawn.” – Lucian Freud

“If you cannot learn to love real art; at least learn to hate sham art and reject it… because these are but the outward symbols of the poison that lies within them.” – William Morris

David Levine – Hopeful (2010) In 2005, David began collecting the unsolicited photos for his own research into the waste of the “culture industry,” sorting the discarded, blind submissions (which he acquired from the garbage bins of New York’s various casting agencies) into a haphazard catalogue

Anya Liftig – Rejection (2008) performance; reading of 400 rejection letters from 7pm to 7am. Rejection is a durational performance that attempts to recontextualize the concept of failure in society. Over the course of a full day, from sunup, to sundown, I read from my extensive collection of rejection letters. This archive has been culled largely from my own attempts to seek fortune and fame as an artist, but has been augmented by an international call for rejection letters from all corners of the globe. I maintain a very open idea of “rejection,” including formal rebuffs, personal affronts, passive aggressive tactics, lost and unrequited love, unfulfilled and deferred dreams, financial set backs and denials, and anything else that a potential participant might wish to share. This project originated as a strategy to deal with my own repeated experiences with rejection in the art world. I started saving all of my letters hoping that one day I might be able to make something out of them, eventually, an opportunity presented itself and in 2008 I spent seven hours at INcubate Chicago reading the pieces out loud. Quickly, the project emerged as a way for other people to turn their frustrations into something creative. The letter reading process became a collective, cathartic, communal absurd celebration.


Michael Landy – Art Bin (2010)

Choi Jeong-Hwa – 1000 Doors (2009)

Sarah Nicole Phillips – Curbside Object Status Tags (2010)

Sarah Nicole Phillips – Curbside Object Status Tags (2010)

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