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In the Cloud
In Philadelphia

In Defense of Sloth

an eclectic and entertaining series of presentations about that most philosophical of vices


Fields of Knowledge
  • Aesthetics / Media
  • Philosophy / Theory
  • Politics / Economics

Organizing Institutions

Cabinet magazine, Slought

Contributing Institutions

The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture at the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art


Aaron Levy, Sina Najafi


Undergraduate students in the 2007-2008 RBSL Bergman Foundation Curatorial Seminar in the University of Pennsylvania Departments of English and Art History.


Funding for this project has been provided by the New York Council for the Humanities, a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Opens to public



Cooper Union, New York


30 Cooper Square New York, NY 10003


100% Formal - 0% Informal

Cabinet magazine and Slought are pleased to invite you to In Defense of Sloth: An Eclectic and Entertaining Series of Presentations About that Most Philosophical of Vices, on Friday, December 7th and Saturday, December 8th, 2007 in New York City.

This event, funded in part by generous grants from the Helena Rubenstein Foundation and the New York Council for the Humanities, is co-sponsored by The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture at The Cooper Union, and ZONE:Chelsea Center for the Arts, two centers of cultural activity in a city renowned for its economic productivity. The project explores histories and metaphors of sloth through the a primer and a symposium.

Theories and polemics about sloth have figured widely in Western thought in the work of artists, philosophers, and cultural critics as diverse as Aquinas, Nietzsche, and Malevich, as well as Marx, Kierkegaard, and Wilde. In Dante's Purgatorio, for example, sloth is described as being the "failure to love God with all one's heart, all one's mind, and all one's soul." A more secular viewpoint on sloth is provided by Paul LaFargue, Karl Marx's son-in-law, who authored the influential The Right to be Lazy (1883) and tirelessly campaigned for a three-hour workday. Likewise, in his manifesto in praise of laziness (1993), Zagreb-based artist Mladen Stilinovic suggests that Western artists are too preoccupied with promotion and production, and are thus less artists than producers.

"Far from idleness being the root of all evil, it is rather the only true good." - Soren Kierkegaard (1813 - 1855), Either/Or, Vol. 1

"To do nothing at all is the most difficult thing in the world, the most difficult and the most intellectual." - Oscar Wilde (1854-1900), The Critic as Artist