Allan Kaprow, Robert Smithson, and the Limits to Art

Allan Kaprow, Robert Smithson, and the Limits to Art

Philip Ursprung

Language: English

Pages: 342

ISBN: 0520245415

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


This innovative study of two of the most important artists of the twentieth century links the art practices of Allan Kaprow and Robert Smithson in their attempts to test the limits of art--both what it is and where it is. Ursprung provides a sophisticated yet accessible analysis, placing the two artists firmly in the art world of the 1960s as well as in the art historical discourse of the following decades. Although their practices were quite different, they both extended the studio and gallery into desert landscapes, abandoned warehouses, industrial sites, train stations, and other spaces. Ursprung bolsters his argument with substantial archival research and sociological and economic models of expansion and limits.

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criticized for its inherent narcissism, she points to the Modernistic premises of this critique and presents a fundamental reevaluation of Body Art: “Narcissism, enacted through body art, turns the subject inexorably and paradoxically outward. . . . Narcissism can be understood as endemic to late capitalist commodity culture, which requires a ‘manufacture’ of desire and the simultaneous turning outward of the self toward commodities and obsessive self-absorption, in a ‘disturbance’ of the oedipal

der Avantgarde, Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 1974. Burgin, Victor, The End of Art Theory: Criticism and Postmodernity, Atlantic Highlands, N.J.: Humanities Press International, 1986. Burner, David, Making Peace with the 60s, Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1996. Burnham, Sophy, The Art Crowd: The Inside Story of How a Few Rich and/or Powerful Figures Control the World’s Art Market, New York: David McKay, 1973. Butler, Judith, Excitable Speech: A Politics of the Performative,

reprinted in Battcock 1968, pp. 387–399. Wood, Robert, Suburbia: Its People and Their Politics, Cambridge, Mass.: Riverside, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1959. Young, Joan, and Susan Davidson, “Chronology,” in Rauschenberg 1997, p. 552. Zukin, Sharon, Loft Living: Culture and Capital in Urban Change, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1982. ART CREDITS FIG. 1. Photo by Philip Ursprung. FIG. 2. Photo by Linda Cassens Stoian. FIG. 4. � Allan Kaprow Estate, Courtesy Hauser & Wirth,

exhibitions since the 1960s. There has never been a place for him in the canon of any alternative history of art. With the exception of Gavin Butt, the leading lights in performance studies have paid scant attention to Kaprow. Although the story of Performance Art could hardly have unfolded as it did without Kaprow, he does not feature in the otherwise innovative and differentiated history of this academic field. Yet it is only to be expected that he does not fit in with the main issues of the

emulating the rapid turnover of fads in consumer objects and had, since 1962, tended to expect new models on an annual basis, as in the motor industry—“to mimic the obsolescence of last year’s Detroit models.”123 The exponents of Minimal Art attached great importance to what Bruce Glaser called a “very finished look,” O’Doherty’s “smooth surface.”124 These perfect finishes are highly photogenic and instantly recognizable.125 In addition, these artists hoped to secure the future of Minimal Art by

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