Art Power (MIT Press)

Art Power (MIT Press)

Language: English

Pages: 200

ISBN: 0262518686

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Art has its own power in the world, and is as much a force in the power play of global politics today as it once was in the arena of cold war politics. Art, argues the distinguished theoretician Boris Groys, is hardly a powerless commodity subject to the art market's fiats of inclusion and exclusion. In Art Power, Groys examines modern and contemporary art according to its ideological function. Art, Groys writes, is produced and brought before the public in two ways -- as a commodity and as a tool of political propaganda. In the contemporary art scene, very little attention is paid to the latter function. Arguing for the inclusion of politically motivated art in contemporary art discourse, Groys considers art produced under totalitarianism, Socialism, and post-Communism. He also considers today's mainstream Western art -- which he finds behaving more and more according the norms of ideological propaganda: produced and exhibited for the masses at international exhibitions, biennials, and festivals. Contemporary art, Groys argues, demonstrates its power by appropriating the iconoclastic gestures directed against itself -- by positioning itself simultaneously as an image and as a critique of the image. In Art Power, Groys examines this fundamental appropriation that produces the paradoxical object of the modern artwork.

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pseudo-readymades to grasp the difference, or, better, to imagine the difference. In fact, it is not even necessary for these works of Fischli and Weiss to be actually "made"; it is enough to tell the story that enables us to look at the "models" for these works in a different way. Everchanging museum presentations compel us to imagine the Heraclitean flux that deconstructs all identities and undermines all historical orders and taxonomies, ultimately destroying all the archives from within. But

Aigles at the Kunsthalle in Dusseldorf in 1973, he placed the label "This is not a work of art" next to each of the presented objects in the installation. The entire installation, though, is legitimately considered to be an artwork. Here the figure of the independent curator, increasingly central to contemporary art, comes into play. When it comes down to it, the independent curator does everything the contemporary artist does. The independent curator travels the world and organizes

artist. One might easily have supposed that after the critic has crossed over to the side of the artist he would have won the artist's gratitude and become his confidante. But it doesn't work this way. The critic's text-so most artists believe-seems less to protect the work from detractors than to isolate it from its potential admirers. Rigorous theoretical definition is bad for business. Thus, many artists protect themselves against theoretical commentary in the hopes that a naked work of art

an artist if the artist isn't already established; someone else in the art world has already decided that the artist is deserving of a show. One could object that a critic can at least give a negative review. That is certainly true-but it makes no difference. Through these decades of artistic revolutions, movements, and countermovements, the public in this century has finally come around to the position that a negative review is no different from a positive one. What matters in a review is which

motives-and thus who can scarcely be influenced by theoretical discourse or political propaganda of the past. Future observers will pass judgment exclusively on the basis of the external, corporeal, material appearance of the artwork; its meaning, content, and original interpretational framework will be necessarily alien to them. For Hitler, the recognition of art as art is not, therefore, a matter of a spiritual tradition, of a culture that is transferred from one subject to another, from one

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