RE: [-empyre-] Re: Method Manifesto
In message <NFBBJIJOOLLMOMMACKAFMEOGDJAA.firstname.lastname@example.org> "Jim Andrews" <email@example.com>
> Concerning Kosuth and the conceptual artists, it wasn't 'art for art's sake' but, in the case of
> Kosuth, 'art as idea as idea', ie, his idea was 'art as idea'; reading his Art After Philosophy
> and After (collected writings) one is struck by his somewhat Marxist points of view, and his
> vision of the place of art in philosophy and in society more broadly, as an active thing in
> society, rather than the more insulated vision involved in 'art for art's sake' which was a much
> earlier slogan.
The art that Kosuth advocates in his essay "Art After Philosophy" is an
impotent, castrated art. This is not the art that he makes or ever made. His
later writings may function as something of a corrective to his earlier
position, but the one put forward in that essay advocates an extreme (pure)
form of self-referentiality; an art that stands aloof from all actual
conditions of social and cultural production.
> I recall reading him say that if somebody calls something art, then it must be art. He termed
> the contrary position "reactionary".
That also comes from "Art after Philosophy", but he was quoting Donald Judd
(or maybe Carl Andre). I don't recall where he uses the word "reactionary",
but it is probably from a later text.
> My feeling on the matter is that saying 'X is art' is a bit like saying 'This proposition is not
> provable' since one arrives at a contradiction should one say it is false; no contradiction
> seems to arise if one says it is true, yet neither then is it provably true. Nor is it an axiom
> completely independent of the rest of the language system, for if it were, its negation would be
> an acceptable alternative to the proposition itself, but it is not. It is an unprovable
> statement that nonetheless must be accepted as true. Each new piece of art is thus more like an
> axiom than a theorem.
It seems to me that the status of an object as a work
of art in any meaningful sense is dependent on more than the will of an
individual. After all, Duchamp's readymades were not immediately accepted as
art just because he said they were art. It took some time for his ideas to
become institutionalised. The idea that an individual can determine what is art
seems reactionary to me, since it constitutes an extravagant claim for dominion
over both social and subjective conditions of reception, reflecting a somewhat
authoritarian view that disingenuously obscures the power structures that
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