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Life without buildings: Institutions and Objections
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  • 1. Life without buildings: Institutions and Objections
  • 2. “ The ideal modernist spectator was a disembodied eye, lifted out of the flux of life in time and history, apprehending the resolved (‘significant) aesthetic form in a moment of instanteity” Paul Wood
  • 3.
    • Modernist judgements of quality and relevance came under scrutiny and challenge from the mid 1960s.
    • A consequence of this challenge has been the recognition that the meaning of an artwork does not necessarily lie within it, but as often as not arises out of the context in which it exists.
    • This context is as much social and political as it is formal, and questions of politics and identity, both cultural and personal have been central to much art since the 1970s.
    • There was a shift towards focusing on context, Modernism had been indifferent to context.
    • For the most part ‘specific objects’ had unproblematically occupied traditional gallery spaces, this new work which was concerned with materials, in particular formless materials, had the effect of inducing reflection upon the ‘containers’ or galleries.
    • This was manifest in two particular ways, by siting the work outside of the gallery, for example Land art or site specific work, and Conceptual art.
  • 4. “ For decades now [Greenberg’s formalist doctrine] has managed to have us believe that art floats ten feet above the ground and has nothing to do with the historical situation out of which it grew. It has presumed to be an entity all to itself. The only acknowledged link with history is a stylistic one. The development of those ‘mainstream’ styles, however, is again viewed as an isolated phenomenon, self-generative and unresponsive to the pressures of historical society.” Hans Haacke
  • 5. Anthony Caro “Early One Morning” 1962
  • 6. Modernism in retreat So clearly Clement Greenberg’s Modernism was a source of antagonism. And Greenberg's doctrine can be illustrated by the work of Anthony Caro. Caro rebutted any overt connection with the social word of his time, he asserted repeatedly that his job was to make the best sculptures he could, not to discuss social problems. By contrast a number of artists absorbed the lessons of the counter-culture.
  • 7. Spirit of ‘68 Provoked by this a level of debate about the relation of art to politics was stimulated.
  • 8. Robert Morris
  • 9. In 1968 Morris introduced an entirely different aesthetic approach, which he articulated in “Anti-Form.” In this and later writings he reassessed his assumptions underlying Minimalist art and concluded that, contrary to earlier assertions, the construction of such objects had relied on subjective decisions and therefore resulted in icons—making them essentially no different than traditional sculpture. In 1978, Robert Morris pointed out that white gallery spaces could be taken in at a single glance, that they were in this sense the equivalent of Minimal Art, anti spatial or un-spatial in terms of behavioural experience. His point was that the younger generation of artists no longer wanted an anonymous space and absorption into the institution of Art as represented by the white cube.
  • 10. Richard Long “A Line Made by Walking”  1967 The same shift from object to process was evident in a host of other artistic projects that arose at the apogee of the counter culture ‘s most revolutionary energies.
  • 11. Dennis Oppenheim Directed Harvest circa 1966-8
  • 12. Walter De Maria - Vertical Earth Kilometer - 1977 Walter De Maria - The Lightning Field - 1977 Dematerialisation: Conceptual Art There was a transformation of art from an autonomous object to a contextual materiality.
  • 13. “ I work outside because it’s the only place where I can displace mass…I like the scale - that’s certainly one difference between working in a gallery and working outdoors.” Michael Heizer
  • 14. Michael Heizer “ Double Negative An assertion was being made of the artist’s much sought after independence from the commercial gallery system, as well as marking the work’s lingering dependence on it
  • 15. Gordon matte Clark, window blow-out , 1976. He was motivated by revealing the capitalist exhaustion of marketable material in the name of progress. That is to say, his art had a social purpose.
  • 16. Gordon Matta-Clark, splitting , 1974 (322 Humphrey st, englewood, nj.)
  • 17. GRAVEL MIRRORS WITH CRACKS AND DUST 1968 12 mirror with gravel 36" x 36" x 216"
  • 18. Robert Smithson, nonsite (Franklin, new jersey) . 1968
  • 19.  
  • 20. Gordon matte Clark, splitting , 1974 (322 Humphrey st, englewood, nj.)
  • 21. sculpture axiomatic structures architecture landscape not-landscape not-architecture marked sites site-construction
  • 22.  
  • 23. The artist no longer supplies the ‘ raw material’ for someone else (e.g. curator, historian, critic, etc.) to organise into systems of meaning, but takes on this organising role for him/herself.
  • 24. Daniel Buren, 140 stations , 1970 (reinstalled 1973)
  • 25. Daniel Buren within and beyond the frame John Weber Gallery NY 1973
  • 26. Daniel Buren permutations 7 days - 6 replacements - 7 colours 1973 Halifax nova Scotia
  • 27. Mierle Laderman Ukeles, Hartford Wash:Washing Tracks Maintenance Outside, Wadsworth Atheneum, (1973)
  • 28. Hans Haacke, MOMA-Poll, Information, Museum of Modern Art, New York, (1970)
  • 29. Hans Haacke, Solomon R. Guggenheim Board of Trustees, (1974), panels 1+2
  • 30. “ Cultural confinement takes place when a curator imposes his own limits on an art exhibition , rather than asking an artist to set his limits. Artists are expected to fit into fraudulent categories. Some artists imagine they've got a hold on this apparatus, which in fact has got a hold of them. As a result, they end up supporting a cultural prison that is out of their control. Artists themselves are not confined, but their output is. Museums, like asylums and jails, have wards and cells- in other words, neutral rooms called "galleries." A work of art when placed in a gallery loses its charge, and becomes a portable object or surface disengaged from the outside world.” Robert Smithson Artforum 1972
  • 31.   Robert Smithson, A Nonsite (Franklin, New Jersey), 1968, painted wooden bins, limestone, gelatin silver prints and typescript on paper with graphite and transfer letters, mounted on mat board, bins installed: 16.5 x 82.25 x 103 inches, board: 40 x 30 inches,
  • 32. “ All of Smithson’s work effected a radical dislocation of art, which was removed from its locus in the museum and gallery to remote, inaccessible locations. This displacement is not only geographic, but economic as well: the ‘value’ of the work of art is no longer determined by its status as a portable commodity; it is now the work itself which bestows value (upon the depreciated site where it is installed).”
  • 33. The use of natural, organic materials as the material of art
  • 34. ‘ [O]ne after another Robert Morris, Robert Smithson, Michael Heizer, Richard Serra, Walter de Maria, Robert Irwin, Sol LeWitt, Bruce Nauman… had entered a situation the logical conditions of which can no longer be described as modernist…
  • 35. ‘… In order to name this historical rupture and the structural transformation of the cultural field that characterizes it, one must have recourse to another term...
  • 36. ‘… In order to name this historical rupture and the structural transformation of the cultural field that characterizes it, one must have recourse to another term...
  • 37. … The one already in use in other areas of criticism is postmodernism. There seems no reason not to use it.’ Rosalind Krauss, ‘Sculpture in the Expanded Field’ (1978)
  • 38.  
  • 39.  
  • 40. Michael Asher, relocation of a bronze cast of Jean Antoine Houdon's George Washington (1788) from outside the Art Institute of Chicago to an interior gallery (1979 and 2005)
  • 41.