Week 13 Lecture, 20th Century


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  • We’ve discussed at length the modernist desire to critique itself by stripping down the painting or sculpture to its basic forms, shapes, even to the extent that the painting almost no longer exists as a painting (a picture of a thing), but rather as an image-object in the way it reiterates its own form within the work itself (see Frank Stella’s work above). This kind of critical self-examination can also be dealt with in terms of context, but not in terms of site-specificity like in earthworks, rather in terms of the relationship between art and the institutions (museums/galleries) that collect and exhibit it. Some artists became interested in this phenomenon and its various socio-political implications, such as Daniel Buren who used modernist visual form (a black and white striped curtain) to bisect the museum’s interior space, much to the dismay of other exhibiting artists. The installation was subsequently removed.
  • Haacke’s work has a number of implications for the art world. It seems to want to collapse distinctions between class, to bring an audience, or that audience’s proxy, into a space where that audience (the poor) haven’t historically been represented, and to use an aesthetic strategy which traditionally hasn’t found favor with museum supporters (photoconceptualism).
  • Your book states that Haacke’s work lacks “any accusation or polemical tone”. Is this true? The director didn’t think so. His reasoning for asking for their removal was that he believed they violated the “supreme neutrality of the work of art and therefore no longer merits protection of the museum” (Messer). This brings up a number of questions: What is meant by “neutrality”? Is art neutral? Should it be? Should museums only support work which takes a “neutral” or apolitical stance? What Haacke seems to want to expose is the hidden ideologies and practices behind the aestheticization of art and its seemingly “neutral” function. He has long believed that the wealthy use these spaces to control public perception.
  • Lombardi’s self-named “narrative structures” are somewhat indebted to Haacke. However, he culled his info from newspaper articles. Before his death in 2000, his diagrams resulted from his interest in various S&L and energy scandals, the Iran-Contra affair, and even financial connections between George W. Bush and the bin Laden family.
  • Week 13 Lecture, 20th Century

    1. 1. History of 20 th Century Art 1971 - 79
    2. 2. From Self-Critique to Institutional Critique Frank Stella, More or Less , 1964 Daniel Buren, Peinture-Sculpture , 1971 Guggenheim Museum, NYC
    3. 3. Haacke, Shapolsky et al Manhattan Real Estate Holdings, a Real-Time Social System, as of May 1, 1971 Institutional Critique (1971)
    4. 4. Institutional Critique (1971) <ul><li>Series of works meant for inclusion in Haacke’s retrospective at Guggenheim Museum, NYC </li></ul><ul><li>146 views of buildings in Harlem & Lower East Side supported by text describing financial transactions </li></ul><ul><li>Investigates real estate holdings of major figures (e.g. Harry Shapolsky) </li></ul><ul><li>Information freely obtained from public library, though Haacke made these relationships more transparent (uncovered financiers behind names of holding companies) </li></ul><ul><li>Exhibition cancelled when curator & artist refused to remove it from show (at request of director, Thomas Messer) </li></ul><ul><li>Curator (Fry) never worked again in US and Haacke didn’t have exhibit in US until 1983 </li></ul><ul><li>Utilizes photo-conceptual (image/text) strategy to reveal “social system” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Juxtaposes social spaces as defined by architectural structures” (slum vs museum) – Rosalyn Deutsche </li></ul>Haacke, Shapolsky et al Manhattan Real Estate Holdings, a Real-Time Social System, as of May 1, 1971
    5. 5. “ The Supreme Neutrality of Art”? Picasso, Glass and Bottle of Suze 1912 George Grosz, The Pillars of Society 1926 Mark Rothko, Untitled (Violet, Black, Orange Yellow on White and Red) , 1949
    6. 6. Contemporary Institutional Critique Mark Lombardi from Global Networks (a “narrative structure”) ca. 2000
    7. 7. Performance/Body Art – “Flesh as Material” Pollock Gutai Happenings Minimalism Performance/ Body Art Kaprow Oldenburg Hans Namuth, Photograph of Jackson Pollock painting, 1950 Fluxus <ul><li>Minimalist “objecthood” and presence (“being in </li></ul><ul><li>the world”) fully realized in the use of the body as </li></ul><ul><li>a tool in performance/body art </li></ul>
    8. 8. Ecstasy, Suffering & Transformation in Art History Bernini, Ecstasy of St. Teresa, c.1650 Zurbaran, The Crucifixion , 1627
    9. 9. Performance/Body Art – “Flesh as Material” Vito Acconci Trademarks 1970
    10. 10. <ul><li>Applied Jasper Johns’ interest in conventional signs & icons to language (poetry) </li></ul><ul><li>Interested in experimenting with and relinquishing authorial intent ( Following Piece , 1969) </li></ul><ul><li>Here one of his “performance tests” </li></ul><ul><li>Aggressively bit his body in several places, then inked them with printer’s ink and printed the marks </li></ul><ul><li>Bringing a private, physical (masochistic?) experience into the public realm (through print distribution) </li></ul><ul><li>Body treated as Minimalist object complicated by desire to connect self with the other </li></ul><ul><li>Seedbed (1972) & Open Book (1974) </li></ul>Performance/Body Art – “Flesh as Material” Vito Acconci, Trademarks , 1970 “… maybe it’s very, very lonely, and there’s nothing else to do… An oral fixation seems to be operating in that piece. It’s not that you want to touch a part of your body, you want to ingest it.” – Acconci on Trademark , from The Believer magazine, 2006/07 http:// www.ubu.com/film/acconci_book.html
    11. 11. Recurrent Themes in Body Art <ul><li>Narcissism and aggression </li></ul><ul><li>against the self (sadism and masochism) </li></ul><ul><li>Bodily endurance </li></ul><ul><li>Transgression (violation of social norms, taboos) </li></ul><ul><li>Ascetism—self-denial and active self-restraint </li></ul><ul><li>Transformation (physical spiritual?) </li></ul><ul><li>Voyeurism and exhibitionism (the artist/spectator relationship) </li></ul><ul><li>Art as ritual theater </li></ul>Detail from Burden’s Trans-fixed
    12. 12. <ul><li>Burden became famous in 1971 for his MFA thesis show (Univ. California at Irvine) in which he crawled inside a school locker for five days, a five-gallon jug a water above him, an empty one below </li></ul><ul><li>Performed Shoot later that year (friend grazed his bicep with bullet) </li></ul><ul><li>Here crucified on the hood of a Volkswagon beetle, the garage door opened, then rolled out with the engine running for two minutes (to signify screams), and pushed back in and door closed </li></ul><ul><li>Trans-fixed a Duchampian play on words (car’s trans mission, in a state of being transfixed, etc) </li></ul><ul><li>Minimalist interest in body as object </li></ul>Performance/Body Art – “Flesh as Material” Burden, Trans-fixed , 1974 http:// www.ubu.com/film/burden_selected.html
    13. 13. Popular Body/Performance Art David Blaine hanging upside down for 60 hrs NYC, 2008
    14. 14. Feminist Art – “Flesh as Material” <ul><li>Emerging 70s Feminist art focused on the female body as the locus of gender identity </li></ul><ul><li>Schneeman first American artist to extend performative artmaking into realm of body art in early 1960s </li></ul><ul><li>Showed kinetic potential of the body as brush (using paint, grease, plastic, garden snakes) </li></ul><ul><li>Work became identified with 60s sexual liberation movement and considered proto-feminist </li></ul>&quot;I wanted my actual body to be combined with the work as an integral material-- a further dimension of the construction... I am both image maker and image. The body may remain erotic, sexual, desired, desiring, but it is as well votive: marked, written over in a text of stroke and gesture discovered by my creative female will.&quot; -Schneeman on Eye Body http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xdb8ti_maude-lebowski-painting-scene_shortfilms Schneeman, Up to and Including Her Limits 1976 Carolee Schneeman, Eye Body… 1963 Parodied in The Big Lebowski
    15. 15. <ul><li>Bourgeois also interested in the reproductive body, but more focused on the male body (the phallus) </li></ul><ul><li>Represented violent castration fantasies & dismemberment </li></ul><ul><li>Refers to childhood experiences as formative (dislike for philandering father) </li></ul><ul><li>Identified with Post-Minimalism due to materials used (latex, fabric, etc), anthropomorphic forms, and feminist perspective ( Eccentric Abstraction exhibition, 1966) </li></ul><ul><li>Reworked the male gaze of Surrealism by treating the male body as sexual fetish (the part-object) </li></ul>Feminist Art Bourgeois, La Fillette , 1968 Robert Mapplethorpe Louise Bourgeois , 1982
    16. 16. Feminist Art Louise Bourgeois, The Destruction of the Father , 1974
    17. 17. <ul><li>Her childhood his more explicitly dealt with here in this “lair” a “place to take refuge” </li></ul><ul><li>A scene of carnage, part-objects (breasts, teeth, phalluses) abound </li></ul><ul><li>A “phantasm of childhood imagination” (Melanie Klein) </li></ul>Feminist Art Louise Bourgeois, The Destruction of the Father , 1974 http://video.pbs.org/video/1237561998/ “ It is basically a table, the awful terrifying family dinner headed by the father who sits and gloats. And the others, the wide, the children, what can they do? They sit there, in silence. The mother of course tries to satisfy the tyrant, her husband….My father would get nervous looking at us, and he would explain what a great man he was. So, in exasperation, we grabbed the man, threw him on the table, dismembered him, and proceeded to devour him.” – Louis Bourgeois
    18. 18. <ul><li>Encouraged by 60s civil rights movements </li></ul><ul><li>The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan, 1963; Roe v. Wade , 1973 </li></ul><ul><li>Significant female art historians Griselda Pollock & Linda Nochlin </li></ul><ul><li>Nochlin’s Why Have their Been No Great Women Artists? (1971) provided systematic account of exclusion of women from art </li></ul><ul><li>Female artist collectives like AIR (Artist-in-Residence) in New York, Womanhouse in LA, and Soho 20 in NY, a gallery dedicated to work by women, all instrumental </li></ul><ul><li>To politicize perceived “neutral” art forms (e.g. the female nude, abstract painting) to reveal male bias of modernist canon </li></ul><ul><li>Inclusive of marginalized art forms (quilting, embroidery) </li></ul>Feminist Art – “The Personal is Political” Alice Neel, Linda Nochlin and Daisy , 1973 Sylvia Sleigh Soho 20 Gallery 1974
    19. 19. Feminist Art – “The Personal is Political” Judy Chicago Dinner Party 1972-79
    20. 20. <ul><li>A collaborative, critical revision of male-dominated art history </li></ul><ul><li>Dinner party for significant female figures throughout history </li></ul><ul><li>First table: matriarchal prehistory through antiquity; second—beg of Christianity through Reformation; third—from seventeenth to 20th centuries </li></ul><ul><li>Ceramic place settings on embroidered placemats for each guest </li></ul><ul><li>Centerpiece resembles butterly, flower, or vulva </li></ul><ul><li>Triangular porcelain floor tiles include 999 names of other women as literal foundation </li></ul><ul><li>Brings perceived domestic crafts (embroidery, china painting) into the high art realm </li></ul><ul><li>Gender identity through sexual difference (second-wave feminism) </li></ul>Feminist Art – “The Personal is Political” Judy Chicago, Dinner Party , 1972-79 “ a tour of western civilization that bypasses what we have been taught to think of as the main road.” -Chicago
    21. 21. Feminist Art – The Gaze & Third-Wave Feminism <ul><li>In 1975, Laura Mulvey published “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema” </li></ul><ul><li>Articulated main concerns for the third-wave feminism: construction of femininity in pop culture & psychoanalysis </li></ul><ul><li>Visual pleasure in mass culture is designed to satisfy the heterosexual male “gaze” directed toward his desired object </li></ul><ul><li>“ Woman as image” and “man as bearer of the look” </li></ul><ul><li>Demands a destruction of masculinist pleasure for a “new language of desire” </li></ul>
    22. 22. <ul><li>An impartial, detailed document of the first several years of her son’s life, including feeding habits, language development, and school-age activities </li></ul><ul><li>Applies scientific rigor to portrait of son as “somewhere between psychoanalytic case-study and an ethnographic field report” </li></ul><ul><li>Attached to slate (here) to suggest archaeological finding or ancient document (Rosetta Stone?) </li></ul><ul><li>Also a study in loss as son becomes less a part of her and more a part of society </li></ul><ul><li>Situates this in psychoanalysis as if to suggest the “possibility of female fetishism” (fetishized residues (feedings, diapers, clothes) become “emblems of desire”) </li></ul>Feminist Art – “The Personal is Political” Mary Kelly, Post-Partum Document VI, Pre-Writing Alphabet Exergue and Diary , 1978
    23. 23. Postmodernism 101
    24. 24. Postmodernism 101 <ul><li>Series of photos made between 1977-80 in which Sherman used her own self in various guises to personify cinematic archetypes (b-movie, film noir characters, etc) </li></ul><ul><li>Examines the construction of femininity in popular culture (vs. viewing gender as essential) </li></ul><ul><li>Subject still object of the gaze, but now the subject (and artist) controls it </li></ul><ul><li>Appropriation </li></ul>Cindy Sherman, Untitled Film Still #7 & #15 1978 Cindy Sherman, Untitled #230 1990
    25. 25. Postmodernism 101 - Appropriation Levine, Untitled (After Edward Weston I) 1980 Edward Weston, Neil , 1925 Torso of a Youth, Hellenistic or Roman Copy, 2nd-1st century BCE
    26. 26. <ul><li>In 1977, Douglas Crimp invited by Helene Winer, director of Artists Space, to develop a show of young artists work—these included Sherman Levine, Longo, Kruger, Lawler, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Many of them were women-- photography still provided an avenue for female artists to explore apart from the male-dominated medium of painting </li></ul><ul><li>Interest in multimedia (film, photo, magazine imagery) </li></ul><ul><li>Image and archive as readymade </li></ul><ul><li>Instead of creating “original” objects, made “pictures” (title of exhibition and future gallery, Metro Pictures) </li></ul><ul><li>Appropriated mass produced imagery in an effort to question modernist notions of authenticity, authorship, and the original </li></ul><ul><li>Interest is in “structures of signification” not origin </li></ul>Postmodernism 101 Levine, Untitled (After Edward Weston I) 1980
    27. 27. <ul><li>Depends on modernism for its meaning, existence </li></ul><ul><li>Paradoxical—both a rejection of and re-visitation of modernism </li></ul><ul><li>Does not privilege any style or medium </li></ul><ul><li>Understands time and history as cyclical vs. linear </li></ul><ul><li>Challenge to authorship </li></ul><ul><li>Myth of the origin </li></ul><ul><li>Appropriation of everything – mass media, art history </li></ul><ul><li>The readymade </li></ul><ul><li>Photo as simulacrum—copy without an original </li></ul><ul><li>Serial object or image </li></ul><ul><li>Self-referential and self-critical –analyzes the conditions in which the material structure came to be and why. It critiques art making and its history. It critiques imagery itself. </li></ul>Postmodernism 101