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From Object to concept: environment, performance, and installation art

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Week 3 Postmodernism in Art: An Introduction:

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From Object to concept: environment, performance, and installation art

  1. 1. Postmodernism in Art: an introduction<br />From object to concept: <br />environment, performance and installation art<br />University of Edinburgh<br />Deborah Jackson<br />djackso1@staffmail.ed.ac.uk<br />
  2. 2. Define the attributes that you consider makes something:<br /><ul><li> a sculpture
  3. 3. a painting
  4. 4. architecture
  5. 5. landscape</li></li></ul><li>Recap<br /><ul><li> We explored how the emergence of Minimalism added extra strain to the meticulous formal rules laid out by Greenberg, threatening the ‘purity’ and coherence of modern art
  6. 6. We considered how aspects of Minimalism that caused a break with the Modern paradigm, by for example suggesting that the the spectator had a part to play, and also by hinting at the ambiguity of objects subject to interpretation
  7. 7. We examined the roots of Conceptual Art and in particular artworks that emphasized ideas over visual forms and we considered how these works fitted into or challenged definitions of art
  8. 8. We also explored different methods of using language in art
  9. 9. And how Conceptual Art challenged the traditional status of the art object as unique, collectable or saleable</li></li></ul><li>Aims of this lecture:<br /><ul><li> To introduce the notion of a dialogical practice. In other words, the artwork is part of the construction of a conversation between the audience and the artwork.
  10. 10. To introduce the de-automatised art work. By de-automatise I mean that the artists involved in these responses to Greenberg's notion of Modernism wanted to get rid of his notion of art's separation from life and its radical purity and essential elitism.
  11. 11. Discuss works that incorporate the notion of theatre, and the phenomenological experience of the artwork. This means how the artwork operates in the dimensions of time and space shared with our bodies. </li></li></ul><li>Post-Minimalism/Process Art <br />Body Art<br />Performance Art <br />Installation <br />Minimalism <br />Conceptual Art <br />Environmental Art (Earthworks, Land Art) <br />
  12. 12. Joseph Kosuth<br />“One and Five (Clock)”<br />Four gelatin silver prints, clock<br />1965<br />
  13. 13. In Body Art, the artist's own flesh (or the flesh of others) is the canvas. Body Art can range from covering volunteers with blue paint and then having them writhe on a canvas, to self-mutilation in front of an audience.<br />Yves Klein Untitled Anthropometry (1960)<br />
  14. 14. In the 1970s, as boundaries between artistic disciplines blurred and artists sought alternative modes of expression and presentation, performance emerged as one of the dominant art forms.<br />Bruce Nauman<br />Dance or Exercise on the Perimeter of a Square (Square Dance) (1968)<br />
  15. 15. Working in the context of first wave feminist protest and body politics, attempted the metaphoric transformation of the female body from passive object to speaking subject in this performance ‘Interior Scroll’ in which she extracted a text from her vagina which she read aloud.<br />CaroleeSchneeman. Interior Scroll (1975)<br />
  16. 16. Chris Burden's performances were the ultimate test of bodily pain and endurance. In his most notorious piece, Shoot (1971), Burden asked a friend to shoot him at close range with a .22 caliber rifle in a gallery space (he was hit in the arm). <br />In Seedbed (1972), Vito Acconci hid under a ramp for the duration of the exhibition and masturbated, "spreading his seeds" as he listened to viewers' footsteps. Speakers installed in the gallery transmitted his fantasies.<br />
  17. 17. IlyaKabakov<br />The Man Who Flew Into Space From His Apartment, 1968-1996.<br />Installation art is exemplary of 'post-medium specific art', in other words, art whose medium is so expanded that it no longer has much to do with traditional art historical genres such as sculpture and painting.<br />
  18. 18. Christo, The Running Fence, Marin County, California, 1976<br />Robert Smithson, The Spiral Jetty, 1970, black basalt, limestone and earth, 1,500' (aerial photograph)<br />
  19. 19. Michael Fried (1939-)<br />Michael Fried’s influential and controversial essay, Art and Objecthood<br /><ul><li>discusses minimalist art and its relation to modernist painting and sculpture
  20. 20. Fried's essay claims that Minimal Art defines its position as neither modernist painting nor modernist sculpture</li></ul>Fried suggested that Minimalism had betrayed Modernism's exploration of the medium by becoming emphatic about its own materiality as to deny the viewer a proper aesthetic experience. Minimalism (or "literalism" as Fried called it) offered an experience of "theatricality" rather than "presentness"; it left the viewer in their ordinary, non-transcendent world. <br />
  21. 21. Above Left: Installation at The Green Gallery, 1964, NYC<br />Above Right: Portland Mirrors, c.1970, Portland, Oregon<br />Below Left: detail of Corner Piece, 1964<br />Below Right: Cloud, and, Slab, c.1964<br />Robert Morris<br />
  22. 22. Robert Morris<br />
  23. 23. Richard Long (1967) A Line Made by Walking England.<br />
  24. 24. Dennis OppenheimDirected Harvest circa 1966-8<br />
  25. 25. Walter De Maria Lightning Field (1971) Western New Mexico<br />
  26. 26. Robert Smithson<br />“One thing films have is the power to take perception elsewhere” (Smithson [1971] 1979, p.105)<br />Spiral Jetty (1970)<br />Actual work made in the Great Salt Lake in Utah.<br />
  27. 27.   <br />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, <br />
  28. 28. The artist no longer supplies the<br />‘raw material’ for someone else<br />(e.g. curator, historian, critic, etc.) <br />to organise into systems of <br />meaning, but takes on this <br />organising role for him/herself.<br />
  29. 29. Institutional Critique <br />The act of critiquing an institution as artistic practice, the institution usually being a museum or an art gallery. Institutional criticism began in the late 1960s when artists began to create art in response to the institutions that bought and exhibited their work. In the 1960s the art institution was often perceived as a place of cultural confinement and thus something to attack aesthetically, politically and theoretically.<br />
  30. 30. “Art degenerates as it approaches the condition of theatre”<br />Michael Fried, Art and Objecthood<br /><ul><li> Location of meaning out of the artwork
  31. 31. Self-sufficient
  32. 32. Location of meaning in the surrounding environment
  33. 33. Existing for an audience</li></li></ul><li>Donald Judd: Untitled, 1982-1986, <br />100 works in mill aluminum<br />Chinati Foundation, Marfa, Texas<br />Any meaning this kind of work had was dependent upon the experience of the person viewing it, an aspect of the flux of everyday life.<br />
  34. 34. “The most notable development in public sculpture of the last thirty years has been the disappearance of sculpture itself…In a bid to escape the constraints of the pedestal, the gallery, and finally of art itself.”<br />NORTH, MICHAEL. The Public as Sculpture: from Heavenly City to Mass Ornament, in MICHELL, W.J.T. Art and the Public Sphere<br />
  35. 35. The cultural studies theory known as Structuralism uses a term of art called "binary opposition" to explain human knowledge and to explain how many naturally occurring phenomena are constructed.  Systems are "binary" when they are composed of only two parts.<br />Many systems of meaning are based on binary structures (masculine/ feminine; black/white; natural/artificial), two contrary conceptual categories that also entail or presuppose each other. One aspect of semiotic interpretation involves exposing the culturally arbitrary nature of this binary opposition and describing the deeper consequences of this structure throughout a culture.<br />
  36. 36. Rosalind Krauss’<br />Expanded Field of Sculpture<br />First published in 1978<br />The term ‘expanded field’ was born from the critical debates surrounding sculpture and painting in the 1960’s<br />
  37. 37. Schematic Definition of Modernist Sculpture:<br />Krauss proposed a dialogic interplay among categories <br />not-landscape<br />not-architecture<br />SCULPTURE<br />
  38. 38. Schematic Definition of Modernist Sculpture:<br />Sculpture can be in architecture <br />or on it, but it is not architecture itself.<br />Sculpture can be in the landscape <br />or on it, but it is not a landscape itself.<br />not-landscape<br />not-architecture<br />SCULPTURE<br />
  39. 39. Expanding the Definition of Sculptural Works:<br />landscape<br />architecture<br />complex<br />not-landscape<br />not-architecture<br />nueter<br />SCULPTURE<br />
  40. 40. Expanding the Definition of Sculptural Works:<br />Krauss argued that for example Land Art might best be defined in terms of a double negative; it was neither architecture nor landscape.<br />Krauss also suggested that other works could better be placed in one of three other related categories: landscape and architecture, architecture and not architecture, and landscape and not landscape.<br />landscape<br />architecture<br />complex<br />not-landscape<br />not-architecture<br />nueter<br />SCULPTURE<br />
  41. 41. Expanding the Field of 3D works<br />At first site these do seem contradictory but when held up against the work dubbed Land Art, Environmental Art and Installation it does start to make sense.<br />landscape<br />architecture<br />complex<br />not-landscape<br />not-architecture<br />nueter<br />SCULPTURE<br />
  42. 42. What new categories of 3D art are created in the expanded field?<br />?<br />landscape<br />architecture<br />complex<br />?<br />?<br />not-landscape<br />not-architecture<br />nueter<br />SCULPTURE<br />
  43. 43. The Expanded Field of Sculpture:<br />Site-Construction<br />landscape<br />architecture<br />complex<br />Axiomatic Structures<br />Marked Sites<br />not-landscape<br />not-architecture<br />nueter<br />Sculpture<br />
  44. 44. 1. Marked Sites<br />Michael Heizer(US, b. Berkeley 1944) Double Negative 1969-70, 24 thousand ton displacement, 2 trenches together are 1,500 feet long, 50 feet deep, and 30 feet wide Virgin River Mesa, Nevada. The work is known almost entirely through photographs.<br />Michael Heizer<br />Nine Nevada Depressions No.8, 1968, Nevada Desert<br />"Un-sculpture“: "There is nothing there, yet it is still a sculpture.“ - Heizer<br />Michael Heizer, “Double Negative,” 1969-70<br />Mormon Mesa, Nevada<br />
  45. 45. 2. Site-Construction<br />Above: Richard Serra, Shift, 1972<br />Left: Alice Aycock, Maze, 1972<br />Above: Richard Serra, Shift, 1972<br />King City, Canada<br />Left: Robert Smithson, Amarillo Ramp, 1973<br />Tecovas Lake, Amarillo, Texas<br />
  46. 46. 3. Axiomatic Structures<br />Bruce Nauman, Going Around The Corner Piece, 1970<br />X4 closed-circuit TV systems installed around a 4-walled construction<br />Bruce Nauman, Room with My Soul Left Out, Room That Does Not Care, 1984<br />Celotex, steel grate, yellow lights, 408 x 576 x 366<br />
  47. 47. ‘[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…<br />
  48. 48. Mary Miss, Greenwood Pond: Double Site, 1989-96, Des Moines Art Center.<br />Nancy Holt, Sun Tunnels, 1973-76<br />‘… 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...<br />
  49. 49. … The one already in use in other areas of criticism is postmodernism. There seems no reason not to use it.’<br />Rosalind Krauss, ‘Sculpture in the Expanded Field’ (1978)<br />
  50. 50. References<br /><ul><li> Fried, Michael. Art and Objecthood, Artforum 5 (June 1967): 12-23. Also in: Minimal Art: A Critical Anthology, eds. Battcock (New York, 1968), pp. 116-147.
  51. 51. Owens, C ([1979] 1994) Earthwords, in Owens, C Beyond Recognition: Representation, Power and Culture. London, University of California Press. Pp. 40-51
  52. 52. Smithson ([1971] 1979) A Cinematic Atopia, in Holt, N (ed.) The writings of Robert Smithson. New York, New York University Press.</li>

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