Author: Thomas Dreher  
Posted: 25.11.2002; 18:06:38
Topic: Question 2
Msg #: 617 (in response to 418)
Prev/Next: 616/618
Reads: 77954

To John and his answer 2/23:
1.) Your explanation of the formalist conception of the "beholder" as a "strawman" is adequate for the time of the index projects. "Art as a discourse for experts" includes all theories which try to construct art as a specific field either with its own conventions or its own media or its own kinds of observation.
Against this kind of art theory I try to set the conception of art projects as models (of ways) of world observation. At the beginning of the seventies we find a plurality of actual art theories based on information theory, structuralism, psychology of perception, psychology of dreams (the interpretation of dreams/Traumdeutung), (neo-)marxism, pragmatism, analytical philosophy and philosophy of ordinary language. The difference between esthetics based on analytical philosophy or philosophy of ordinary language (Wittgenstein I and II) and Art & Language was that the writings of the art group didn´t reduce their fields of investigation to redefinitions of the borders of art. The members of Art & Language criticized that kind of investigation. The articles of Charles Harrison and Terry Atkinson/Michael Baldwin in the catalogue of the exhibition "The New [British] Art" (Hayward Gallery, London 1972) problematized "mapping and filing" as a procedure which neglects such borders.
2.) I want to add Allan Kaprow´s first environments and happenings and the early event cards of Dick Higgins and George Brecht (Fluxus) to your examples (Yves Klein and Piero Manzoni). Articles like George Brecht´s "Chance Imagery" (1957), Allan Kaprow´s "The Legacy of Jackson Pollock" (1958), Henry Flynt´s "Concept Art" (1962) and Dick Higgins "Intermedia" (1966) are examples for early artistic transgressions of the dominant formalist conception of art, the modernism of Clement Greenberg. These transgressions mark the beginnings of reconceptions of lost potentialities of the avant-garde. These explicit artistic reconceptions began at the end of the fifties and the early sixties. The members of A & L included (inter-)textuality on the level of reflexivity into these reconceptions since the second half of the sixties. Thomas Dreher (


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