Allan Kaprow, Robert Smithson, and the Limits to Art by Philip Ursprung, Fiona Elliott

By Philip Ursprung, Fiona Elliott

This cutting edge research of 2 of crucial artists of the 20 th century hyperlinks the artwork practices of Allan Kaprow and Robert Smithson of their makes an attempt to check the boundaries of art--both what it truly is and the place it really is. Ursprung presents a worldly but obtainable research, putting the 2 artists firmly within the paintings international of the Sixties in addition to within the artwork old discourse of the subsequent a long time. even though their practices have been particularly diversified, they either prolonged the studio and gallery into desolate tract landscapes, deserted warehouses, commercial websites, teach stations, and different areas. Ursprung bolsters his argument with tremendous archival examine and sociological and monetary types of growth and bounds.

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Thus socialist realism candidly formulates the principle and strategy of its mimesis : although it advocates a strictly " objective, " " adequate" rendering of external reality, at the same time it stages or produces this reality. More precisely, it takes reality that has already been produced by Stalin and the party, thereby shifting the creative act onto reality itself, just as the avant-garde had demanded. This transfer is more "real­ istic, " however, in the sense that it reflects a political pragma­ tism that contrasts with the naive utopianism of the avant­ garde.

What guided Futurism from the days of its infancy was not the crea­ . tion of new paintings, verses, and prose, but the production ot a new human being through art, which is one of the tools of ! 3 As is evident from Stalin's " shifted" avant-garde metaphor "writers are the engineers of human souls, " Stalinist aesthetic theory and practice proceed from this same conception of edu­ cating and shaping the masses. Simplifying somewhat, we can group the basic differences between avant-garde and socialist realist aesthetics around the following problems: ( 1) the classical heritage; (2) the role of reflecting reality in the shaping of reality; and (3) the new indi­ vidual.

Despite all their daring experiments with newspaper and advertisement language (Maiakovskii) or the photographic image (Rodchenko), however, Lef's art was rendered secon­ dary by the fact that it was unconsciously dependent on the ideological processing of primary visual and verbal informa­ tion. " In other words, such works revealed the secondary nature of art-in­ cluding that of Lef-relative to ideology and its immediate manifestations in the form of party decrees, instructions, and theses. The blindness of the avant-garde in this respect isolated it and led to its dual defeat in the late 1 920s.

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