Monday, August 10, 2009

(post)vanguard & postmodern experimentation ...

“This narcissistic exacerbation of discontinuity generates a new type of ritual, which is in truth an extreme consequence of what the vanguards came to do …. Given that the maximum aesthetic value is constant renovation, to belong to the art world one cannot repeat what has already been done – the legitimate, the shared. It is necessary to initiate noncodified forms of representation (from impressionism to surrealism), invent unforeseen structures (from fantastic to geometric art), and relate images that in reality belong to diverse semantic chains and that no one had previously associated (from collages to performances). No worse accusation can be made against a modern artist than to show repetitions in his or her work.”

“Such transcultural experimentation engendered renovations in language, design, urban forms, and youth practices. But the main fate of the vanguards and of the disenchanted rituals of the postmodernists has been the ritualization of museums and of the market. Despite the desacralization of art and the artistic world, the experimentalists accentuate their insularity. The primacy of form over function, of the form of saying over what is said, require from the spectator a more and more cultivated disposition in order to understand the meaning. Artists who inscribe in the work itself the questioning about what the work should be … exclude the spectator who is not disposed to make of his or her participation in art an equally innovative experience.”

“It is necessary to rethink the efficacy of artistic innovations and irreverences, the limits of their sacrilegious rituals. Attempts to break the illusion in the superiority and the sublime in art (insolence, destruction of one’s own work, the artist’s shit inside the museum) are, in the final analysis, according to Bourdieu, sacralizing desacralizations ‘that scandalize no one but the believers.’ Nothing demonstrates better the tendency toward the self-absorbed functioning of the artistic field than the fate of these apparently radical attempts at subversion, which ‘the most heterodox guardians of artistic orthodoxy’ finally devour.”

(Néstor Garcia Canclini, Hybrid Cultures: Strategies for Entering and Leaving Modernity. p. 26-27)

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