The Open Culture website is a fantastic free resource.
In 1979, French theorist Jean-François Lyotard declared the end of all “grand narratives”—every “theory or intellectual system,” as Blackwell’s dictionary defines the term, “which attempts to provide a comprehensive explanation of human experience and knowledge.” The announcement arrived with all the rhetorical bombast of Nietzsche’s “God is Dead,” sweeping not only theology into the dustbin but also overarching scientific theories, Freudian psychology, Marxism, and every other “totalizing” explanation. But as Lyotard himself explained in his book The Postmodern Condition, the loss of universal coherence—or the illusion of coherence—had taken decades, a “transition,” he wrote, “under way since at least the end of the 1950s.”
We might date the onset of Postmodernism and the end of “master narratives” even earlier—to the devastation at the end of World War II and the appearance of Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer’s Dialectic of Enlightenment and of Roland Barthes’ slim volume Mythologies, a collection of essays written between 1954 and 56 in which the French literary theorist and cultural critic put to work his understanding of Ferdinand de Saussure’s semiotics.
“At this moment, the heroic warfare once waged over the symbolic power of artistic practice appears to be ﬁnished. Like a scene out of a Russian novel the battleﬁeld is heaped with the remnants of an astonishing array of artistic models, many once aligned with the Left and other progressive forces. The defeated in fact ﬁll the museums
Art Workers Coalition join striking workers at the Museum of Modern Art, NYC, pictured hereon the cover of Artforum Magazine, 1973.
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2 GREGORY SHOLETTE of Twentieth Century art. Among the fallen are those who sought to represent working class life with compassion and candor as well as more cerebrally oriented practitioners who endeavored to reveal and subvert the ideological tropes of mass culture. ” to read the rest click here
We have been talking a lot about what it means to become an artist. New Zealand media theorist Zita Joyce has written an excellent article about the way artists are depicted in television, you can read the article here
Here is the inimitable Hennessy Youngman’s take on how to become an artist.
Hennessy Youngman is a character invented by Jason Musson. Here is his WIKI entry.
This article also gives a bit of history, and reflects on his practice as an exhibiting artist.
Who said artists cant write ? Below is a fantastic article written by artist and writer Hannah Black on the current state of the world. She is the protagonist of a protest letter against Dana Schultz’s painting Open Casket, currently being exhibited in the Whitney Biennale which many have accused as being highly problematic, or even down right racist.
Aruna D’Souza is a writer at Bennington College and an art critic for 4Columns.org. In addition, she consults with museums — including the Whitney Museum — on issues of diversity and inclusion. Here is her take, written for a general audience for CNN here.
Meanwhile Turkish Artist Zehra Doğan Sentenced to Prison for Painting of Kurdish Town Attack
The article can be found here
and the online magazine New Republic provides some additional context
and the article can be found here
and for those with time on their hands, something in all of this reminded me of the great theorist Paul Virillio’s utterly striking and confronting book, Art and Fear in which he brings to the table his notion of a “Pitiless Art” the text of which can be found here on archive.org.
George Baker on painting, critique, and empathy in the Emmett Till / Whitney Biennial debate
can be read here
Last week in coming to define the terms of what an Artist’s Physics might look like we mentioned various historical precedents, Pataphysics and Spirit Photography.