Art, argues the distinguished theoretician Boris Groys, is hardly a powerless commodity subject to the art market’s fiats of inclusion and exclusion. In Art Power . Art power / Boris Groys. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references. ISBN (hardcover: alk. paper) 1. Art — Political aspects. 2. Art and state. Art power / Boris Groys. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references. ISBN (hardcover: alk. paper). 1. Art—Political aspects. 2. Art and state. 3.

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Current examples include the Islamist videos or posters that are functioning in the context of the international antiglobalist movement. Thus Crimp, like many other authors of his generation, regards any critique of the Romantic conception of art as a critique of art as institu- tion, including the institution of the museum which is purported to legitimize itself primarily on the basis of this exaggerated and, at the same time, out- moded conception of art.

Socialist Realist Art Beyond Diversity: But most important is the conviction — underlying this statement of his — that a new, original, innovative art would be unacceptable for museum collections governed by the conventions of the past. Cultures without museums are the “cold cultures,” as Levi-Strauss defined them, and these cultures try to keep their cultural iden- tity intact by ggoys reproducing the past.

Therefore, it seems to me that the positive excitement about the end of the new in art is linked in the first place to this promise of bringing art into life — beyond all historical constructions and considerations, beyond ;ower opposition of old horis new.

Europe and Its Others. The modern museum proclaims its new gospel not for the exclusive work of genius marked by aura, but rather for the insignificant, trivial, and everyday, which would otherwise soon drown in the reality outside the museum’s walls.

Of course, Hegel was right at the time to make this diagnosis, but he overlooked the possibility of conceptual art. At that time the new Soviet government feared that the old Russian museums and art collections would be destroyed by civil war and the general collapse of state institutions and the economy, and the Com- munist Party responded by trying to save these collections. So, Fischli and Weiss may now exhibit readymades that look completely familiar to the contemporary viewer.

Any non-paradoxical or only partially paradoxical reaction should be regarded in this case as reductive and, in fact, false. With moving pictures this is no longer the case — they escape the viewer’s control. Why does art want to be alive rather than dead? Its most interesting character- istic is a certain feeling of happiness, of positive excitement about this alleged end of the new — a certain inner satisfaction that this discourse obviously produces in the contemporary cultural milieu.

We call a car a new car if this car is different from other cars, and at the same time if it is the latest, most recent model produced by the car industry.


Art was originally “just” art. These calls for the abolition of the museum appear to follow earlier avant-garde strategies and as a result are wholeheartedly embraced by the contemporary art ary. The new is here not something merely different but, rather, a reaf- firmation of the fundamental aesthetic equality of all the images in a histori- cally given context.

But this appearance of infinite plurality is, of course, only an illusion.

“Art Power – Introduction” by Boris Groys – A summary

Moreover, one can interpret the ready- made technique of Duchamp in Hegelian terms as an act of the self- reflection of the universal museum which puts an end to its further historical development.

In this sense even the most radically one-sided artworks can be regarded as good if they help to redress the distorted balance of power in the field of art as a whole. The good artwork is precisely that att which affirms the formal equality of all images under the conditions of their factual inequality. So the strategy of contemporary art consists in creating a specific context ar can make a certain form or thing look other, new and interest- ing — even if this form has already been collected.

Of course, that art has such an autonomy does not mean that the existing art institutions, art system, art world, or art market can be seen as autonomous in any significant sense of the word.

Rather, they try time and again to both create and dem- onstrate a balance of power between contradictory art trends, aesthetic atti- tudes, and strategies of representation — to give an idealized, curated image of this balance. This equalizing of art practices has become progressively more pronounced in the course of the twentieth century, as the images of mass culture, entertainment, and kitsch have been accorded equal status within the traditional high art context.

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In Art PowerGroys examines this fundamental appropriation that produces the paradoxical object of the modern artwork.

Now, ideologically motivated art is not simply a thing of the past or of marginal ideological and political movements. One might say that today’s art operates in the gap between the formal equality of all art forms and their factual inequality.

They are not only presenting them- selves but also act as pointers to the inexhaustible mass of images, of which they are delegates of equal standing. It is a field where every thesis is supposed to be confronted with its antithesis.

The copying or repetition of well- known artworks brings the whole order of historical memory into disarray. It is, of course, a completely legitimate desire. The desire to get rid of any image can be realized only through a new image — the image of a critique of the image.

A critique of the existing art market rules and art institutions is, of course, legitimate and necessary, but this critique makes sense only if its goal is to draw our attention to interesting or relevant art that is overlooked by these institutions.

You are commenting using your WordPress. As long as the media is the only point of reference the observer simply lacks any comparative context which would Equal Aesthetic Rights afford him or her the means of effectively distinguishing between old and new, between what is the same and what is different.


But I’m more than willing to admit that this is not my territory. The official as well as unofficial art of the Soviet Union and of other former Socialist states remains almost completely out of focus for the contemporary art history and museum system.

Video installations aft the “great night” into the museum — it may be their most important function. These examples could mislead us to conclude that contemporary art always acts ex negativo, that its reflex in any situation is to adopt a critical position merely for the sake of being critical. Selected pages Title Page. Art has its own power in the world, and is as much a force in the power play of global politics today as it once was in the arena of cold war politics.

However, Groys argues that the pluralism itself and the constant contradiction of other works is the common theme that unites all modern art. The curator can’t but place, contextualize, and narrativize works of art — which necessarily leads to their relativization. Art, argues the distinguished theoretician Boris Contemporary art, Groys argues, demonstrates its power by appropriating the iconoclastic gestures directed against itself—by positioning itself simultaneously as an image and as a critique of the image.

The modern artwork is collected before it is even produced. But in this case, art fulfills only a secondary role of serving the law: Thus the deeper difficulty in dealing with modern art consists in our unwillingness to accept paradoxical, self-contradictory interpretations as adequate and true. Their difference from standard ready- mades, as I said, cannot be seen, because the inner materiality of the works cannot be seen. He believed that the true balance of power, having Introduction zero as its sum, could only be thought, not seen.

The museum produces its own obscurities, invis- ibilities, differences; it produces its own concealed outside on the inside. Malevich also wrote in an earlier text about his famous Black Square — which became one of the most recognized symbols of the new in the art of that time — that there is no chance that “the sweet smile of Psyche emerges on my black square” and that it — the Black Square — “can never be used as a bed mattress for love-making.

It did not address the public as it was but instead spoke to a new humanity as it should — or at least could — be. Accordingly, we can say that Duchamp’s Fountain is a kind of Christ among things, and the art of the 28 29 On the New readymade a kind of Christianity of the art world.