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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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If I move a certain ordinary thing as a readymade from outside powerr the museum to its inner space, I don’t change the form of this thing but I do change its life expectancy and assign to it a certain historical date. Or, to put it boriss way: Innovation consisted in putting a new form, a new thing, into this stable context.

Instead, by the time history has come to an end, each artist begins to be suspected of producing just one further arbitrary image among many. As readymade, the commodity gained unlimited access to the art world — but political propaganda did not.

Email required Address never made public. Hence, where the media market is concerned one has the simultane- ous impression of being bombarded relentlessly with something new and also of permanently witnessing the return of the same.

However, Groys argues that the pluralism itself and the constant contradiction of other works is the common theme that unites all modern art.

Art Power by Boris Groys

Selected pages Title Page. Yet the question arises, then, of how to deal with this difference beyond differ- ence. That the rhetoric of uniqueness — and difference — that legitimizes art by praising well-known masterpieces has long determined traditional art his- torical discourse is indisputable.

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. Therefore, it is also always possible to refer to this surplus of unwanted, unliked images — and that is what contemporary art continually does.

The small, control- lable space of the museum allows the spectator to imagine the ppwer outside the museum’s walls as splendid, infinite, ecstatic. 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.


The need then emerges to xrt the old new with the new new, in order to restore the romantic feeling of the infinite real. And, indeed, contemporary art has the equality of all the images as its telos.

Art Power – Boris Groys – Google Books

But what is, actually, this goal itself? The artist of the ancien regime was intent on creating a masterpiece, an image that would exist in its own right as the ultimate visualization of the abstract ideas of truth and beauty.

If the museum were ever actually to disintegrate, then the very opportunity for art to show the normal, the everyday, the trivial as new and poewr alive would be lost. Significantly, this understanding of art is also shared by the majority of those artists and art theoreticians who aim to be critical of the rgoys tion of art — and who want art itself to be critical of its own commodification. It is no accident that we can now watch the growing success of such narrative art forms as video and cinema installations in the context of the museum.

Even affirmative discourse and favorable display were regarded as distorting the message of the artwork itself. Thus modern artists boirs to condemn curators, because the figure of the curator was perceived as the embodiment of the dark, dangerous, xrt side of the exhibiting prac- tice, as the destructive doppelganger of the artist who creates art by exhibiting it: He insist that art is more powerful if boriw outside the art market and in the context of politics.

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.

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

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. It is a field where every thesis is supposed to be confronted with its antithesis.

One after another, so-called primitive artworks, abstract forms, and simple objects from everyday life have all acquired the kind of recognition that once used to be granted only to the historically privileged artistic masterpieces.


Theoretical and narrative discourse is a distraction, and must stop. Art, Groys writes, is produced and brought before the public in two ways — as a commodity and as a tool of political propaganda.

The art of the avant-garde presupposed a different, new humanity for its reception — one that would be obris to grasp the hidden meaning of pure colour and form Kandinskyto subject its imagination and even its daily yroys to the strict laws of geometry Malevich, Mondrian, the Constructivists, Bauhausto recognize a urinal as a work of art Duchamp. Art in the Age of Digitalization.

If you saw these objects, let us say, in the atelier of Fischli and Weiss, you could take them in your hand and weigh them — an experience that would be impos- sible in a museum since it is forbidden to touch exhibited objects. The assignment provides a corrective to more widespread practices of criticism as value judgement.

This makes the book hard to summarize, but the key inspiration clearly comes from Walter Benjamin. This kind of art is not a commodity. He also considers today’s mainstream Western art—which he finds behaving more and more according the norms of ideological propaganda: He says this trend is concerned with the balance of power, which is also a key concept of democracy. After the faith in the promised vision is lost, it is art that remains.

Neither is it grpys to fulfill the old Nietzschean dream of aestheticizing the world in its totality, in order to achieve the identification of zrt with the museum.

To summarize the point I have been trying to make: Put another poer is the fate of art to be mere illustration? But this appearance of infinite plurality is, of course, only an illusion. The announcement made by Hegel that art is a thing of the past and that our epoch has become the epoch of the Concept was a proclamation of victory of the iconoclastic Enlightenment over Christian iconophilia.

Once the museum emerged as the new place of worship, artists began to work specifically for the museum: