Author: Morgan, Sally J.
Source: Journal of Visual Art Practice, Volume 2, Number 3, 1 March 2003 , pp. 135-144(10)
Abstract:The term ‘contextual art practice’ has been used in recent years as an overarching term to cover categories such as ‘public art’, ‘environmental art’ and ‘community art’. This article contends that such categorizations may obscure rather than illuminate our understanding of these practices. It draws on historical narratives of British contextual art, particularly community and performance art, to illustrate that the inability of British art professionals, such as critics, funders and administrators, to comprehend the processual nature of what became known as postmodernism meant that they imposed an essentially modernist, discipline-based value system on its manifestations. The resultant search for modernist sets of reference, and the resistance this provoked in practitioners, resulted in fragmentation, as illusory specialisms were constantly defined only to be endlessly subverted by disgruntled artists. This confusion arose from a profound paradigm shift where high-modernism, wedded to the art-object as a manifestation of specialist discourse, was confronted by postmodernism, working with the concept of the art-object dematerialized into art-process.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand
Publication date: March 1, 2003
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