Harrison Chapter 5

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R: What do you consider as beside that it was a strong critique by modernism in the middle of the 20th century what do you consider as the strongest influence for conceptual artists that you know?

(...)

H: Its difficult to generalise to much I think. Again the sense of negative possibilities were very strong in a sense that you couldn't go on working in the same way. I think some of the strong influences of some people I knew where a kind of critique of class culture and the sense of modernism had become a kind of institutionalised class culture that left no room for certain ways of conducting oneself of having a career. So I think the idea that it was necessary to establish some other way of preceding was important and then if its necessary to establish a different way then you need different intellectual resources, you need different arguments and so I think some of the younger artist started looking for critical material were given a purchase on the situation they found themselves in... so far as Art and Language was concerned I think two main resources where on the one hand the Marxist intellectual tradition which reveals one of the critique of class culture and the tradition of analytical philosophy which avails one of the critique of the sort of a language structure thing of the art world .... There's no Art and Language slogan not Marx or Wittgenstein, but Marx and Wittgenstein and the idea bringing those two kinds of resources together seems the strongest intellectual influence on the people I knew and was closest to.

R: I mean, the artistic practice of conceptual artists is a very intellectual practice, can be seen as very intellectual...

H: Yes, it is intellectual but it is irresponsibly intellectual and opportunisticly intellectual. As to say it is not quite intellectual in the sense that following an academic curriculum is an intellectual activity. People were reading books they had no right to read they were not wouldn't being considered as properly trying to educate read and getting out of whatever they could use and putting different kinds of intellectual resources together so it was slightly reading this bricollage reading this collage and it was intellectual in a sense that some of the materials were quite intellectually demanding, but they weren't necessarily used in a standard intellectual fashion. They weren't use to make the right/proper kind of intellectual product. So that's something like the Art and Language index in 1972 was a kind of intellectual product, it was made out of a lot of strange texts, but the texts were insert there's a ...(??) had produced for themselves certainly out of some kinds of strange reading it wasn't a standard kind of intellectual kind of product, it wasn't a book it wasn't a university course it was artwork

R: How do you think that this specific practice to be a very intellectual artistic have a very intellectual practice. How did the circumstances change in the last 10-20 years? H: I think the idea of being some sort of a »reading artist» that's gone. No longer Its ....unfashionable to deploy the same kind of intellectual resources. That again I think I would see as connected to that break down between the notions of the high culture and the popular culture that certainly happens to ,.. in the 80s and 90s. But you don't expect rock musicians to be intellectuals and if the model for the artist to the model for the career of the artist is rather more like the rock musicians career than its like a Barnett Newman's career then you wouldn't expect them to read that much or at least you wouldn't expect them to talk that they read they probably keep...quite about it.


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