Miller Chapter 4

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S.R. Last question: do you think that conceptual paradigms are still in function or, could a new conceptual approach be realized?

J.M. I think that the precedent of Conceptual art – and, for me, I like to use that term in a very specific way, restricting it to the first generation of conceptual artists... since that time I think that paradigm has undergone continuous transformations. Some of the early notions that were attached to it, like dematerialization or standing outside of the market, some of the idealist components that were problematic, have not necessarily been resolved but they have been stripped away; certainly in the 80s the idea of marketability with certain forms of post-conceptual art came back into the market with a vengeance; so I think it's a process of working through those things. I'm not someone who longs for the good old days. I think a lot of the transformation has been really positive, and for me, one text I refer to in that regard a lot – it has influenced my thinking about what's going on now in a kind of historical process – is Hal Foster's text »Who is Afraid of the Neo-Avant-Garde?« where he looks at the kind of absolute declarations that Peter Burger made... try to hypostasize... one short moment of Dada practice as an avant-garde absolute, and I think that Foster really productively looks at how subsequent artists in a less dramatic way have worked through the implications of those aspects of Dada-practice. I think the same holds true with Conceptual art.

S.R If you reflect upon everything you said, do you want to add something?

J.M. ... It's just that the irony of our conversation is, that the interview is another process of self-representation. Since I teach, I often speak about other artists' work before students; oftentimes for me the most difficult challenge is to speak about my own work, the newest work; after it's a few years old it becomes easier to... objectify it. Maybe it's a funny part of our conversation that I'm doing the very thing that the advertisers in the personals ads are doing in this case.

S.R. Thank you very much.


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