Rosler Chapter 9

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S.R. Yes, that's right. I found it very interesting... the last part of the essay where you are asking questions and answering the questions with again questions. For example it starts with: »The question, then, is not, Is it art? but Whose art is it? And art for whom?« and so on.

M.R. That's really the same question, but I realize that to say »whose art is it?« is the like saying »who does it come from?« and I'm actually interested in that much less than in »art for whom«.

S.R. But what I want to point on is your last sentence »Let us try to figure out what art is beyond what the art worlds present regression suggests«. //what art is beyond what the art worlds present regression suggests of the art world // This for me still puts a point, it manifests a very specific position in the whole discourse, because it's a question, I think, most of the artists wouldn't even think of it.... because... most of the artists in my perspective just try to fit into different models and try to work with models that are there and they try to keep on in different... for example pop discourses or then we had five years ago we had minimalist influences everywhere, everybody was working with minimalist – I'm taking about Central Europe.... And in the last years, there were stronger and stronger conceptual surfaces coming out... because lots of works are looking like conceptual art but it's always worth to ask: what is the epistemological background?

M.R. That's my favorite thing Elizabeta ____ in talking about sponsored hobbies because that's what you are talking about. These things are whimsical activities that manage to find their place in whatever ... And that... Because they can't possibly be apprehended as aesthetic objects, they can only be considered as some form of conceptual art which is really ludicrous, it's actually very amusing to me; it's the devolution of conceptual art to anti-conceptual art; the last thing these are, are concepts. I taught in Scandinavia last year, and it's really interesting how much of this is based there, and it has to do with de-historicization, in a kind of trying to invent... I make an analogy: it's like the young British artists which are also conceptual art, most of them, without concepts, an effort to produce a new line that is free of any historical dross and certainly free of anxiety – or if it evokes anxiety it does so in a very restricted form, it's not existential angst. Because these are countries that need to refigure their role in the world economy, and their artists need to consciously or unconsciously channel the idea of a »new beginning«. You wind up with this surface that appears to be a kind of »a new idea«, but they are just a look. (laughs) ... Sorry for laughing about this... but it took me a long time to figure this out ... I was up there, scratching my head and thinking: it looks like, but it's not.

S.R. I think it's getting worse when you ask them if they know the related practice from '71 or something and they don't know... they just really think that they invented something and then they are really confused (laughs) when you tell them, that for example Robert Barry or who else did something exactly like that.

Martha Rosler »