Date of Award
Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Visual Art
Contemporary art has been evicted from both Heaven and Earth—divorced from the promise of spiritual ascension (or existential truth) as well as the emancipatory impulses of modernity (Marxism, anarchism, etc.). The artist is constantly on the make, trying to become in actuality what they feel themselves to be in essence, trapped between a rigid social position and the fluidity and openness of the contemporary art object or gesture. Within that trap are unspoken truisms about what work can and cannot be: too didactic, too earnest, or too confrontational. Contemporary art suffers an unbearable lightness of being and an unbearable weight of becoming. The avant-garde art model has become institutionalized and “weak,” too often detached from the concerns and audiences that can revitalize that model. The first task is to re-orient avant-garde art production toward popular concerns, audiences and forms. This does not mean imitating the “strong” images of the dominant culture, but using the art space as a theatrical space, a social and spiritual platform, to valorize proletarian narratives: the narratives of those who hold the power to abolish capitalism and create a genuine democratic society. To that end I aim to introduce the reasons for, and criteria of, an “evicted art practice.” Emphasizing the shamanistic role of the artist, the character of art, and the temporal aspects of both.
Program Director's Department
Graduate School of Art
Turl, Adam Charles, "Toward an Evicted Avant" (2016). Graduate School of Art Theses. ETD 69. https://doi.org/10.7936/K7ZW1J54.
[i] See Ernst Fischer, The Necessity of Art (London and New York: Verso, 2010)
[ii] For a fuller discussion of the role of shamanism in early art see J.D. Lewis-Williams, “Rock Art: Myth and Ritual, Theories and Facts,” The South African Archeological Bulletin Volume 61 No. 183 (June 2006)
[iii] Boris Groys, The Weak Universalism, e-flux (April 2010): http://www.e-flux.com/journal/the-weak-universalism
[iv] Boris Groys, Ilya Kabakov, The Man Who Flew Into Space From His Apartment (London: Afterall, 2006)
[v] Stanley Mitchell, ed., Walter Benjamin, Understanding Brecht (London and New York: Verso, 2003)
[vi] Alan Antliff, Anarchy and Art: From the Paris Commune to the Fall of the Berlin Wall (Vancouver: Arsenal Pulp Press, 2007), 17-36. Courbet, a follower of Pierre Joseph Proudhon, played a major role in the Paris Commune of 1871, leading the destruction of the Vendome Column. Courbet was imprisoned and later renounced his actions during the Commune, therefore escaping execution.
[vii] Nochlin, 20
[viii] Nochlin, 24
[ix] See Walter Benjamin, “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction”: https://www.marxists.org/reference/subject/philosophy/works/ge/benjamin.htmPermanent URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.7936/K7ZW1J54