Art Power (MIT Press)
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Art has its own power in the world, and is as much a force in the power play of global politics today as it once was in the arena of cold war politics. Art, argues the distinguished theoretician Boris Groys, is hardly a powerless commodity subject to the art market's fiats of inclusion and exclusion. In Art Power, Groys examines modern and contemporary art according to its ideological function. Art, Groys writes, is produced and brought before the public in two ways -- as a commodity and as a tool of political propaganda. In the contemporary art scene, very little attention is paid to the latter function. Arguing for the inclusion of politically motivated art in contemporary art discourse, Groys considers art produced under totalitarianism, Socialism, and post-Communism. He also considers today's mainstream Western art -- which he finds behaving more and more according the norms of ideological propaganda: produced and exhibited for the masses at international exhibitions, biennials, and festivals. Contemporary art, Groys argues, demonstrates its power by appropriating the iconoclastic gestures directed against itself -- by positioning itself simultaneously as an image and as a critique of the image. In Art Power, Groys examines this fundamental appropriation that produces the paradoxical object of the modern artwork.
development of technology went in the opposite direction-in the direction of the diversification of the conditions under which a copy is produced and distributed and, accordingly, the diversification of the resulting visual images. The central characteristic of the Internet consists precisely in the fact that on the Net, all symbols, words, and images are assigned an address: They are placed somewhere, territorialized, inscribed into a certain topology. This means that even beyond the permanent
this quiet, of all things, to sing the praises of war heroes and their heroic deeds. The representation of the glory and suffering of war was for a long time a preferred topic for art. But the artist of the classic age was only a narrator or an illustrator of war events-in the past the artist never competed with the warrior. The division of labor between war and art was quite clear. The warrior did the actual fighting, and the artist represented this fight by narrating it or depicting it. Thus
history-in the sense of the political history of struggles for recognition. Since then, this discourse about the end of history has made its mark particularly on the art scene. People are constantly referring to the end of art history, by which they mean that these days all forms and things are "in principle" already considered works of art. Under this premise, the struggle for recognition and equality in art has reached its logical end-and therefore become outdated and superfluous. For if, as it
infinity needs to be scrutinized and wielded strategically if its use in any specific representational context is to be effective. Some images that artists insert into the context of the international art scene signal their particular ethnic or cultural origin. These images resist the normative aesthetic control exerted by the current mass media, which shuns all regionality. At the same time, other artists transplant mass-media-produced images into the context of their own regional cultures as a
territorialized in foreign lands. Hence these authors have shown that the truly unique feature of European cultures consists in permanently making oneself alien, in negating, abandoning, and denying oneself-and doing so in a way more radical than that of any culture we know has ever been able to do. Indeed, the history of Europe is nothing other than the history of cultural ruptures, a repeated rejection of one's own traditions. This certainly does not mean that the discourse on human rights and