ASRL / PERPETUAL 2014
 
How To Take A Duchamp Road Trip
By Eli Epstein-Deutsch
posted: 07-17-11

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Step 1: Drive to the Philadelphia Art Museum, see the Large Glass and peek like a pervert through the wooden wall at "Entant Donnes." Chuckle at puns like "Fresh Widow."

Step 2: Drive around the rest of the country, looking at waterfalls, landscapes, women, bachelors, machines, and windows. Let the memory of the incredible vividness of Duchamp's world subsume all later perceptions, which appear as pale shadows by comparison. Pull up to the Hudson and breathe in Manhattan, which will only exist, finally, as the site of Duchamp's secret late-career atelier.

Step 3: Recall, wistfully, that Duchamp owns everything.

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Stephen Colbert Suggests Gitmo Might Be Conceptual Art
By Eli Epstein-Deutsch
posted: 07-16-11
From Central Park Gates
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July 14th, 2011: Stephen Colbert proves yet again the edginess of his political satire, making his audience audibly uncomfortable with this strangely avant-garde speculation:
 
"It now occurs to me, could all of Gitmo, in fact be one giant art installation? Take our enemies from the stone-age villages in Afghanistan, fly them half way across the world and drop them into an extra-governmental, intra-liminal space, neither America nor the battlefield, here-in using unchecked executive power in an act of self-critical metarecontextualization...plus, these [hooded detainees] look like they've been wrapped by Christo. Forget Marina Abramovic, forget Laurie Anderson: the greatest performance artists of our generation are [Bush and Obama]."
 
These somewhat high-flying theoretical acrobatics were, indeed, backed by Colbert's resume as a former conceptual art correspondent, for John Stewart's The Daily Show:
 
http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/mon-february-14-2005/the-gates

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Arthur C. Danto: on Hegel and Duchamp
By Maria Goldverg
posted: 07-15-11

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Arthur C. Danto's conceptions of "the end of art" and "posthistoricism" were quickly adopted as catch-phrases and widely misunderstood by the art world of the eighties and nineties.  He did not mean, however, that art could no longer be made, accomplished, nor that any criteria for its judgment was to be doomed--deemed historical.  Here, Danto illuminates his complex philosophy--of which art was always and ever the object:

"...and it is the historical mission of art to make philosophy possible, after which art will have no historical mission in the great cosmo-historical sweep.  Hegel's stupendous philosophical vision of history gets, or almost gets, an astounding confirmation in Duchamp's work, which raises the question of the philosophical nature of art from within art, implying that art already is philosophy in a vivid form, and has now discharged its spiritual mission by revealing the philosophical essence at its heart.  The task may now be handed over to philosophy proper, which is equipped to cope with its own nature directly and definitively.  So what art finally will have achieved as its fulfillment and fruition is the philosophy of art."

"But this is a cosmic way of achieving the second stage of the platonic program, which has always been to substitute philosophy for art.  And to dignify art, patronizingly, as philosophy in one of its self-alienated forms, thirsting for clarity as to its own nature as all of us thirst for clarity as to our own.  Perhaps there is something to this.  When art internalizes its own history, when it becomes self-conscious of its history as it has come to be in our time, so that its consciousness of its history forms part of its nature, it is perhaps unavoidable that it should turn into philosophy at last.  And when it does so, well, in an important sense, art comes to an end."

Arthur C. Danto, "The Philosophical Disenfrachisement of Art." In The Wake of Art: Criticism, Philosophy, and the Ends of Taste ed. Gregg Horowitz and Tom Huhn (Amsertdam: Gordon and Breach Publishing Group, 1998), 75-76.

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How a Situationist "Draws"
By Eli Epstein-Deutsch
posted: 07-14-11
A New Da Vinci
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British architecture student Ji Soo Han recently made a "Situationist Drawing Device (shown below)" What exactly does this mean?

Situationism, the brainchild of expressionist painter Asger Jorn and filmmaker Guy Debord (both accomplished theorists and provocateurs), was in many ways the last stage of an avant-garde progression that began with Dada. Feeling that Surrealist work had been coopted by the bourgeoisie and turned into a commodified style (while Dada was simply unable to gain political traction), the Situationists in the late 50's forswore making art as such (though Jorn continued in fact to paint wild, semi-figurative canvases). Instead they focused their sights on the urban landscape, plotting to evade its functionalist destiny through disruptive cartographic production and a variety of tactics designed to restore free play, fantasy and mythic discovery to the modern experience (while avoiding the unconscious determinism of which they accused the surrealists). Derive, or the art of intentional wandering through the city, was a major pillar of Situationist practice.

Soo Han's work in general employs novel technologies, digital and otherwise, to explore and transcribe the relationships between humans and their local environments; the Rube-Goldberg-like Situationist Drawing Device is supposed to both refashion the pedestrian's perceptual encounters and serve as a "choreographic" record of their movements. Strangely enough, the Situationists might have found the prosthesis redundant: for them (as for the writer Michel De Certeau) the traversing of the city was itself the "drawing," and the subjective transformation of the city engendered by selective path-taking was its own record, its own "inscription."

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Few Have Explored This Bewildering Territory
By Eli Epstein-Deutsch
posted: 07-13-11
The Lost Jockey, 1948, Private collection, Gouache on paper
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"The privileged realm located in the boundary-zone between the three fields of power, religion and semiotics...Few people have explored this bewildering territory (by definition a no-man’s land of imagination) with the same energy as René Magritte, the bourgeois surrealist dressed in business suit and bowler hat, the revolutionary explorer who wove together into one strand the activities of showing and saying, geometry and linguistics, painter and poet. In their capacity as full signs, all his works are carefully named, some extremely frightening, the best unbreakably self-referential. The content is everywhere visibly seen and silently heard, the titles by his own admission 'chosen in such a way as to prevent [the] pictures being put into some familiar context suggested by the automatic flow of thought in order to avoid uneasiness'." The titles are meant as an extra protection to counter any attempt to reduce poetry to a pointless game, [because] the use of speech for ordinary purposes of life imposes a limited meaning on words designating objects. It would seem that everyday language sets imaginary boundaries to the imagination. But it is possible to create new relationships between words and objects and to bring out certain features of language and of objects that are commonly overlooked in the everyday process of living. Magritte was painfully aware that our everyday life is a universe of readymade experiences." Gunnar Olsson, Abysmal: A Critique of Cartographical Reason, p. 142

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