March 3, 2008
Sham or Success?
“The continued expansion of a globalized digital network is redefining the postconceptual period. It fosters an invasive, but loved stream of super-saturated stimulation that one must learn to live with. The sheer amount of options available to anyone, anytime, has stripped ideas and objects of any proprietary qualities they once may have had. This model suggests that the increased scale in which we interact with the world presents an ethical dilemma for artists. Applied to how one defines art, as either a 'sham or a success,' I suggest that the new form of digital existence has nullified this type of judgment all together . . .
The overstimulation and assault to the psyche of an individual manifests on many levels. By default a person absorbs so much more information than in previous epochs. To provoke shock, stun, confuse, bewilder, or to make one think in the 21st century is increasingly difficult. The atmosphere of our ever expanding and increasingly skeptical community is formed by a cumulative series of world events. With so much stuff happening around us, how is it even possible to determine something as good or bad? While the art world may exist detached from the before mentioned socio-political narrative, history says that the practice of art making will reinvent itself according to these trends . . .
Outside of academic exercise, the objective survey of postconceptualist art theory is a tortuous, contradictory, and little more than semantic dialog which returns overwhelmingly ambivalent results. The advancement of postconceptualist theory and beyond might mean abandoning notions of sham and success all together and reevaluating diluted ethical topics, in turn allowing the constant de /re-generative process that is the art historical continuum a period of passivity and non-critique.”
Excerpt from a project by Nicholas Donnelly (Corcoran '09) currently in development for Theory Now: Postconceptualism.
Image © Copyright 1990 by Bruce Nauman.