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 . Art power / Boris Groys. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references. ISBN (hardcover: alk. paper) 1. Art — Political aspects. 2. Art and state. Art power / Boris Groys. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references. ISBN (hardcover: alk. paper). 1. Art—Political aspects. 2. Art and state. 3.

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The relationship of the museum to what is outside is not primarily temporal, but spatial.

“Art Power – Introduction” by Boris Groys – A summary

The aim of this pharmacy will be the same, even if people will examine the powder from Rubens and all his art— a mass of ideas will arise in people, and will be often more alive than actual representation and take up less room. The viewer is often advised to completely abstract himself from the work’s spatial surround- ings, and to immerse herself fully in self- and world-denying contemplation.

He believes that any propaganda artwork is simultaneously an affirmation and a critique of an ideological system because it turns the vision of the future into something tangible and secular. And the logic of the relationship between art and the universal museum follows the logic of the Hegelian Absolute Spirit: This makes under- standable why the notion of the new was somehow suppressed in art theoreti- cal discourse of later decades, even if the notion kept its relevance for artistic practice.

The museum — an art space or the whole art system — also functions as a place where difference beyond difference, between artwork and mere thing, can be produced or staged. The modern museum is capable of introducing a new difference between collected and noncollected things.

That is, media-driven politics operates on the terrain of art. Does the Hegelian system and its matrix of nodes, mediated by the protocols of phenomenonology and sealed with a kiss from the phemenonologist himself, still provide the best means for assessing the powers of the contemporary? Hegel, who was the first to celebrate the force of the balance of power embodied by the modern state, believed that in modernity art had become a thing of the past. As for the reception of this art, however, the museum is superflu- ous, if not detrimental: Art, Groys writes, is produced and brought before the public in two ways — as a commodity and as a tool of political propaganda.

Modern artists working after the emergence of the modern museum know in spite of all their protests and resentments that they are working primarily for the museums’ collections — at least if they are working in the context of so-called high art. Art objects are destroyed regularly by wars, catastrophes, acci- dents, time.

These are essays I will probably reread because, despite their brevity, they contain so much worth thinking through. In burning a corpse we obtain one gram of powder: A particularly interesting idea is that art can serve as an affirmation and a criticism of a political system simultaneously.


As a spectator in the museum, one always has to submit to restrictions which function fundamen- tally to keep the material substance of the artworks inaccessible and intact so On the New that they may be exhibited “forever.

In particular, he wrote: The concept of aura, Groys argues, in fact is not superseded by the birth of mechanical reproduction, but rather emerges at exactly the same time, in the form of its sublime excess. Museum collecting is governed, in modernity, not by some well-established, definite, normative taste with a clear origin in the past. This could change and produce a post-conceptual practice, in which the artist, the work, and the recipient of a work can no longer be clearly distinguished because the parties no longer fulfil the neat roles of the art world.

In this sense it is an excess of pluralistic democ- racy, an excess of democratic equality. In Art PowerGroys examines modern and contemporary art according to it 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. There- fore, for Kierkegaard, the only medium for a possible emergence of the new is the ordinary, “nondifferent,” identical — not the Other, but the Same.

Today’s mainstream Western art also functions increasingly in the mode of ideological propaganda. These examples could mislead us to conclude that contemporary art always acts ex negativo, that its reflex in any situation is to adopt a critical position merely for the sake of being critical.

One case clearly shows that the relationship between reality and museum is mutual: In order to assert itself successfully “in life,” art must become different — unusual, surprising, exclusive — and history demonstrates that art can do this only by tapping into classical, mythological, and religious traditions and breaking its connection with the banality of everyday experience. In this sense art has always been directly or indirectly critical because it confronts finite, political power with images of the infinite — God, nature, fate, life, death.

It is impossible for an average spectator to distinguish between, say, the origi- nal Picasso work and the Picasso work appropriated arh Mike Bidlo. And Thierry de Duve talks about “Kant after Duchamp,” meaning the return of personal taste after the end of art history brought about by the readymade. But the equality of all images exceeds the pluralistic, democratic equality of aesthetic taste.

Even if the material existence of an individual artwork is for a certain time guaranteed, the status of this artwork as artwork depends always on the context of its presentation in a museum collection. The work of Fischli and Weiss demonstrates that there is an obscure infinity in the museum itself — it is the infinite doubt, the infinite suspicion of all exhibited things being simulated, being fakes, having a material core other than that suggested by their external form.


But such a political commitment is viewed mostly as being extraneous to art, intent on instrumentalizing art for external political interests and aims. Hardcoverpages. According to this tradition, the death of the museum — and of the art history embodied by the museum — must be interpreted as a resurrection of true, living art, as borie turning toward true reality, life, toward the great Other: Here again a new difference in film reception emerges as a result of substituting the museum for an ordinary film theater.

The variety of images circulating in the mass media is much more limited than the range of images preserved, for example, in museums or produced by contemporary art. Of course, it can be argued that some differences will always remain unrepre- sented or, at least, underrepresented, by the law, so that art atr at least some of its function of representing the uncodified other.

And this means it cannot look like the old, dead art of the past as it is presented in the museum. Yet, such artificial longevity of an artwork can only be relative. Theoretical and narrative discourse is a distraction, and must stop. The classical avant-garde has struggled to achieve recognition of all signs, forms, and things as legitimate objects of artistic desire and, hence, also as legitimate objects of representation in art.

As long as the media is the only point of reference the observer simply lacks any comparative context which would Equal Aesthetic Rights afford him or her the means of effectively distinguishing between old and new, between what is the same and what is different. So here, as in the case of Duchamp’s readymade, or the simulated poower of 38 39 Geoys the Poder Fischli and Weiss, we are confronted with a nonvisual difference and, in this sense, a newly produced difference — the difference between a work of Picasso and a copy of this work produced by Bidlo.

As I have mentioned, a new artwork groyd repeat the forms of old, traditional, already collected art.

Full text of “Boris Groys Art Power ( )”

So, Fischli and Weiss may poeer exhibit readymades that look completely familiar to the contemporary viewer. Thus Fountain by Duchamp is artwork and non-artwork at the same time. He insist that art is more powerful if produced outside the art market and in the context of politics. Anti-ideological, critical, enlight- ened thought has always tried to get rid of images, to destroy or, at least, to deconstruct them — with the goal of replacing images with invisible, purely rational concepts.