The Art of Participation 1950 to Now
The book begins with an introduction explaining that the book published by Thames andHudson accompneys an exhibition at San Fransico Museme of Modern Art, that this isthe first time an exhibition about participation has been done in a museme context (2008).It gives the etomology of the word participation (from latin
, derived from
(part) and the root of
(to take). It then broadly covers some of the ideas thatare in the book. The book is made up of three essays and lots of 'plates' which range fromthe artists from the past up to the present including the artists that are exhibiting work inthe exhibition. The essays are each over 3000 words long, I wanted to find the ideas thatare discussed around participation art and so I was worried that I would have do alot of reading and pharaphrasing. Fortunetly there were several interesting concepts made butfor alot the second essay it describes a myrid of examples to illustrate the points it makesealier in the essay, and for the third essay not very much interesting was written for reasons that can be explained by looking at what the second essay had to say. But first Iwould like to look at what the first eassy had to offer.
one: A Geneology of Participatory Art.
The essay begins with this "A tendency toward collaborative, participatory practice isundeniablly one of the main charachteristics of contempoary art." and "What we areconcerned with here are events, projects, political interventions, social analyses, or independent educational institutions that are initeated, in many cases by individual atists, but that can ultimately be realized only by the involvent of many." The writter then begins to go back, befor the 50s (when lots was written about what we are talking aboutand that I have already looked at in my earlyier research), back to the Futerists and DaDaartists writing about how after these artist did what it is we are talking about (politaclylead colaborative, participatoory, performance/theatre art), artists went back to makingwork to be viewed in gallery context that encouraged passive audience (surrealism,modernism). The writer then goes back even further befor the DaDas and Fucturists andfinds what we are talking about in the work of Wagner in his essay
"The Art-Work of the Future" (1849-50).
In this essay Wagner speaks about 'gesamtkunstwerk' whis is similar to what we have come to know in contemporary disscussions as 'the death of theauthor'add foot note here, stating that the creator of the work must sacrifice himself for the benifit of the art, involving the spectators in all the aspects of the creation. This wasconnected to political attitudes upraising of Communism. the artwork must realize
"the passing over of Egoism into Communism.' to realize this goal all artists should abbandonthier social isolation in two regards. First, they must overcome the distinctions betweenvarious artist genres-or, as we might call them today, different artistic medias. Second,these artists' fellowships must forgo the inclination to adopt themes or postions that aremearly arbitary or subjective; thier talents should be used to express the artistic desire(Kunstwollen)"
The writer then writes about the next development of this sacrifice of the artist,'gesamtkunstwerk' (similar to the death of the author), in the futurists.........explainfuturists here............and then the DaDAs................explain the DaDashere....................and then he speaks about the happenings, Warhols factory (Andy