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I Itlon on repre-alJstlc h·OSt and the burningAesthetics as Politics21Mosaic bush, reveals a dazzling, heterogeneous singularityof artistic form, one that commands a sense of community.But this is a community which builds itself on the ruiningof perspectives for political emancipation to which modernart was able to link up. It is an ethical community whichrevokes every project of collective emancipation.
this position has some favour with philosophers, it isquite another one that is keenly asserted by artists andprofessionals working in artistic institutions today -museum directors, gallery directors, curators and critics.Instead of making a contrast between artistic radicalityand aesthetic utopia, this other position endeavollrs tokeep the two equally at a distance.
replaces them withthe proclamation of art's new modesty - it is modest notonly as regards its capacity
transform the world, butalso as regards claims about the singularity of its objects.This art is not the founding of a common world throughthe absolute singularity of form; it is a way of redisposingthe objects and images that comprise the common worldas it is already given, or of creating
apt tomodify our gazes and our attitudes with respect to thiscollective environment. Such micro-situations, which varyonly slightly from those of ordinary life and are presentedin an ironic and playful vein rather than a critical anddenunciatory one, aim
create or re-create bonds betweenindividuals,
new modes of confrontation andparticipation. The principle of so-called relational art hereis exemplary: in contrast to tbe radical heterogeneity of the shock of the
on a BarnettNewman canvas stands the practice of a Pierre Huyghe,who, instead of the advertisement that had been expected,registers on a billboard an enlarged photograph of theplace and its users.I do not intend to decide in favour of one or other of these two attitudes. Instead
examine what theytestify to and what renders them possible. They are in factthe two strands that emerge by undoing the alliancebetween artistic radicality and political radicality, an