Art in parallax: painting, place, judgment

PhD Thesis

Akenson, David J.. 2008. Art in parallax: painting, place, judgment. PhD Thesis Doctor of Philosophy. University of Southern Queensland.

Art in parallax: painting, place, judgment

TypePhD Thesis
AuthorAkenson, David J.
SupervisorJenkins, Kyle
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
Qualification NameDoctor of Philosophy
Number of Pages310

[Abstract]The point of this thesis is to undertake a critical engagement with the art and life debate. This debate involves, in particular, the question of the location of art. Does art belong to an autonomous field removed from ‘everyday life’, or is art located amongst the objects and daily activities of our lives? Contributors to this debate usually defend one or the other position; either defending autonomy or arguing that art is, or at least should be, part of life. The debate is located through three historical points: the avant-gardes of the early 20th Century Europe; the neo-avant-garde of North America in the 1950s – 1970s; and American formalist art and criticism of the 1930s – 1970s. The thesis then engages the debate through more recent examples of art where the binary art/life is again the principal issue. Minimalism, Installation art, Site-specific art and Wall Painting are examined in the context of the ‘end’ of modernist painting. The argument presented by the thesis will be informed by a recently emerging theoretical frame which engages the reception of Kantian and Hegelian forms of aesthetic judgment. This critical context includes the Slovenian philosopher, Slavoj Zizek; the Marxist-Hegelian theory of the German critic, Peter Burger, and the U.S. formalist critic, Clement Greenberg. The positions held by these theorists and critics will be examined through examples of art from both the modern period and more contemporary works. Through this context, the thesis positions the art and life debate within a structural analysis, arguing that art, including objects of ordinary life understood as art, occupy places within an art structure. The thesis argues that the choice between art and life is not so much a positive choice of one or the other, but rather a choice between one and the same thing seen differently; that is, the one thing seen in parallax.

Keywordsart; life; debate; parallax
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020360602. Fine arts
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