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After Art

After Art

David Joselit
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  • Book Info
    After Art
    Book Description:

    Art as we know it is dramatically changing, but popular and critical responses lag behind. In this trenchant illustrated essay, David Joselit describes how art and architecture are being transformed in the age of Google. Under the dual pressures of digital technology, which allows images to be reformatted and disseminated effortlessly, and the exponential acceleration of cultural exchange enabled by globalization, artists and architects are emphasizing networks as never before. Some of the most interesting contemporary work in both fields is now based on visualizing patterns of dissemination after objects and structures are produced, and after they enter into, and even establish, diverse networks. Behaving like human search engines, artists and architects sort, capture, and reformat existing content. Works of art crystallize out of populations of images, and buildings emerge out of the dynamics of the circulation patterns they will house.

    Examining the work of architectural firms such as OMA, Reiser + Umemoto, and Foreign Office, as well as the art of Matthew Barney, Ai Weiwei, Sherrie Levine, and many others,After Artprovides a compelling and original theory of art and architecture in the age of global networks.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-4514-9
    Subjects: Art & Art History, Architecture and Architectural History, Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Image Explosion
    (pp. 1-23)

    The scale at which images proliferate and the speed with which they travel have never been greater.⁵ Under these conditions, images appear to be free, but they carry a price. Commenting to theNew York Timeson the 2010 rebound of Art Basel, the world’s most prestigious modern and contemporary art fair, American collector Donald Rubell declared with no apparent irony, “People are now realizing that art is an international currency.”⁶ (The new museums designed for cities around the world by star architects like Frank Gehry, Renzo Piano, Jacques Herzog, and Pierre de Meuron would thus function as the art...

  2. Populations
    (pp. 24-55)

    How then can we describe aesthetic objects as forms crystallizing out of a population, or currency, of images? Since the 1990s, architectural discourse has established an array of computer-enabled biological metaphors to theorize emergent form. These range from Greg Lynn’s theorization of the biomorphic “blob,”²⁴ to the “Emergent Technologies and Design” program run by Michael Hensel, Achim Menges, and Michael Weinstock at the Architectural Association in London.²⁵ For Patrik Schumacher, partner and in-house theorist at Zaha Hadid Architects, this tendency has congealed into a style,Parametricism:

    Parametricism is a mature style. There has been talk about “continuous differentiation,” versioning, iteration...

  3. Formats
    (pp. 55-84)

    Formats are dynamic mechanisms for aggregating content.⁴⁷ In mediums a material substrate (such as paint on canvas) converges with an aesthetic tradition (such as painting). Ultimately, mediums lead to objects, and thus reification, but formats are nodal connections and differential fields; they channel an unpredictable array of ephemeral currents and charges. They are configurations of force rather than discrete objects. In short, formats establish a pattern of links or connections. I use the termslinkandconnectionadvisedly because it is through such modes of association, native to the World Wide Web, that composition occurs under conditions of image population...

  4. Power
    (pp. 85-96)

    Like universities, the art world’s institutions produce a wide spectrum of knowledge ranging from pure research to commercial applications. Universities train and employ experts and entrepreneurs who shape opinion in the realms of economics, government, the social sciences, and science. Academic economists, for instance, may exert broad influence as policy makers, including, notoriously, Jeffrey Sachs, who, as a professor at Harvard during the 1990s, advocated highly controversial “shock treatments” that rapidly liberalized markets in the controlled economies of formerly communist nations like Poland and Russia.⁷⁵ And the revolving door between politics and academe is well traveled—as exemplified by figures...