43 i would argue that tiravanijas art at least as

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Unformatted text preview: e art ist and dealer . . . who t alked about the collapse of SoHo — only he welcomed it , felt it was about t ime, t hat t he galler ies had been showing too much mediocre art . Later in the show’s run, I was joined by an unident ified woman and a cur ious flirt at ion filled the air. Another t ime I chatted with a young art ist who lived in Brooklyn who had real insight s about the shows he’d just seen.42 The informal chatt iness of t his account clearly indicates what kind of problems face those who wish to know more about such work: the review only tells us that Tiravanija’s inter vent ion is considered good because it permit s net working among a group of art dealer s and like-minded art lover s, and because it evokes the atmosphere of a late-night bar. Ever yone has a common interest in art , and the result is art- world gossip, exhibit ion rev iews, and flirt at ion. Such communicat ion is fine t o a n e x t e n t , b u t i t i s n o t i n a n d o f i t s e l f e m b l e m a t i c o f “ d e m o c r a c y.” To be fair, I think that Bourr iaud recognizes this problem —but he does not raise it in relat ion to the art ist s he promotes: “Connect ing people, creat ing interact ive, 41. 42. Mouffe, “Introduct ion,” in Deconstruct ion and Pragmat ism, p. 11. Salt z, “A Short Histor y of Rirkr it Tiravanija,” p. 107. 68 OCTOBER communicat ive exper ience,” he says, “ What for? If you forget the ‘what for?’ I’m afr aid you’re left wit h simple Nokia art—producing interper sonal relat ions for their own sake and never addressing their polit ical aspect s.”43 I would argue that Tiravanija’s art , at least as presented by Bourr iaud, falls short of addressing the polit ical aspect of communicat ion— even while cert ain of his project s do at fir st glance appear to address it in a dissonant fashion. Let us return to account s of Tir av anija’s Cologne project , Unt itled (Tomor row Is Anot her Day). I have already quoted curator Udo Kittelman’s comment that the inst allat ion offered “an impressive exper ience of togetherness to ever ybody.” He cont inues: “Groups of people prepared meals and t alked, took a bath or occupied the bed. Our fear that the artliv ing- space might be v andalized did not come t rue. . . . The art space lost it s inst itut ional funct ion and finally turned into a free social space.”44 The Kölnischer St adt-Anzeiger concurred that the work offered “a kind of ‘asylum’ for ever yone.”45 But who is the “ever yone” here? This may be a microtopia, but—like utopia— it is st ill predicated on the exclusion of those who hinder or prevent it s realizat ion. (It is tempt ing to consider what might have happened if Tiravanija’s space had been invaded by those seeking genuine “asylum.”)46 His inst allat ions reflect Bourr iaud’s under st anding of the relat ions produced by relat ional art works as fundament ally harmonious, because they are addressed t...
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This document was uploaded on 02/20/2014 for the course PHILOSOPHY 244 at University of Tennessee.

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