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Unformatted text preview: o a communit y of viewing subject s with
something in common.47 This is why Tiravanija’s works are polit ical only in the loosest sense of advocat ing dialogue over monologue (t he one- way communicat ion
equated with spect acle by the Situat ionist s). The content of this dialogue is not in
it self democr at ic, since all quest ions return to t he hackneyed nonissue of “is it
art?”48 Despite Tiravanija’s rhetor ic of open- endedness and viewer emancipat ion,
Bourr iaud quoted in “Public Relat ions: Bennett Simpson Talks with Nicolas Bourr iaud,” p. 48.
Udo Kittelmann, “Preface,” in Rirkrit Tiravanija, n.p.
Kölnischer St adt-Anzeiger quoted in Rirkrit Tiravanija, n.p.
Salt z muses on this quest ion in a wonder fully blinkered fashion: “ . . . theoret ically anyone can
come in [to an art galler y]. How come they don’t? Somehow the art world seems to secrete an invisible
enzyme that repels out sider s. What would happen if the next t ime Tiravanija set up a kitchen in an art
galler y, a bunch of homeless people turned up daily for lunch? What would the Walker Art Center do if
a cert ain homeless man scr aped up t he pr ice of admission to t he museum, and chose to sleep on
Tiravanija’s cot all day, ever y day? . . . In his own quiet way, Tiravanija forces these quest ions to the forefront , and jimmies the lock (so efﬁcient ly left bolted by much so - called polit ical art) on the door that
separates the art world from ever ything else.” The “invisible enzyme” that Salt z refer s to should alert
him precisely to the limit at ions of Tiravanija’s work and it s nonant agonist ic approach to issues of public space (Salt z, “A Short Histor y of Rirkr it Tiravanija,” p. 106).
Jean-Luc Nancy’s cr it ique of the Marxist idea of communit y as communion in The Inoperat ive
Communit y (Minneapolis: Univer sit y of Minnesot a Press, 1991) has been crucial to my considerat ion of
a counter-model to relat ional aesthet ics. Since the mid-1990s, Nancy’s text has become an increasingly
import ant reference point for wr iter s on contempor ar y art , as seen in Rosalyn Deut sche, Ev ict ions;
chapter 4 of Pamela M. Lee’s Object to Be Destroyed: The Work of Gordon Matt a-Clark (Cambr idge, Mass.:
M I T P r e s s , 2 0 0 0 ); G e o r g e B a k e r, “ R e l a t i o n s a n d C o u n t e r- R e l a t i o n s : A n O p e n L e t t e r t o N i c o l a s
Bourr iaud,” in Zusammenhänge herstellen/Contextualise, ed. Yilmaz Dziewior (Cologne: Dumont , 2002);
and Jessica Morgan, Common Wealth (London: Tate Publishing, 2003).
As the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported, “No subject is given, yet the art ist ic context automat ically leads all discussions back to t he quest ion about t he funct ion of art .” Chr istophe Blase, Antagonism and Relational Aesthetics 69 the structure of his work circumscr ibes the outcome in advance, and relies on it s
presence wit hin a galler y to different iate it from entert ainment . Tir av anija’s
microtopia gives up on the idea of transformat ion in public culture and reduces
it s scope to t he pleasures of a pr iv ate group who ident ify wit h one anot her as
galler y- goer s.49
Gillick’s posit ion on the quest ion of dialogue and democracy is more ambigu...
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This document was uploaded on 02/20/2014 for the course PHILOSOPHY 244 at University of Tennessee.
- Spring '09