Disembodied Experiences

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For “Dennis Oppenheim: Form – Energy – Concept,” Electronic Arts Intermix offered a special program of films from the early 1970s: selections from the artist’s Aspen Projects (1970–71), the rarely screened Disappear (1972), and two of his 2-Stage Transfer Drawings (both 1971). Transferred to DVD, the films were presented as double projections, as Dennis Oppenheim (1938–2011) was said to have exhibited his films and videos in this way or as dual-monitor installations.

Reversing the Theory of Art

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Dennis Oppenheim and the Art of Survival, organized by Amy Plumb with Pamela Sharp and Aaron Levy, celebrated the legacy of the seminal New York artist who died this past January. Three interrelated “provisional seminars addressed three performance-oriented works: Lecture #1 (1976), Theme for a Major Hit (1974), and Radicality (1974)—perhaps purposely chosen, in memory of the absent artist, for their lack of the appearance of a physical performer in their initial iteration or regular presentation format.

The Coy and Cagey Object

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The coffee break after the second section was much welcomed, but the talk by Amelia Jones, professor and Grierson Chair at McGill University in Montreal, did little to alleviate my annoyance from the previous section. Jones presented new research on how to think about art after 1960, proposing a shift from object to process and how this shift relates to globalization, digital networking, and a sense of placelessness.

Che c’è di nuovo? Non molto.

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The symposium’s middle part, “Agency of the Everyday,” was a disappointment. Covering Italy ca. 1970, the gregarious Romy Golan, professor of twentieth-century art at the Graduate Center, City University of New York, discussed a few important exhibitions in the country, such as Vitality of the Negative (1970–71), in which each artist received his own room to create kinetic, interactive art, often with elements of refraction, reflection, and projections (and thus without objects). The environments, Golan said, evoked a fun house or nightclub.

Tino Sehgal Versus a World Full of Objects

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At his talk at the Guggenheim Museum last night, the artist Tino Sehgal did not say much that was all that different from the interview and article last year in Artforum, but he did clarify his position and give it more depth. The major point I got from his talk was that his art takes place on the macro level of institution and medium more than on the micro level of an individual work. He referred to this as his “set up” at one point and said that the subject of any particular piece was secondary to it.

Before and after Institutional Critique

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I caught Rhea Anastas’s paper, “Untitled by Andrea Fraser: A Short Reception History 2002–5,” in a 2006 CAA Annual Conference session chaired by Andrew Perchuk and Matthew Jesse Jackson called “Before and after Institutional Critique.” Rather than summarize Anastas’s enlightening talk or describing Fraser’s video from 2003—if you know it, you know it—I want to offer two thoughts, on both the audience for the work and the artist herself, that popped into my head while listening to Anastas speak.

 

IN TERMS OF

Reviews of lectures, panels, interviews, conferences, and other live speaking engagements in the visual arts.

 
Funding for In Term Of has been provided by the Arts Writers Grant Program.