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50 Years of Art and Objecthood: Traces, Impact, Critique

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Published date 26 May 2017

Cover for the June 1967 issue of Artforum

Journal of Visual Culture, Volume 16, Issue 1, April 2017 .

Edited by Alison Green and Joanne Morra

Arguably the most discussed piece of art criticism published since the 1960s, ‘Art and Objecthood’ written by American art historian (and poet) Michael Fried (1939-), and published in the June 1967 issue of Artforum magazine, has been variously described as ‘world dividing doxology’ (Caroline Jones), and ‘a theoretical wedge’ (Rosalind Krauss). What is clear is that the ideas it addresses are remarkably durable. ‘Art and Objecthood’ comments upon and agonizes over what is perceived as the major paradigm shift between modernism and postmodernism, in art and in wider cultural terms. If the legacy of the 1960s is multi-faceted, one key part is this: the so-called autonomous art object was challenged and replaced by contextual or relational works and meanings. By contrast, Fried’s essay argues in very strong terms that art ought to require specialized tools—critical, historical and aesthetic—and that these are worth fighting for.

The contributors to this issue of Journal of Visual Culture analyze the impact of ‘Art and Objecthood’ and assess its divergent traces rather than its canonical receptions. The articles consider its influence internationally within art criticism, philosophy, film studies, theatre, international modernism, new media, and art education.

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Alison Green and Joanne Morra

Introduction: 50 Years of ‘Art and Objecthood’: Traces, Impact, Critique

Stephen Melville

‘Art and Objecthood,’ Philosophy

Margarita Tupitsyn

From Black Square to Room Square

Phoebe von Held

Brecht’s Anti-Theatricality? Reflections on Brecht’s Place in Michael Fried’s Conceptual Framework

Daniel Rubinstein

Failure to Engage: Art Criticism in the Age of Simulacrum

Joanne Morra

On Use: Art Education and Psychoanalysis

Victor Tupitsyn

Fried avec Debord: Theatricality by Default

Alison Green

‘A Supreme Fiction’: Michael Fried and Art Criticism

Duncan White

An ‘Automatic Escape’ or a ‘Beautiful Question’? Cinema and Experimental Film after Michael Fried’s ‘Art and Objecthood’

Find more information by reading The Journal of Visual Culture.

This event was kindly supported by: CSM Art Programme, Research, and Culture and Enterprise Programme