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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Edinburgh College of Art : History of Art

Undergraduate Course: Dematerialized? Art and Ephemerality c. 1968 (HIAR10131)

Course Outline
SchoolEdinburgh College of Art CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryIt has recently been suggested by art historian Claire Bishop that contemporary art underwent a ¿social turn¿ in the 1990s that comprised a privileging of participation and public engagement with and within art practices. Participation has certainly become a major concern of contemporary art practice and theory, and its manifestations make up a great deal of the work on display at the Biennials and mega-exhibitions that act as barometers of the art world¿s tastes and tendencies. However, it is by no means a novel concern. Indeed, Bishop has acknowledged that: ¿This idea of considering the work of art as a potential trigger for participation is hardly new ¿ think of Happenings, Fluxus instructions, 1970s performance art and Joseph Beuys¿s declaration that ¿everyone is an artist.¿¿ This course elaborates upon this extended history of participation in art. Taking as its starting point the ¿dematerialisation¿ of art in the 1960s and charting developments surrounding issues of gender, race, labour, the body and the gaze, we will examine the ramifications of late twentieth-century art history for contemporary art practice.

In 1968 American critics John Chandler and Lucy Lippard first coined the term ¿dematerialisation¿. The course follows Lippard¿s subsequent move towards an endorsement of more politicised art practices (notably feminist performance) during the 1970s, and we will attend closely to the stakes involved in this conceptual shift, particularly through an examination of the impact of identity politics upon art of the 1970s and 80s. Emphasising the increased significance of ephemeral, durational and collaborative practices during this period, we will establish a narrative that ties the emergence of the ¿social turn¿ in the 1990s to a historical lineage of art production and consumption. Through the discussion and analysis of key artworks, exhibitions and texts originating from Europe and North and South America, we will also consider the effects of globalisation upon participatory practices and their proliferation throughout the international art world.
Course description Introduction: Dematerialisation c. 1960 (Fluxus, Happenings, Pop)

The Body and ¿the Gaze¿

Time, Duration, and Collaboration

Identity Politics: Labouring and Postcolonial Bodies

Participation and Performance: Abramovi¿, Mendieta and Oiticica

Participation and the Institutions of Art

From New Genre Public Art to Dialogical Aesthetics

Relational Aesthetics and the Social Turn

Participation and its Discontents

Keywords: Dematerialisation, Identity, Participation
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: History of Art 2 (HIAR08012) OR Architectural History 2a: Order & the City (ARHI08006) AND Architectural History 2b: Culture & the City (ARHI08007)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Explain the forms and aims that ¿dematerialisation¿ and ¿participation¿ have taken in the post-1960 period among a range of artists
  2. Understand political and philosophical developments relating to identity and subjectivity in the twentieth century, and how these have been enmeshed with new artistic forms.

  3. Engage critically with the main issues attendant on writing histories of ephemeral art, including re-performance, collaboration and audience participation
  4. Compare and contrast a range of different media, including performance, video, relational art, event scores and installation

  5. Analyse and use a range of theoretical and critical approaches in the formulation of their own responses, articulating views on developments in artistic practice from the 1960s to the present in written and verbal formats, using appropriate academic conventions.

Reading List
Bishop, Claire. Participation (London: Whitechapel, 2006).
Bishop, Claire. Artificial Hells: Participatory Art and the Politics of Spectatorship (London: Verso, 2012).
Bourriaud, Nicolas. Relational Aesthetics (Dijon: Presses du reel, 2002).
Bryan-Wilson, Julia. Art Workers: Radical Practice in the Vietnam War Era (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2009).
Curtis, David; Rees, A. L.; White, Duncan, Expanded Cinema: Art, Performance, Film (London: Tate Publishing, 2011).
Dezeuze, Anna. The ¿Do-it-yourself¿ Artwork: Participation from Fluxus to New Media (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2010).
Frascina, Francis. Art, Politics and Dissent: Aspects of the Art Left in Sixties America (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1999).
Frieling, Rudolf, ed. The Art of Participation : 1950 to Now (New York: Thames & Hudson Ltd, 2008).
Fusco, Coco. Corpus Delecti: Performance Art of the Americas (London: Routledge, 2000).
Goldberg, RoseLee. Performance: Live Art Since the 1960s (London: Thames and Hudson, 1999).
Gonzalez, Jennifer. Subject to Display: Reframing Race in Contemporary Installation Art (Cambridge MA: The MIT Press, 2008).
Jackson, Shannon. Social Works: Performing Art, Supporting Publics ( New York: Routledge, 2011).
Jones, Amelia. Body Art: Performing the Subject (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1998).
Kaprow, Allan. Essays on the Blurring of Art and Life (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2003).
Lacy, Suzanne. Mapping the Terrain : New Genre Public Art. (Seattle, WA: Bay Press, 1995).
Lambert-Beatty, Carrie. Being Watched: Yvonne Rainer and the 1960s (Cambridge MA: The MIT Press, 2008).
Lind, Maria. "The Collaborative Turn." In Taking the Matter into Common Hands: On Contemporary Art and Collaborative Practices, edited by Johanna Billing, Maria Lind and Lars Nilsson, 15-31. (London: Black Dog, 2007).
Lippard, Lucy. Six Years: the Dematerialization of the Art Object from 1966-1972 (New York: Praeger, 1973).
Lippard, Lucy. The Pink Glass Swan: Selected Essays on Feminist Art. (New York: The New Press, 1995).
Miessen, Markus. The Nightmare of Participation (Crossbench Praxis as a Mode of Criticality) ( Berlin: Sternberg Press, 2010).
Phelan, Peggy. Unmarked: The Politics of Performance ( New York: Routledge, 1998).
Robinson, Hilary (ed.) Feminism-Art-Theory: An Anthology 1998-2001 (London: Blackwell, 2001).
Sholette, Gregory, and Stimson, Blake. Collectivism After Modernism: the Art of Social Imagination After 1945 (Minneapolis: The University of Minnesota Press, 2007).
Sholette, Gregory. Dark Matter: Art and Politics in the Age of Enterprise Culture (London: Pluto Press, 2011).
Warr, Tracey (ed.) The Artist¿s Body (London: Phaidon, 2000).
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Advanced visual skills, communication skills (written and oral), group work skills, ability to conduct independent, in-depth research, analytical and interpretative skills, ability to asses and evaluate sources, capacity to work to deadlines.
Additional Class Delivery Information 1 x 2 hour seminar per week
KeywordsDematerialisation, Ephemerality, Performance, Video, Time-based Art, Contemporary, Modern, Collectiv
Course organiserMs Catherine Spencer
Course secretaryMrs Sue Cavanagh
Tel: (0131 6)51 1460
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