Karen Archey at MAP Magazine: Performance and Pedagogy: All Talk, Some Action

by Art Fag City on November 24, 2009 Events

art fag city, Karen Archey, Anton Vidokle
Anton Vidokle’s Night School

Contributing Editor Karen Archey discusses the rise of performance and pedagogy in contemporary art practice in this month’s issue of MAP Magazine. The teaser below:

Art historian Benjamin Buchloh’s 1980 dismissal of Joseph Beuys' work as 'simple-minded utopian drivel' may have some merit. Although his criticism was directed foremost at the artist's dubious political engagement, Buchloh also targeted Beuys' role as a performative 'messianic' figure. And he was probably right — true to the art historian's criticism, Beuys' symbolic lexicon is something out of a new-agey astrologer's cookbook.

Picture the artist's 1965 performance 'How to Explain Pictures to a Dead Hare': Beuys cradles a dead hare as he courses a gallery hosting his art. His face covered with honey and gold leaf, his foot plated with an iron slab, the artist gently whispers explanations of his drawings to the dead animal. The now-famous piece, only viewable from the outside through a gallery window, would seem absurd to any number of people. Appropriately shooting down Beuy's use of personal mythologies and messianic tendencies (two tragic inclinations better left buried in the vault of modernism) Buchloh's vitriol didn't inhibit Beuys' performance from being canonised as an early investigation into the role of the artist speaking about his work. What is more, Beuys opened a proverbial can of self-reflexive worms for the forthcoming postmodern era. Do lectures simply function to create meaning around a given artwork? What is their intersection with performance? How does the lecture-as- performance intertwine with pedagogy, and how can the medium inform professional artistic practice?

To read the full piece click here.

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