PRINT February 1978

False Objects: Duplicates, Replicas and Types

The relation . . . to object is by no means only one of possession or usage. No, that would be too simple. It’s much worse.

Objects are outside of feeling, of course; however, they are also the leadweight in our head.

It’s a question of a relation to the accusative.1

—Francis Ponge

THE POSSIBILITY OF NONOBJECTNESS was a key concern of much late-’60s art that aspired to antiformalist originality and some kind of sociocultural criticism. Such criticism, in retrospect, was of an ineffective sort, since nominally nonobject works were quickly and easily assimilated by the very art system they seemed to oppose.

Why was this so? Perhaps the works were not “nonobject” enough. Perhaps the artists producing conceptual or apparently ephemeral works were not conscious enough or resolute enough. Or it may indeed be that their works were misinterpreted. In reality the art system proved stronger and more

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