PRINT Summer 2005


social space and relational aesthetics

WHAT MAKES relational aesthetics so boring? I’ve been wondering a lot lately why an approach to artmaking dedicated to social interaction has generated so much underwhelming art. Perhaps the fact that relational aesthetics is dependent on site contingency, collaboration, and contrived indeterminacy makes it feel a little too much like the 1960s and is therefore dulled by nostalgia, or worse, academicism. Or perhaps it was that Nicolas Bourriaud’s book Relational Aesthetics, first published in French in 1998 and translated into English in 2002, seemed like Pierre Bourdieu’s theories on cultural production cut and pasted onto the artists of our time. In any case, I have attended my fair share of events over the past decade, including several that were key to the aesthetic’s convergence in the 1990s (like “I, Myself, and Others” a group show that included Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Dominique

to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW at the discounted rate of $45 a year—70% off the newsstand price—and receive the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the Summer 2005 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.