PRINT December 2012


Jeff Koons, Balloon Dog (Magenta), 1994–2006, high chromium stainless steel with transparent colored coating. Installation view, Château de Versailles, France, 2008–2009.

FROM THE PERSPECTIVE of the hegemonic reality principle­ that has defined modernity—i.e., the subject position we have traditionally identified as bourgeois—all forms and practices of artistic and political contestation, transgression, and critique appeared at least initially as suspicious, if not deviant or outright antagonistic to that model of subjectivity.

This dialectic of a fully internalized reality principle and a seemingly compulsive desire for a different order, even disorder, was in fact one of the constitutive conditions of modernity and avant-garde culture from the 1860s until the mid-1960s: Artists had throughout that period created imaginary subjects, models of alternative social relations, languages and spaces of difference, concepts of critique and countermemory and of oppositional transgression. These practices pointed toward profoundly different, and

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