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THINGS NOT NECESSARILY MEANT TO BE VIEWED AS ART

View of “No Longer Art: Salvage Art Institute,” 2012–13, Arthur Ross Architecture Gallery, Columbia University, New York. Photo: James Ewing.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN to speak of the “status of the object” in art? The phrase has generally been deployed in discussions around the unfixed material identity of the aesthetic object in the postmodern era. When used this way, it is meant to signal, among other things, the end of medium specificity, which has given way in artistic practice to a mobile, variable, or indeterminate relation between the terms of a work and its material means. At stake is the work’s very constitution: It is no longer understood necessarily to take only one form—indeed, it may not require concrete form of any kind. But what if an art object—even a conventional one—is simply compromised? Perhaps it shows signs of inherent deterioration or has suffered damage in the course of being handled or moved. Does the problematic of “status” apply to the circumstances of an object that suffers from no

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