Friday, December 17, 2010

Jeff Wall: [Referring to Delacroix] Violence is only a theme in this kind of art; the art itself isn’t violent. That makes it very different from, even opposed to, the art of the avant-garde, which expresses aggression against the idea of art itself. This aggression is no longer viable. I don’t think its necessary or possible to go beyond the idea of bourgeois art -that is of autonomous art- towards a fusion of art and its context. Or if its possible it isn’t very desirable. We have learned how the aggression against autonomous art was consistent with aspects of totalitarianism, from the Stalinist period for example, and how state violence could benefit from that kind of aesthetic. The concept of art as autonomous, and therefore less amenable to that kind of instrumentalization, is a central concern of the modern, and I’m most sympathetic to that.

A-MB/RM: Modernity and avant-garde, to you, are two separate things?

JW: We can’t confuse them anymore.
A Democratic, a Bourgeois Tradition of Art: a Conversation with Jeff Wall,
Selected Essays and Interviews.

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