Théâtralité (Henry Sayre)

Publié le par Olivier Lussac IDEAT

Henry Sayre : « It has stood against the purist modernism championed by the likes Greenberg, Fried, and Rose, and it has, over the last several decades, become associated with postmodernism proper. Says Fried in 1982 : « In my ‘art and objecthood’ I argue that the best contemporary painting and sculpture seek an ideal of self-sufficiency and what I call « prensentness » whereas much seemingly advanced recent is essentially theatratical, depending for its effects of ‘presence’ on the staging, the conspicious manipulation, of its relation to an audience. (In the years ‘Art and Objecthood’ was written, the treatrical has assumed a host of new guises and has acquired a new name : postmodernism.) »(1) In his catalogue for an exhibition of contemporary sculpture by Vito Acconci, Siah Armajani, Alice Aycock, Lauren Ewing, Robert Morris, and Dennis Oppenheim at the Hirshhorn Museum, Howard Fox has put it this way : « Theatrality may be considered that propensity in the visual arts for a work to reveal itself within the mind of the beholder as something other than what it is known empirically to be. This is precisely antithetical to the Modern ideal of the wholly manifest(2),  self-sufficient object ; and theatrically may be the single most persuasive property of post-Modern art. »(3)

1. Michael Fried, « How Modernism Works : A Response to T. J. Clarke », in Critical Inquiry 9 (sept. 1982), p. 17.
2. Cf. Peter Sloterdijk. Bulles I et III
3. Howard N. Fox, Metaphor : New Projects by Contemporary Sculptors (Acconci, Armajani, Ewing, Morris, Oppenheim), Washington, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institute Press, 1982, p. 16.

Cité par Henry M. Sayre, The Object of Performance. The American Avant-Garde since 1970, Chicago et Londres, The University of Chicago Press, 1989, p. 9.

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