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Michael Fried’s Antitheatricality and the Issue of Beholding: Severance of Artist’s Intentionality from Beholder’s Subjective Experience

  • The Journal of Aesthetics and Science of Art
  • Abbr : JASA
  • 2023, 68(), pp.196-224
  • DOI : 10.17527/JASA.68.0.08
  • Publisher : 한국미학예술학회
  • Research Area : Arts and Kinesiology > Other Arts and Kinesiology
  • Received : December 15, 2022
  • Accepted : February 1, 2023
  • Published : February 28, 2023

Young-Paik Chun 1

1홍익대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Michael Fried’s article “Art and Objecthood,” published in 1967 intervened with great polemical force into discussions of minimalism and what we would generally call postmodernism. It sharply criticized the coldness, inertness or blankness of minimalist (literalist) objects claiming that they failed to meet up the condition of ‘art.’ In his writing, the concept of ‘theatricality,’ detrimental to such a condition was both controversial and significant in the discourse of art history. Since the 2000s Fried has focused on contemporary photography. Among the artists he spotlighted, this paper highlights Thomas Demand’s work in relation to Fried’s reading of Barthes’s ‘punctum.’ Fried has insisted that it should be read as a mark of ‘antitheatricality’ coming from its unintendedness. In Demand’s photography, however, Fried has shown that he “intentionally” makes cold, lifeless and blank images, which also brings up antitheatricality and does not allow the beholder to become involved in it. This paper thus attempts to trace the relationship between antitheatricality and the artist’s intentionality in photography. In doing so, it sheds light on the antitheatrical way in which the subjective experience of the beholder and the artist’s intentionality grow apart.

Citation status

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