The Image Object Post-Internet

by Artie Vierkant

Art is a social object.

From the rise of a liberal market economy through the build-up and ubiquity of the “middle class,” art has matched and excused itself with the social conditions of its production. The rise of the “industrialized arts” gave way to lofty notions of art-after-object as late capitalism approached, all the while explaining itself as obligated to echo existing cultural conditions rather than move to shape them.

Where are we left now? Art and arts pedagogy has become so inextricably linked with a variety of interpretations on the Conceptual art doxa that it would be impossible to argue against any artistic gesture being automatically tied to its reception and the language surrounding it. At least from a historical perspective, Conceptual art assured its own legacy by the overwhelming volume of language produced within and around it at a time when summary-through-language was the easiest means of disseminating an object (profoundly simpler, even, than reproducing a photograph). [...]