Sara Callahan
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Chapter 8 ties the art historical discussion of a shift in the artwork’s relationship to art history (Arthur Danto, Hans Belting) to considerations of presentism (François Hartog). The institutional understanding of art entails a lack of grounding in a teleological art history, since the artwork’s identity as art is now considered to be grounded in a set of networks in the present. The terminology of the ‘contemporary’ and ‘contemporaneity’ (Boris Groys, David Joselit, Dan Karlholm, Terry Smith, Christine Ross) as well as the terminology of ‘turns’ are shown to be enmeshed with the notion of the archive in significant ways. Although presentism would at first glance seem contrary to the archive art phenomenon, with its interest in, almost obsession with, history, the book’s final chapter shows how notions such as presentism and ‘history’ can be productively used for analysing the kind of interest in history that is associated with archive art. The chapter gets back to the practice of returning to works from the 1960s and 1970s by artists in the 1990s and early 2000s that has been discussed in previous chapters, and considers the temporal implications of such artworks.

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Art + Archive

Understanding the archival turn in contemporary art


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