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Art & Language and the Politics of Art Worlds, 1969-1977

Bailey, Robert (2012) Art & Language and the Politics of Art Worlds, 1969-1977. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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My dissertation reassesses the role conceptual art played amidst the transition from modern to contemporary art during the second half of the twentieth century by focusing on the movement’s international scope and structure. My inquiry centers on Art & Language, an art collective comprising dozens of conceptual artists, and I emphasize a rarely discussed but absolutely essential aspect of their work together: the collaborations they undertook between the United States, England, Australia, and Yugoslavia that employed travel, exhibitions, publications, correspondence, and communication technologies to forge an unwieldy but productive alliance between likeminded thinkers and practitioners on three continents. I account for the art and writing that emerged from this interconnected web in terms of the innovative artistic and political strategies that Art & Language developed by prioritizing written and spoken language, and I situate their work relative to the realignment of international relations during the period of their association. In so doing, I show how Art & Language conceptualized opposition to the emerging global art world, which was — as it remains — driven primarily by monolithic institutions and official discourses. I argue that Art & Language’s preference for interpersonal contact and intercultural exchange provides tools for articulating a politics of artistic activity adequate to art’s loss of autonomy and its gain of worldliness during the passage from modern to contemporary art.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Bailey, Robertrmb73@pitt.eduRMB73
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairSmith, Terrytes2@pitt.eduTES2
Committee MemberSavage, Kirkksa@pitt.eduKSA
Committee MemberEllenbogen, Joshjme23@pitt.eduJME23
Committee MemberMecchia, Giuseppinamecchia@pitt.eduMECCHIA
Committee MemberFogle,
Date: 11 June 2012
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 13 March 2012
Approval Date: 11 June 2012
Submission Date: 17 March 2012
Access Restriction: 5 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 5 years.
Number of Pages: 263
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > History of Art and Architecture
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Art, Politics, Art World, Conceptual Art
Date Deposited: 11 Jun 2012 20:23
Last Modified: 11 Jun 2017 05:15


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