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Commodified generosity and relational abductions : the multiples of Felix Gonzales-Torres

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Commodified generosity and relational abductions : the multiples of Felix Gonzales-Torres

Clintberg, Mark (2008) Commodified generosity and relational abductions : the multiples of Felix Gonzales-Torres. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

The multiples of Felix Gonzalez-Torres have made a significant contribution to the legacy of Conceptual and Minimal art strategies. His artworks have often been framed as acts of generosity as viewers are entitled to remove singles copies of his multiples from exhibitions as gifts. This interpretation of his work has been further fueled by the writings of key theorists including Nicolas Bourriaud in his text Relational Aesthetics (1998), which suggests that since the 1990s artists increasingly develop projects with utopian objectives that generate and depend on collaboration and response from audiences. This thesis challenges Bourriaud's understanding of Gonzalez-Torres's practice, and other existent literature around his artworks. I argue that his multiples allow for dissenting responses as well as for the audience's alteration or regifting of the object as a form of reciprocity. The aesthetic lineage of these works, and the ideological similarities the multiples share with early Minimalism and Conceptual art practices also present alternative readings of Gonzalez-Torres' multiples. The artist's gift is simultaneously self-serving, benevolent, and antagonistic. These artworks present troubled allegories of democracy, framed by the history of collaborative and social art practices. Finally, the multiples are considered as troubled allegories of democracy. Gonzalez-Torres's practice offers its viewers a participatory experience that illustrates the limitations and possibilities of art as an active force in the operation of society, which struggles with the divide between individual rights and the greater good.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Fine Arts > Art History
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Clintberg, Mark
Pagination:vii, 134 leaves : ill. ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:Art History
Date:2008
Thesis Supervisor(s):Hammond, Cynthia
ID Code:975993
Deposited By: Concordia University Library
Deposited On:22 Jan 2013 16:18
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:41
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