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Vernaculars of Leisure and Festive Aesthetics: On the Contemporary Art Museum as a Social Host


Vernaculars of Leisure and Festive Aesthetics: On the Contemporary Art Museum as a Social Host

Cloutier-Trépanier, Béatrice (2014) Vernaculars of Leisure and Festive Aesthetics: On the Contemporary Art Museum as a Social Host. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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This thesis examines relational art practices in the institutional context of the contemporary museum. Inscribed within the critical discourse surrounding Nicolas Bourriaud’s Relational Aesthetics, this thesis argues that institutionalized relational practices, specifically in the form of bars by artists, embody a tactic for the commissioning museum to diversify its cultural undertakings by acting as a welcoming social host. In light of Bourriaud’s discussion of the optimization of cultural forms and the reparation of social bonds by artists in recent art, Dean Baldwin’s artwork Ship in a Bottle, an installation produced for the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal (MACM) and presented in conjunction with the second edition of Québec’s Triennale Le travail qui nous attend (2011), acts as a relevant case study to consider the implications of this theory on the cultural industry and the role of the museum. Enriched by an interview with MACM curator Mark Lanctôt, this examination posits that the museum appropriates the ethos of the fête (Henri Lefebvre) and presents it as relational art and a model of sociability. Arguing the annihilation of the fête’s critical potential and problematizing it, I then discuss the productivity of leisure and entertainment as introduced by the Experience Economy (Pine and Gilmore). I especially focus my attention on how this economic model’s emphasis on experience is aligned with the cooptation of relational practices by institutions in need of diversification. By offering a leisure activity conceptualized as an artwork, the museum instrumentalizes the aesthetics of Ship in a Bottle and appropriates the tropes of everyday life the artwork references. Through embodied leisure activities such as sipping cocktails, the museum positions itself as a welcoming host for casual and pleasurable sociability, and as such legitimizes its mandate of providing easily accessible cultural products.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Fine Arts > Art History
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Cloutier-Trépanier, Béatrice
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:Art History
Date:15 September 2014
Thesis Supervisor(s):Whitelaw, Anne
Keywords:relational aesthetics, Nicolas Bourriaud, Henri Lefebvre, Museums, Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal, MASS MoCA, experience economy, leisure
ID Code:979012
Deposited On:05 Nov 2014 20:12
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:48
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