“No other humanist discipline has undergone as rigorous a self-examination as the visual arts. Well above and beyond an investigation into the nature of its being, the field of art has gone so far as to canonize works of so-called “anti-art.” From the 1917 debut of Duchamp’s infamous Fountain, which consisted of simply a urinal bearing a signature, to the sustained assault on visuality waged by conceptual artists, art by all accounts should have succumbed to its self-willed dismantling quite a while ago. Needless to say, this has yet to pass. Through earnest efforts artists have, however, expanded art’s definition to the point where art is no longer a discrete class of objects or activities but instead a way of looking; art as a process of self-reflexive meaning-making, one that need not be mediated by illusionistic representation. A small tin of shit proudly produced and canned by the artist, Piero Manzoni himself, or a piece of candy courtesy of Felix Gonzalez-Torres are but two beautiful birds in a forest of signs that would render our existence legible. But despite exercising its right to remain silent, gregariously flirting with the irrational, and revelling in illegibility, art is still plagued with making sense in what is less a forest of signs and more a semiotic jungle as any and all things may assume a meaning no longer reserved for the more traditional work of art.”

Hamza Walker on Trisha Donnelly, “Trisha Donnelly and a Higher Power of Imaginative Transference,” Art Tattler International, April 6, 2008, accessed January 3, 2016, http://arttattler.com/commentarydonnelly.html.


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