By Elizabeth Mansfield
Artwork heritage and Its associations makes a speciality of the institutional discourses that formed and proceed to form the sphere from its origin within the 19th century. From museums and universities to legislations courts, hard work companies and images studios, individuals study more than a few associations, contemplating their influence on hobbies corresponding to modernism, their position in conveying or denying legitimacy, and their influence of defining the parameters of the self-discipline.
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Extra resources for Art History and Its Institutions: The Nineteenth Century
How could a designer or builder predict the morphology of a ruin? What can be made of the Artist’s intentions in such a project: in what sense can we say that they are really prior to their imagined material effects? And just what kind of “history” does all this extraordinary projection presuppose? ” The building should appear to have constructed itself. Yet Soane’s project 31 DONALD PREZIOSI would have to go even further, for what is being fabricated as the effect of natural action is a state beyond that which could be in any Artist’s control: how the ruined fragments of its future condition might be especially legible as to lead any future antiquarian to correctly reconstruct both the building’s original purpose as well as the originating Artist’s intentions for the institution.
One could modify this rather telling and supremely modernist desire for an ideal correspondence between style and value, ethics and aesthetics, by saying that not knowing what we’re looking at is, equally, the equivalent of not knowing when we are. We live in a world defined by corporate nation-states committed above all to prescribing disciplined and predictable linkages between individuals and their object-worlds. In this world, you are made desirous of being convinced that you are your stuff, so that you will become even more desirous of becoming that which even better stuff can say even more clearly to others and to yourselves about your continually evolving truth – what you shall have been (to recall Lacan for a moment) for what you are in the process of becoming.
11. 26 The Arcades Project, p. 11. 27 The struggle of art history mirrors the ambivalence charted in Benjamin’s essay on “Art in an Age of Mechanical Reproduction,” in Reflections: Essays, Aphorisms, and Autobiographical Writings, trans. E. Jephcott, ed. P. Demetz, New York, Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, 1978. One of the threads leading from the Arcades Project, this essay defines “auratic” objects as those that derive their value from their history, uniqueness, and authenticity. Benjamin imparts a paradoxical status to auratic works, however.
Art History and Its Institutions: The Nineteenth Century by Elizabeth Mansfield