“All I can tell you is what it feels like when you leave the studio…. it’s like you have a bunch of rocks in your stomach [and] then, all the trouble starts…. You have to go through it, like somebody preparing for sacred vows, the sensation of you putting paint on…. You do it and the work is done…. And then you leave the studio and those rocks aren’t there anymore.” [1]

[…] “To say that Stella, Warhol, and Smithson invoked the industrial is not to say that these artists worked literally to make machines, or sought employment in actual factories […]. What Stella, Warhol, Smithson, and other purveyors of the 1960s technological sublime intuitively understood was the need to play the codes: that is, to tolerate the seemingly necessary and always enforced ‘uniqueness’ of the art object and establish their own author-functions within art discourse (through statements, interviews, exhibitions), while simultaneously asserting and performing assembly-line production techniques, ‘executive artist’ efficiency, or geological agency that resonated with other cultural systems. […] [T]he artists of the 1960s unified the iconic [image of] and the performative [doing of] in the place of the studio (or, in Smithson’s case, in place of the studio), effecting this change across ‘styles’ and ‘isms’ as different as Minimalism, Pop, and Earthworks and expressing it in the useless objects of Art. That they sought (and achieved) a kind of sublimity (in technological form) is a measure of their ambition—to reach for that overwhelming response that had always been held out as the highest goal for American art. […] Stella’s praise of ‘executive artists’ and use of assistants in producing his brand was one unifying [of the ‘iconic’ and ‘performative’] move; another was Warhol’s conversion of studio into Factory, use of assembly-line silkscreen techniques on serial objects, and claims to delegate art production to ‘Brigid’ and ‘Gerard.’ A seemingly final, ‘post-studio’ stage was initiated by Smithson, who moved art production to the industrially mediated peripheries of abandoned quarries and mining sites, and located its meaning in discourse rather than in the object above all else. This was not some ‘Triumph over American Painting’ (to twist the standard paean against itself). It was an inversion and critique, an “anti-romantic anti-studio” dependent for its luminous salience on the Romantic constructs of an earlier age.” […] [2]

[…] “During the 1990s, many companies that had traditionally manufactured their own products and maintained large, stable workforces embraced what became known as the Nike model: don’t own any factories, produce your products through an intricate web of contractors and subcontractors, and pour your resources into design and marketing. Other companies opted for the alternative, Microsoft model: maintain a tight control center of shareholder/employees who perform the company’s ‘core competency’ and outsource everything else to temps, from running the mailroom to writing code. Some called the companies that underwent these radical restructurings ‘hollow corporations’ because they were mostly form, with little tangible content left over.” […] [3]

Fig. 08.11.01 "Art is the ultimate luxury." Screenshot from http://www.daum.fr/en-eu/

Fig. 08.11.02 Bruce Nauman, Walking in an Exaggerated Manner around the Perimeter of a Square, 1967-68.

1. Quote from Phillip Guston, 1966, reprinted in:
Caroline A. Jones, Machine in the Studio: Constructing the Postwar American Artist, (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1996), 1.

2. Caroline A. Jones, Machine in the Studio: Constructing the Postwar American Artist, (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1996), 57-8.

3. Naomi Klein, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, (New York: Picador, 2007), 359.

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