Politics and Aesthetics: Partitions and Partitioning in Contemporary Art

Jacques Rancière defined the "distribution of the sensible" as the effect of a type of aesthetico-political decision-making that creates a partitioning of the realm of the perceivable in relation to both art and society. The artworld itself constructs its own particular types of curatorial partitioning: between "art" and "non-art," between "dominant, residual, and emergent," and between "mainstream" and "periphery." This essay examines certain "boundary effects" that develop as a result of the act of the partitioning itself and closely examines what arguably are two new categories in contemporary art: "crossover" and "interventionist." Both categories have a certain relationship to a culturally constructed boundary or partition. In the former, we see a type of artwork emerge that is the result of the overdetermination of the partition itself. In the latter, artworks appear that are antinomically situated at both sides of a partition simultaneously.

Clark, Jonathan Owen
Duque, João Lima
Contemporary Aesthetics