DEMONTEZING CONTEMPORARY ART THROUGH ANONYMITY: EXAMINING THE PRACTICES OF ATELIER POPULAIRE
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractMany western avant-garde movements have outwardly criticized the commercialism of the art market and held disdain for the large role that collectors played. Yet with many modes of resilience, almost all of these movements have been enfolded into collections and museums, even contemporary works which clearly critique the exorbitant prices at auctions and galleries and those who purchase them. Considering this phenomenon, I explore the reasons so many artistic movements fail in eschewing the commercial sector and use the expertise of economists and historians studying the contemporary art market as to what artistic practices might succeed. I posit that it is a true subversion of authorship, or rather anonymity which is key to subverting commodification. The conception of authorship within the paper is informed by Foucault’s What is an Author?, looking at the ways in which authorship influences the contextualization of an artist's work and the discord it surrounds. I use Atelier Populaire, a poster workshop and artistic collective active during the revolts of 1968, as a case study to examine my theories of anonymity as an effective practice to critique and avoid the embrace of the art market. Paris during the 1960s was a wellspring of philosophy, literature, and fine art that questioned the predominant role of authorship within their field. Atelier Populaire expanded on the practices of their predecessors and embraced anonymity within their work. They utilized three crucial tactics which allowed their work to circumvent the monetization. These methods were anonymity through collectivity, anonymity of intellectual labor, and anonymity by lack of proper authentication.
Degree ProgramArt History