"Write a comparison of 3 artworks from this reading on your blog. Consider the contexts in which these works were made. Please include images in your post!"

For this assignment I'll going to be looking into Robert Rauschenberg (US), Hans Haacke (Germany) and  Gavin Turk (British). In particular I'll be focusing on the work mentioned in the first two chapters of the book "A Very Short Introduction to Modern Art" by David Cottington. 

Left to right. Monogram (1951), A Real Time Social System (1971) and Bag (2000) . Rauschenberg, Haacke and Turk respectively. 



"Robert Rauschenberg and others mocked both rampant consumerism and ‘high’ art by making use of unusual materials, including a stuffed goat and rubber tyres."-Cottington, D. Modern Art: A Very Short Introduction, Feb 2005.  Chapter 1, Page 6.



"Hans Haacke, in a series of documentary ‘installations’ in which he laid out the results of research he had conducted into aspects of the museums who had invited him to exhibit – material that tended to look embarrassingly like those museums’ ‘dirty linen’." Cottington, D. Modern Art: A Very Short Introduction, Feb 2005. Chapter 1, Page 7.



"Such a mismatch between the public's language of ridicule and establishment apologetics has, of course, been characteristic of the relation between modern art and its popular audience for longer now than anyone can remember" Cottington, D. Modern Art: A Very Short Introduction, Feb 2005.  Introduction,  Page 1.

This three avant-garde artists come from different generations, Rauschenberg and Haacke much closer than Turk. This is reflected in the form of their struggle/ artwork. My perspective on these 3 pieces is that the artists are trying to provoke the setting where they are place. Perhaps this is more obvious in Haacke's piece exposing the institution supporting him. In Turk's work with trash bags it is a mockery of the absurdity of art, how craft is dead, context is the only thing that matters. In that sense, fine art is not a piece of work but what happens inside a gallery or a museum.  

In a way, it seems that this amorphous monster that avant-garde artist always find themselves fighting against is much larger than they can understand. It seems like no mater the size of the effort, the monster budges slightly, and swallows it all. Stronger than before. Cottington frames the struggle perfectly explaining how "The irony of the avant-garde is that the art that was meant to sit outside of the establishment now sits firmly in it."

Who knows, perhaps they are not fighting against the establishment, but for a place in it. 

Has the monster become so big that it will swallow anything as art? From trash bags to a pair of glasses left by a teenager on the gallery floor? 


List of Artists I couldn't immediately picture multiple pieces of work in my head  (I stopped at chapter 2.5 since I wasn't going to finish and needed to read in the subway):