JUDITH RODENBECK is an art historian and critic, and author of Radical Prototypes: Allan Kaprow and the Invention of Happenings (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2011). She teaches modern and contemporary art at Sarah Lawrence College.
This young century has seen the rise of an art genre devoted to a particular kind of performative repetition: the redo.
Two radically incompatible models of art are today in operation: one in which art is a luxury commodity produced by a specialist or professionally credentialed member of the creative class, and marketized accordingly; and the other in which art is a fundamental activity of what John Dewey called the live creature.
When I lived on the Upper West Side of Manhattan I would often see Linda Nochlin out for her constitutional, determined of step, fierce of gaze her shock of brilliant white hair and wildly patterned outfit heading off to Riverside Park or over to Columbus Avenue, maybe for one of those excellent crumpets from the baker on the corner.
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The photograph, in my mind’s eye, sharply picks out a slender, slightly balding tree positioned about two-thirds of the way up a gentle rise that has been meticulously mowed to within an inch of its life.