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Title

Rights: Power

Author

Walker Art Center

Date

2003

Institution Walker Art Center
In an article in Arts magazine (1990) titled "Minimalism and the Rhetoric of Power," Anna Chave argues that Minimalism is masculine in its aesthetics and intentions, condescending to audiences because it echoes authoritarian social powers. She notes that Minimalist artists created objects using common industrial and commercial materials, as well as limited types of geometric shapes. Doing so allowed the artists to associate themselves with the authority of industry and technology. This concept has been crucial to Minimalism from the beginning, as has the size and often the weight of their objects.

Jac Leirner's work uses the model of Minimalism to contradict, rather than create, a masculine, authoritarian intent. The objects used in Blue Phase were indeed manufactured by an ultimate authority: the Brazilian government. But Leirner chose the objects for their failure to symbolize power and industry. The banknotes are, in fact, powerless. Leirner inverts the values of authority and power, and uses her work to critique Minimalism's associations with industry, technology, size, and weight.

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Type: Commentary, online content
Source: Rights: Power, from the website Global Positioning: Exploring Contemporary World Art, 2003.
Rights: Copyright 2003 Walker Art Center
Added to Site: March 1, 2009