Tracking the postconceptual dimensions of contemporary art
If, as Walter Benjamin claimed, “it is the function of artistic form … to make historical content into a philosophical truth,” then it is the function of criticism to recover and to complete that truth. Never has this been more necessary or more difficult than with respect to contemporary art. Contemporary art is a point of condensation of a vast array of social and historical forces, economic and political forms and technologies of image production. Contemporary art expresses this condition, Osborne maintains, through its distinctively postconceptual form. These essays—extending the scope and arguments of Osborne’s Anywhere or Not at All: Philosophy of Contemporary Art—move from philosophical consideration of the changing temporal conditions of capitalist modernity, via problems of formalism, the politics of art and the changing shape of art institutions, to interpretation and analysis of particular works by Akram Zataari, Xavier Le Roy and Ilya Kabakov, and the postconceptual situation of a crisis-ridden New Music.