Jacques Rancière: Contemporary Art & The Politics of Aesthetics.

art versus Art. In his article, Rancière argues that art is a product of techniques, whereas Art is works that are curated in a museum space.  While people may recognize art as a product of skilled technique, art is typically not valued by society as Art unless the work is installed in a museum or gallery space.  How and why do museums decide what works are considered Art?

Rancière also brings up the idea of the imaginary museum, a result of photography, which challenged the secrets of the physical museum, as works of art were often mass produced and shared globally.  Today, this is true for some works or art, as it has become fairly easy to share images via multiple digital platforms.  However, museums still have some power over the secrets they choose to hold within their walls.  Today many museums prohibit photography within their galleries and oftentimes do not place digital images of their work online; requiring us to become patrons of their institutions and physically enter the museum to participate in the experience of viewing of real Art.

selections from the text:

“There is art insofar as the products of the number or techniques, such as painting, performing, dancing, playing music, and so on are grasped in a specific form of visibility that puts them in common and frames, out of their linkage, a specific sense of community” (Rancière 31).

“First off, Art is not made of paintings, poems, or melodies.  Above all, it is made of some spatial setting, such as the theatre, the monument, or the museum…. They are all matters of spatialization” (Rancière 31).

“Making fictions, does not mean telling stories. It means undoing and rearticulating the connections between signs and images, images and times, or signs and space that frame the existing sense of reality.  Fiction invents new communities of sense: that is to say, new trajectories between what can be seen, what can be said, and what can be done” (Rancière 49).

“What can be the the ultimate paradox of the politics of aesthetics is that perhaps by inventing new forms f aesthetic distance or indifference, art today can help frame, against the consensus, new political communities of sense” (Rancière 49).


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