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Art, the Architectonic and Functionality

Beesley, Thomas Charles (2017) Art, the Architectonic and Functionality. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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Abstract

What is the status and position of the ‘functional’ art object? My research has sought to consider the role of the object in recent examples of socially-engaged art practice, by examining the notion of the ‘useful’ in contemporary art as conceptualized by theorist Stephen Wright and his advocates. By interrogating the praxis of the Turner Prize winning architectural collective Assemble and the deeper social-engagement of American artist Theaster Gates, I have sought to decode the institutional structures supporting their work, permitting a more nuanced assessment of the status of the useful object as art. During my research I undertook a six-month collaborative project with the staff and students of an M.Arch module at the Sheffield School of Architecture. The module addressed issues of local energy generation and use within a geo-sociological context and gave me the opportunity to create a body of work in response to these themes of utility. Through the development of my own praxis, the concomitant practice-led research and the critical distance this has permitted, I have been able to consider art’s relationship to objects of utility within the epistemologies of both my art and design background. For, as I conclude, it may be better to view these objects as the result of socially-engaged creativity – as critically-engaged architectonic design – rather than objects of art, thereby encouraging contemporary art practice to continue to stand in autonomous opposition to the instrumentalizing forces of capitalism.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Related URLs:
Keywords: contemporary art
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures (Leeds) > Fine Art, History of Art & Cultural Studies (Leeds)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.729470
Depositing User: Dr. Tom Beesley
Date Deposited: 18 Dec 2017 10:41
Last Modified: 15 Oct 2018 13:21
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/18973

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