The Fate of the Object: From Modern Object to Postmodern Sign in Performance, Art, and Poetry

The Fate of the Object: From Modern Object to Postmodern Sign in Performance, Art, and Poetry

by Jon Erickson
     
 

ISBN-10: 0472106139

ISBN-13: 9780472106134

Pub. Date: 10/15/1995

Publisher: University of Michigan Press

The Fate of the Object traces the historical shift in focus from the "difficult" essential object of modernist theater, art, and poetry to its transformation as a sign in a postmodern field of signs. In modern art, the central object had been the abstract painting; in theater, the body of the actor; in poetry, the sonic, visual and grammatical elements of

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Overview

The Fate of the Object traces the historical shift in focus from the "difficult" essential object of modernist theater, art, and poetry to its transformation as a sign in a postmodern field of signs. In modern art, the central object had been the abstract painting; in theater, the body of the actor; in poetry, the sonic, visual and grammatical elements of the poem. Spanning several disciplinary boundaries, this ambitious and pioneering book examines how the very process of refinement to locate the essential modernist object dissolves the figure of that object into its signifying ground. Jon Erickson argues that this historical shift from modern object to postmodern sign reflects significant transformations in capitalist society—among them the shift from a production economy to a service economy, the change from a sensually rich to a conceptually alienated cultural consciousness, and the rise of poststructuralist theory as the predominant determiner of value within contemporary art culture.

Erickson examines the body as the central object of theater and performance through the theories of Craig, Sartre, Brecht, Artaud, and Grotowski. The art chapter discusses such artists as Malevich, Ad Reinhardt, Duchamp, Warhol and Kosuth, tracing the progression of the abstract painting to its reduction or disappearance in conceptualism and minimalism. The poetry chapter examines Pound's Imagism, Concrete and Sound Poetry, and the contributions of Gertrude Stein and the recent Language Poets. Finally, the author questions the role poststructuralist theory has played in the shift from modern object to postmodern sign and how it may affect our attitudes toward the materiality of the world.

Jon Erickson is Assistant Professor of Drama, Ohio State University.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780472106134
Publisher:
University of Michigan Press
Publication date:
10/15/1995
Pages:
272
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)

Table of Contents

Preface
Ch. 1The Fate of the Object in the Modern World1
Ch. 2The Sign of the Body and the Body of the Sign: Objectification in Modern Theater47
Ch. 3Art as Object, Art as Definition89
Ch. 4The Material Word: Cultural Invention and Intervention137
Ch. 5Form, Attitude, and Material Conditions183
Notes211
Bibliography229
Index239

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