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[Xmca-l] Destructive "Creativity" and "Creative Destruction"

Every work of Beuys's that I've ever seen or even heard of requires
enormous amounts of text to understand. So for example "How to Explain
Pictures to a Dead Hare" is comprehensible without the action, while the
action is incomprehensible without the explanation.

Someone compared it to the Mona Lisa, and Beuys hastened to disagree. But I
agree with the comparison: when we experience the Mona Lisa, we do so
through the various elaborations, extensions, and explanations of the work
we have experienced, and this is no less true than when we are experiencing
the picture face to face than when we are looking at it in a book. Meaning
lies elsewhere, and so it is more a piece of language than a piece of

I think performance artists get even more frustrated with this distancing
than other artists (because they like to think of their artwork as somehow
more in your face and unmediated than cinema or theatre). So they do really
stupid things, like this:


As you can see, there is no difference--none whatsoever--between what Ai
Weiwei is doing in China and what the IS is doing in Northern Iraq, except
that maybe the IS has the brains to use fakes and unload the originals on
the black market for cash. Destructive "creativity" is really just an
inverted world--and when we put it back on its feet again, we just see the
"creative destruction" of everyday life under capitalism.

David Kellogg
Hankuk University of Foreign Studies