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Book Beyond Recognition: Representation, Power, and Culture by Craig Owens (1994-09-12)


Beyond Recognition: Representation, Power, and Culture by Craig Owens (1994-09-12)

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    Craig Owens(Author)

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  • Craig Owens(Author)
  • University of California Press (1726)
  • Unknown
  • 6
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  • By E. Burch on August 25, 2009

    I wasn't planning on writing a review of this text but am so irritated by the previous reviewers "review" I find it necessary to provide some sort of information about this serious collection of work.First of all Craig Owens was an outsider with a job a GENIUS. That means his insight is an art form, unique and idiosyncratic. He is not a Philosopher but a cultural critic with insights profound enough to cross disciplines. Yet because he reviewed art and so few are educated in art many curious minds are never introduced to his work. This does not mean the Aesthetic of Otherness as presented by Owens is discipline specific, nor does it mean Owens is not accessible. To understand Owens one must consider the work he references and its time period.Perhaps one of the most important essays in this delightful book is The Discourse of Others. This is assigned reading for most art students and cultural studies folks. The text explores the relationship between post-modernism and Lacanian polarity. This is a contradiction since to be a Lacanian one believes in the triad of symbolic order. This is the point, otherness is not responsive. He starts the essay with a heavy use of Frankfurt School Key words reminding the reader of allegory, of antagony of protagony... he reminds us of the economic history of culture. He continues on to present the dichotomy of disassociation and power as a matter of continual cultural unrest. Perhaps this is similar to an old friend reminding us that life has never been pretty, noting this is its glory. This visualization is accomplished with reference to the writing of Strauss and Derrida, Later he brings in the thesis ie the meaning of Otherness with a direct note by Paul Ricoeur a French Anarchist and humanist. Throughout the essay he discusses the rejection of reality, of propaganda and the reception of what we now call "new media" with reference to the media's creators. This is what makes Owens profound. He is discussing the creator in an ever evolving age of virtual and using scholars like Baudrillard to sell his case. Brilliant!In another essay Improper Names, Owens explores the relationship between cosmopolitan and local rhetorical conventions. He starts by exploring site specific conceptual art and anthropological works which incorporate the history, tradition and use of names. He discusses the insult of tourism, of accessibility , of simplification but celebrates the investigation. It becomes clear Ownes is concerned with a unique brand of isolated mass consumption, of the Branding of Otherness. Even making refernce to the work of Josef Beyus, whose personal friend once told me his work is the exploration of good people doing bad things. Making this point ever so bitter sweet. At the very least one could note some comparison to Foucault's concerns with Maddness, that as society we are obsessed with being normal, defining ourselves by the perception of illness.Overall Owens is a committed critic who's compelling work made note of current happenings in the cultural sector during the 1980's. He was a defining and innovating force participating in elite conventional communities while simultaneously challenging every aspect of its institutional nature. When reading Owens there is never a question of one's inclusion in the investigation as his writing is a labor passion.

  • By [email protected] on January 26, 2001

    I ordered this am awaiting it's arival. I went to the Barbara Kreuger exibit at the Whitney and It's the best art show I've ever seen. Her work is topical and cutting and an accurate criticism and contempt of societial standards in the Western world. If you want to be smart understand Barbara Kreuger.

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