Hirschhorn

There seem to be many components that construct the meaning of a utopia or utopian art. In Richard Noble’s “The Utopian Impulse in Contemporary Art” he highlights the framework or reoccurring themes within utopian artwork; utopian artwork may include the use of the architectural model, the use of the manifesto, references to design and technology, and small and large-scale collaborative actions. Joseph Beuy said that he, “wanted art to be democratic, open and accessible to the participation of all, because this respects the fundamental equality of persons as creative beings, and because art is good for people, it is therapeutic, it can rescue us from the traumatizing and dehumanizing effects of individualism, instrumentalism and competition.”

In a 2000 interview with Hirschhorn and Okqui Enwezor, Hirschhorn commented on utopia as, “something to aim for, a project, and a projection. It is an idea, an ideal. It is right; it is wrong. Art and making artwork are utopian. But a utopia never works. It is not supposed to. When it works, it is a utopia no longer.”

Hirschhorn’s “Gramsci Monument” is a monument that is temporary, incorporates reoccurring utopia themes (listed above), and follows his idea of a utopia (noted above). His monument encouraged the participation of the community in both the development as well as the operation. This was a temporary place, as it was taken down in the fall months, which gave people an opportunity to escape from reality by attempting to create and work in this environment. As Hirschhorn noted, “A utopia is something to aim for, a project, and a projection. It is an idea, an ideal. It is right; it is wrong. Art and making artwork are utopian. But a utopia never works. It is not supposed to. When it works, it is a utopia no longer.” I believe that Hirschhorn’s Gramsci Monument was a representation of his idea of a utopia. It was interesting to note that once this place was removed people had missed it and wished that it would return yet none of these people seemed to be passive about their desire for it to return.

Mackenzie Connor

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