Issue #21: “Art and Objecthood” at Fifty
For fifty years, Michael Fried’s “Art and Objecthood” has set the terms for the discussion of minimalism, or as he prefers to call it, literalism. More than just a commentary on a controversial set of works that challenged and largely eclipsed high modernism, “Art and Objecthood” has itself remained the subject of intense debate since it was first published in Artforum. It raises questions about the nature of art, of experience, of criticism, and of the relation of history to all of the above. For some of us, partisans as well as opponents of Fried’s views, “Art and Objecthood” is inevitable–a challenge that cannot be avoided. The essays and appreciations gathered in this issue offer variety. They are by “Art and Objecthood”‘s admirers, if not partisans, and suggest the breadth of ways its challenge can be felt and met. Fried’s battle with minimalism may be a topic for art historical study, but we are not finished reading “Art and Objecthood” yet. Our next issue will continue the discussion.