Date of Submission

Spring 2011

Academic Program

Art History


Julia Rosenbaum

Abstract/Artist's Statement

The polarity between visible and invisible space as defined by the sculptor Gordon Matta-Clark acts as a frame for this project, in which works by five contemporary artists are placed in dialogue with one another such that dichotomies between authority and powerlessness, permanence and ephemerality, and remembrance and forgetting are brought into focus. Each of the works I address, by Matta-Clark, British sculptor Rachel Whiteread, Polish artist Krzysztof Wodiczko, and the collaborative team Kate Ericson and Mel Ziegler, mined the urban tensions between structures that mark themselves as overtly significant (like monuments and memorials), and those that do not, through the use of pre-existing sites. While there are an infinite number of building types and structures in cities that might fall into the category of “non.u.mental,” the artists this paper examines used commercial and domestic buildings that were either abandoned and empty, or inhabited and in serious disrepair.

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