Relational Aesthetics

Why the idea of art survives: Because even a dead horse has its use. It breeds maggots. It facilitates a social occasion.

At any given art opening, the more theatrical of the attendees easily outshine the work on display. When relational aesthetics became the vogue in the ‘90s, the rubric validated what had been happening in art since the ‘60s, if not earlier: the occultation of the work of art by the art milieu. Warhol appears to have fully grasped the implications of this when, at the end of the ‘70s, he came up with Shadows, a work that once adorned the walls of Studio 54. As usual, he was ahead of his time. He did not need to wait for Bourriaud to inform him that the production of art had become ancillary to the staging of an art scene.