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Which clippings match 'Immigrant' keyword pg.2 of 2
06 DECEMBER 2009

ontology: singular and multiple forms of art

"Such attention to practice creates considerable pressure to adopt at least a dualist ontology of art, in the sense that our practices appear to embed a distinction between singular and multiple forms of art. Singular artworks are unique, occurring at only one place at a time. Paintings, collages, carved sculptures, and Polaroids are typical examples of singular works. Multiple artworks are those which are capable of having more than one occurrence in different places at the same time. For example, a novel may have many copies, a play many performances, a film many screenings, and a photograph many prints. Each of the occurrences is, in some way, a full–fledged presentation of the work.

This distinction appears to doom the simplest thought, that all works of art are physical particulars. It may be plausible to claim that a painting is a particular material object, or that a jazz performance is a particular physical event, but one cannot identify Alfred Steiglitz's photograph The Steerage with any one of its prints or Peter Schaffer's play Equus with any one of its performances. As Wollheim (1980) first pointed out, the occurrences are potentially many, and one thing cannot be identical to many distinct things. So too, such works survive the destruction or passing of their occurrences, even such epistemologically privileged occurrences as manuscripts and holographs. They must be some other sort of thing."

(Paul Redding)

Fig.1 Stieglitz, Alfred. The Steerage, 1907

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TAGS

1907Alfred Stieglitzartartworkcarved sculpturecarvingcollagecreative practicecritical theorydualism • Equus • essential uniquenessholographimmigrantjazz performance • Jewish photographer • manuscriptmaterial objectmateriality • multiple • multiple artworks • multiple forms of art • occurrence • ontologypaintingperformance • Peter Schaffer • photograph • photographic prints • physical eventPolaroid • prints • simultaneity • singular • singular artworks • singular forms of art • singular works • uniquework of art

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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