Sherri IrvinJun 10, 2022
Rules in Contemporary Art
Oxford University Press 2022
Art forms have rules, usually implicit, that govern the experiences that artists want their audiences to have: for example, a representational painting should be hung right-side-up, the same sort of paint medium should be used in restoration, and the painting should not be touched.
In Immaterial: Rules in Contemporary Art (Oxford University Press 2022), Sherri Irvin argues that contemporary conceptual art is constituted by custom rules as well as by their physical medium: the artist may specify that the work is intended to be handled, eaten, made out of anything, or even installed however the gallery or museum wants to. On Irvin’s view, such rules are essential for expressing a work’s meaning, even though they can also make that meaning difficult for audiences to grasp. In this illustrated volume, Irvin, who is research professor of philosophy at the University of Oklahoma, considers a wide range of contemporary works to present, elaborate, and address challenges to her view.
Carrie Figdor is professor of philosophy at the University of Iowa.