My relationship with art is tumultuous. Whereas a lot of people instinctively recognize that as art that are conventionally labeled as such, I falter, not because I have some deep insight into what art is, but precisely because I don't. As Arthur C. Danto writes in his excellent The End of Art: A Philosophical Defense — and I'm paraphrasing — photography signaled a break in the development of art insofar as it was the end of painting as the traditional medium of art, eventually giving way to modernism, which marked the end of the historical development of art, and the transition to a philosophical inquiry — thus, the end of art and, in a sense, a freedom from the art-historical narrative and onto pluralist explorations of art's own identity.
Art, of course, doesn't end, but an uncritical, reflexive recognition of such wide-ranging works of “art” as such suggest a naïveté or willful ignorance on our part — bad faith actors indulging in self-deception or, one could argue, a conscious (or subconscious) reformulation of art (perhaps for convenience? a shorthand?), to identify as art that that contemporarily has as its essence what historically served merely as its medium — a painting, a sculpture — generic descriptors that themselves suggest art, confirming Hegel's early 19th century End-of-Art thesis, that art had become an object in itself instead of a means of representation, raising the question, art when it becomes conscious of itself, is it art?
Having caveated my reservations, thus preemptively staving off any accusations of what I'm about to call art as ludicrous, I'd like to present my “art”, titled Requiem for the Particular, originally presented at Etsy's internal art show in 2015 — the Etsy Biennale, as it was called — as a set of three pairs of framed visual juxtapositions, accompanied by the following text:
Requiem for the Particular
The danger of participating in ideology is the complex systemic silencing of any reflection apropos itself; core to its charter is the cultivation out of intentionality. The danger, then, of not participating in it is an exclusionary mechanism built-in to its schema that justifies expulsion.
Ideology brings with it a pseudo extinction of the particular. The particular’s particularity is lost by its very virtue, subsumed by the universal. In addition to this obvious and expected consequence, the universal acquires a perceived reification that the particular all but loses. The universal becomes the particular.
Influenced by the essays of critical theorists Max Horkheimer and Theodor W. Adorno in the Dialectic of Enlightenment, and the ideas of Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek, this work is a visual juxtaposition of the Particular under the Universal, a requiem for the former, insofar as its disintegration within the ideology of mass culture is perceived by the viewer.