Representation

Many artists beginning in the 1970s interrogated how subjectivity and subject positions were represented—or overlooked—by the prevailing institutions of art and society. To this end, artists introduced methodologies of feminism and psychoanalysis into the supposedly objective procedures of conceptual art. They also inserted gendered and sexualized objects into the ostensibly neutral formalism of minimalist sculpture. Indeed, Take It or Leave It adopts as its starting point the deeply influential practices of second-wave feminist artists, represented in this gallery by iconic works from the 1970s. By foregrounding both appropriation and the systematic deconstruction of our culture's institutions in their work, these artists radically altered the landscape of contemporary art, insisting that subjectivity and questions of representation be recognized within the museum context. In the late 1970s the medium of television became a vital area of investigation for artists, who called into question its seamless and timeless portrayal of a homogeneous culture and its effective dispersal of commerce across diverse cultural geographies. In much work committed to examining questions of representation, artists appropriated images or elements from other spheres and placed them in the art context in order to offer a critical perspective on past claims of art's universality.

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citation for this page
"Representation." Take It or Leave It: Institution, Image, Ideology Digital Archive. Los Angeles: Hammer Museum, 2017. https://​hammer.ucla.edu/​take-it-or-leave-it/​art/​themes/​representation/​.