By Kenneth W. Harrow
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For an early articulation of this link, see Siegfried Kracauer, “The Mass Ornament” (1927), in The Mass Ornament: Weimar Essays, trans. and ed. Thomas Y. : Harvard University Press, 1995), pp. 75–86. The ﬁrst lines of Guy Debord’s Society of the Spectacle (1967), trans. D. Nicholson-Smith (New York: Zone, 1995), pp. 11–12, read as follows: “The whole of life in those societies in which modern conditions of production prevail presents itself as an immense accumulation of spectacles. ” Siegelaub articulated the distinction between “primary” and “secondary” information in the following way: “For many years it has been well known that more people are aware of an artist’s work through (1) the printed media or (2) conversation than by direct confrontation with the art itself.
I get the feeling other people are ignoring issues that are difﬁcult to handle, for instance the presentation. SETH SIEGELAUB 37 SS: PN: SS: PN: SS: PN: SS: PN: SS: Yeah, well, not many people in the position to exhibit are even aware of the issues. I mean, it’s not an issue . . Galleries or museums begin to become a cliché situation, because they’re not equipped to deal with the art that’s being made today. You know, they conform and it’s new wine in the old bottles again. But I think that’s becoming very obvious.
How do the aims of what you are doing demand how you present? Do they dictate your presentation and, if not, what choices do you have in the presentation? And then one of the main problems seems to be the documentation which you are very actively involved in. How do you handle that? DENNIS OPPENHEIM: Okay. Well, let me see, ﬁrst of all, Burnham’s writing on an alternative to object sculpture I read, and I think that for the most part he’s . . ohh [laughs], what’s this, an entourage? [Interrupted by people leaving] What was the question?