Art Demonstration: Group Material and the 1980s
Grace distinguishes between two types of Group Material projects: room-scale interiors featuring distinctive wall treatments, soundtracks, and boundary-crossing arrangements of objects, and works in spaces usually reserved for advertising. Grace analyzes the group's practice in both categories, examining such well-known projects as AIDS Timeline (1989) and Democracy (1988–1989) and lesser-known works including Subculture (1983) and The Castle (1987). Grace shows that the politics running through Group Material's practice ultimately resides in the artists' particular recourse to the exhibition form. With that bearing, Group Material's work insisted on the material in the face of postmodern theory's privileging of the discursive, and redistributed authorship within protean and pivotally diverse collective structures, testing in so doing the ever fragile contours of democratic participation as art became a commodity for speculative investment.
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