does art matter?


The epilogue of DeLillo’s Point Omega returns the reader to the narrator’s sixth and final viewing of Gordon’s 24-Hour Psycho. During this visit, the protagonist interacts with other visitors and incorporates personal memories into his interpretation of the video sculpture in the gallery. His ruminations on news media, Hitchcock’s film, Gordon’s installation and his own experiences (detailed earlier in the novel), intermingle. In effect, these four forms of media – mainstream press, a classic film, a video installation and an award-winning novel – each reach their publics in different ways. But often they overlap, one folded into the other. This seems to be DeLillo’s point. His narrator’s deeply engaged reading of a contemporary art installation offers a dynamic model of the process by which art emerges from other practices, crystallizes in form and experience, only to move beyond those conditions in often-unpredictable ways to generate new narratives and knowledge. Art works are social subjects in this way, and not simply aesthetic objects. They are meaningful only when seen in relationship to a wider network of beliefs and practices, economies and exchanges. Art is the current, not the fixture.

more from Alexander Alberro at Frieze here.