Theory 5 – Institutional Theory of Art

‘x is an artwork in the classificatory sense if and only if (1) x is an artefact (2) upon which someone acting on behalf of a certain institution (the artworld) confers the status of being a candidate for appreciation.

Doris Lessing ‘The cleft’ – This is an ‘artwork’ as defined by The Institutional Theory of Art due to the simple fact that it was read, accepted and published by a publisher. The book has also been widely critiqued as mentioned earlier, the literary critic Harold Bloom wrote an honest but scathing well as many others. The critics and publishers are people in a position of authority within the ‘artworld’ and as such thier recognition of ‘The Cleft’ make it a piece of art.

Hans Giger ‘Necromonicon’ – Necromonicon is a published compendium of images and as such has been recognized by publishers and critics.This work was recognized by the film director Ridley Scott who then asked Giger to create the aliens in the film ‘Alien’ heavily based on this work. Subsequent film directors have also taken the design of the aliens and used them in the sequels. Giger also received recognition for this work in 1980 by receiving an Oscar for Best Achievement for Visual Effects.

His work in Necromonicon has been very popular on the tattoo scene with many tattooists receiving requests for his designs (see image below).

Film Directors, Publishers, Critics and Tattoo artists alike are all prominent within the ‘artworld’ and recognize Necronomicon, therefore it would classed as art as defined by The Institutional Theory of Art.



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