Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Almost NothingObservations on precarious practices in contemporary art$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Anna Dezeuze

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780719088575

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719088575.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM MANCHESTER SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.manchester.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Manchester University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MSO for personal use.date: 27 May 2022

Junk aesthetics in a throwaway age

Junk aesthetics in a throwaway age

(p.38) (p.39) 1 Junk aesthetics in a throwaway age
Almost Nothing

Anna Dezeuze

Manchester University Press

For Arendt, the fragile balance between labour, work and action that lies at the heart of the human condition was fundamentally endangered by the planned obsolescence characteristic of the new post-war consumer capitalism. Artworks displaying a ‘junk’ aesthetic produced on the East and West Coasts of the United States in the period between 1957 and 1962 can be read in light of Arendt’s perspective, which intersected with both sociological critiques of the new capitalism and the writings of Zen master D.T. Suzuki and other popularisers of Zen Buddhism. Jack Kerouac’s 1958 novel The Dharma Bums resonated with both critiques of consumer society and newly discovered Zen alternatives. This chapter outlines some of the links between Kerouac’s Beat aesthetic and the assemblage and happenings of the early 1960s, by analysing the reception of landmark exhibitions such as The Art of Assemblage in 1961, and the practices of Robert Rauschenberg, Claes Oldenburg, Bruce Conner and Allan Kaprow.

Keywords:   ‘Junk art’, Assemblage, Beat culture, Happenings, Obsolescence, Zen Buddhism, ‘Organisation man’

Manchester Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.