Dorothea von Hantelmann

How to Do Things with Art

At the heart of How to Do Things with Art lies the question of art’s relevance to society. How does art become politically or socially significant?

This book attempts to answer this question on a theoretical level, and to indicate, through the analysis of works by James Coleman, Daniel Buren, Jeff Koons, and Tino Sehgal, how artists can create and shape social relevance; in other words, to provide what could be called a pragmatic understanding of art’s societal impact.

If Hantelmann’s line of argument is based on the two theoretical premises of Langshaw Austin’s and Judith Butler’s notion of ‘performativity’, this book offers a real semantic of how an artwork, not in spite of, but rather by virtue of its integration in certain conventions, ‘acts’.

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