Baudrillard & Contemporary Artist

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  • Topic: Art, Conceptual art, Marcel Duchamp
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  • Published : March 30, 2013
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Baudrillard and Contemporary Artist

Shannon McDonell
Post Structuralism
Diane Zeeuw
December 6th, 2012

We live in the world of science fiction. With our ipods, iphones, tablets, laptops, etc. we have a vast amount of information on our finger tips. Through all of our online networks, blogs, websites, etc. we have a whole virtual world online. Baudrillard would term this as hyper reality where there is so much information exchanged that the foundation of our reality has changed. We are building off copies of copies and restructuring ideas that have already existed. Any kind of information about anything can be accessed via Internet. If people don’t stay caught up they will be left behind in our modern world. Computers need to be repurchased or majorly upgrade every couple of years to keep up with the more demanding new software. New cell phones have advance applications where it surpasses that of the older technology. Parents can install a tracking system in their children’s phones so they can always be found online. How do we deal with this excessive amount of information we are bombarded with? Where does the contemporary artist fit into this world? Baudrillard has stated that there will always be more reality, because it is produced and reproduced by simulation, and is itself merely a model of simulation (Baudrillard, 1996, p.17). He continues to say that reality has been driven out of reality and only perhaps technology still binds together the scattered fragments of the real (Baudrillard, 1996, p.4). In other words, he thinks that reality and origin do not exist and we cannot escape the world of stimulation and illusion. Illusion is indestructible (Baudrillard, 1996, p.19). There is nothing deeper underneath the surface and there are no hidden meanings to uncover. When something is too extreme, it no longer holds its origin or originality and becomes an illusion. For example, being more real than reality, having more art than art nullifies the origin because of its extremities. Some of Baudrillard’s ideas may seem radical, but there is a grain of something honest that he is saying. How technology and how we communicate with each other shapes our consciousness and how we perceive the world. So much of our experience is through the television screen and Internet that we don’t need to leave our homes to live our lives. We could have our food delivered to us and we could work at home and be connected to the outside through the World Wide Web. The necessity of living outside is no longer essential and we could live our lives through the screen.

In Baudrillard theories, there is a relevant connection to the progression of art in the 20th century and today’s contemporary art starting back with Marcel Duchamp’s work. As Sylvère Lotringer states in The Conspiracy of Art, “We have grown so accustomed to take art with a sense of awe that we cannot look at it anymore with dispassionate eyes, let alone question its legitimacy. This is what Baudrillard had in mind, and few people realized it at the time. First one has to nullify art in order to look at it for what it is (Lotringer, 2005, p.18).” To Baudrillard, he wasn’t attacking the art world, but seeing it for what it was: nothing. When he describes Duchamps work, it is this artist that began to dissipate meaning in art. The readymade created a paradox between what’s a real functional object and what is an art piece. Duchamp’s Fountain or Bottlerack were objects that one could purchase at any hardware store. Since he signed these objects and placed them in a gallery the function of these objects changed because the context of their use altered. The Readymade being taken out of its functional context and into the galleries, we begin questioning what constitutes as art (Baudrillard, 2005). Baudrillard describes these objects as being more real than real, more art than art, in other words, these objects became a hyperreality where there...
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