Date of Award

Spring 6-1-2022

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Program

Global Arts and Cultures

First Advisor

Leora Maltz-Leca

Second Advisor

Sean Nesselrode Moncada

Abstract

Art critic for The Nation and professor of at Columbia, Arthur C. Danto led the charge with his essay “The End of Art” in 1984 to declare the end of art. Thirty-eight years later, the awareness of colonial problematics in the elite institutionalism of art history today warrants a reanalysis of art historical ontologies of progress (and their ties to colonialism), which have seemingly disbanded in the discipline’s current rhetoric. Because Danto’s historical framework to end art focuses on progress through artistic means, does it fall short or even negate itself by missing the deconstruction of colonial afterlives still present in art institutionalism? Moreover, does Danto’s end to art ultimately reiterate colonial and imperial dictations over time, and thus undercut a historical futurity for “non-Western” “artists”? In comparing Danto’s theoretical discipline with the work of Titus Kapar, Yuki Kihara, and Jason Garcia (Okuu Pin), I present a hypothetical dialogue between the art historical constructs of time and the present investment in decolonizing art with a critique through appropriation. Kaphar’s work underlines how representation can challenge the game of identity performance for the benefit of institutions, Kihara challenges the pervasive ignorance towards stereotyping Pacific Islanders by resisting and confusing the West-East binary boundaries, while Garcia challenges the hero complex historical figures still have in popular culture even if they are academically deconstructed. Ultimately, they perform a legitimacy to an end of Western hegemony that Danto alludes to.

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