Artforms and Social Structure

Social Structure Art Form Example Music
Co-actional Invocational Chauvet Caves Orchestra
Inter-actional Evocational Leonardo de Vinci Quartet
Intra-actional Provocational Marcel Duchamp Punk
Multi-actional Revocational YBAs Sampling
Dysfunctional Convocational Ai Weiwei Soundscapes



Chauvet Cave Paintings

The image of the bear invokes it into the present – both the sign and the referent are the same.

A co-operative mark making process with no recognisable individuality – as an orchestra plays.


The Adoration of the Golden Calf 1633-4, Nicolas Poussin, Oil on canvas. 153.4 x 211.8 cm National Gallery London

The subject matter is a symbol of invocation – invoking the spirit of the calf.



Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519) (artist) c.1485-90, Pen and ink with brown and greenish wash, over black chalk, 27.8 x 19.7 cm, The Royal Collection
He took individuals apart – it evokes the spirit  – to bring to mind the spirit but not the spirit itself. The self awareness of the individual.
Intra- actional
Marcel Duchamp L.H.O.O.Q., postcard with drawn mustache, 1919, The title when pronounced in French, puns the phrase “Elle a chaud au cul”,  “She has a hot arse”.
Challenging the relationship between the individual and authority – provoking. A hundred years later still the reverberations from dadaism. The huge social upheaval due to WW1.
The Art Critic 1919-20 by Raoul Hausmann 1886-1971

Raoul Hausmann,  The Art Critic,1919-20, Lithograph and printed paper on paper, 318 x 254 mm,Tate


CS37_0048_Hirst_Instal_OH_GCRDamiaen Hirst, Some Comfort Gained from the Acceptance of the Inherent Lies in Everything 1996
Steel, glass, cows and formaldehyde solution (12 tanks) 
Each tank: 200 x 90 x 30 cm 

Revocational – the laws have been revoked – throw old the old. Went against the Bauhaus rules. The outside becomes the inside, the front becomes the back.


The structure that holds society together has broken down – the Church, the Monarchy, government. Art is being used to heal the cracks (Pierre Bourdieu)

Convocational – bringing the people together although they might nor know they are the art work.

Ai Weiwei brought together 1001 Chinese people for the 2007 Documenta in Kasell Germany as reported in the China Daily. As for the meaning of “fairytale,” Ai said it is “a simple desire for happiness.”Fairytale is a work which relates to social, political and cultural aspects,” he says.”I don’t even care whether it is an art work.”



An art project using an old football pitch for a temporary area for growing crops for the community.

The group then had a debate as to what art is today – is there still such a creature as an artist or, as anything/everything is art is the artist now redundant?


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