Functional Anarchism(s) and the Theory of Global Contemporary Art

By Michael Frederick Rattray

Functional Anarchism(s) and the Theory of Global ContemporaryArtinvestigates the intersection of art and anarchist philosophy in order to shed light on the phenomenon of global contemporary art. Many scholars have addressed the impact of anarchism upon modern art, yet such studies tend to stop short of the contemporary era and do not consider that anarchist philosophy is a latent influence upon contemporary art. This thesis explores howanarchist ideas continue to pervade contemporary art practices and discourses, and I argue that anarchist philosophy is increasingly relevant to a contemporary art world in the process of becoming globalized. This thesis therefore provides a critical re-reading of anarchist literature, select avant-garde theories, and art historical scholarship, in order to provide a newly relevant genealogy that helps to account for a theory of the global contemporary art world. Much of this thesis focuses on a critical reassessment of the modern art paradigm in order to show that there is a viable theoretical foundation for a discussion of today’s global art world as a kind of anarchism.


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