art is dysfunctional design

Looking for modern art in today’s museums, one must realize that what is to be seen there as art is, above all, defunctionalized design fragments, be it mass-cultural design, from Duchamp’s urinal to Warhol’s Brillo Boxes, or utopian design that—from Jugendstil to Bauhaus, from the Russian avant-garde to Donald Judd—sought to give shape to the “new life” of the future. Art is design that has become dysfunctional because the society that provided the basis for it suffered a historical collapse, like the Inca Empire or Soviet Russia.

From Boris Groys, “The Politics of Installation,” 2009.


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