Publication Date

April 2018


Jonathan Cutler, Jeffrey Schiff


Sociology, Art Studio


English (United States)


This thesis takes as its point of departure the particularities of our present historical moment: a social order conditioned by the seemingly exponential pace of image and commodity circulation enabled by technological advancements under neo-capitalism. However, I push back against the domination of Marxist paradigms within the field of theoretical criticism to create space for alternative analytical frameworks and critical methodologies. This project has been structured by way of three components or stages: beginning with close reading a set of texts spanning critical social and political theory, art history, and philosophy; followed by a material engagement with these text?s theoretical implications through an art studio practice culminating in a body of work titled: ?Jamais Vu: A Fl?neur?s Dream World?; and finally, a written portion which engages a selection of the earlier readings alongside new material. Driven by neither a predetermined trajectory nor a singular point of inspiration, this project was instead motivated by a diverse set of personal, artistic, and intellectual concerns regarding modes of criticism, artistic production, and being in the world. My writing is inflected by thinking together the work of queer theorists, Eve Sedgwick and Jos? Mu?oz, in conjunction with the cultural critic, Walter Benjamin; the philosopher, Jacques Derrida; and the philosopher, Jacques Ranci?re. Through an elaboration of the burgeoning genre of art, Queer Formalism, I indicate this model is already beginning to take shape. Finally, I demonstrate the radical potential of queer aesthetic strategies via a formal analysis of a work of art by conceptual artist, F?lix Gonz?lez-Torres. Ultimately, I suggest a queer turn to the realm of the aesthetic offers a generous model and set of strategies for (dis)ordering the distribution of the sensible, for seeing and thinking the world anew.



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