Sculpture Journal

Dematerialization, contracted labour and art fabrication: the deskilling of the artist in the age of late capitalism

Sculpture Journal (2015), 24, (3), 375–390.

Abstract

From 1966 to 1971 at least three art fabrication firms emerged in America: Gemini G.E.L, Lippincott Inc. and Carlson and Co. The latter two firms were solely devoted to the manufacture of large-scale public sculpture, then associated with minimalist artists such as Donald Judd and Tony Smith. The discourse surrounding the work of these artists highlighted a shift to the conception rather than the making of a work of art and also drew attention to the industrial aesthetic fostered, perhaps, by the outsourcing of labour. Rather than adopt a contemporary reading of these practices as ‘collaborative’, this article aims to understand the emergence of art-specific fabrication firms within the context of late capitalism in 1960s America. Thus, the shift to ‘dematerialization’ in art is read otherwise; that is, in relation to the deskilling of work – particularly in manufacturing industries – that took place across the twentieth century.

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Author details

Child, Danielle