The canonization of american experimental theater.


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The canonization of american experimental theater.
Theatre works chosen to represent the 1960’s American avant-garde.

MAIN SOURCE TO CONSIDER: introduction (authoer/lerrner) of “West of Center: Art and the Counterculture Experiment in America, 1965-197”
Definition of canon ,Definition of cultural taste and how cannons are created
Specific works that have been canonized (including works from allan kaprow and richard schechner, american experimental theater only)
What these works say about culture and their implications

to be in intro – The word canon originally comes from the Greek “kanon” meaning “rule”. The term canonization was initially used to refer to the act by which the Roman

Catholic Church officially declares a dead person to be a saint (1). After this declaration, said person is added to a metaphorical canon with those who have been

canonized before him.
However, today, the canon is also used to refer to “the list of works considered to be permanently established as being of the highest quality” (1). Having gained a

new meaning of “A general law, rule, principle, or criterion by which something is judged”, (1) the canon is now indicative of cultural taste because it shows what we

as a society chose to represent entire areas of artistic work.

concluision should answer -The complexity of this particular categorization lies within the fact that all these works are inherently aimed to be “unclassified” works.

We, as a society, have categorized works that were made to not fit in a category. By doing so, are we then destroying the inherent point of all these works? Or are we

fueling a never-ending cycle to break barriers in art? Will our categories always call for destruction and is there benefit in that?

POSSIBLE SOURCES (at least 2 needs to be used)

Greetham, David. “`Who’s In, Who’s Out’: The Cultural Poetics Of Archival Exclusion.” Studies In The Literary Imagination 32.1 (1999): 1. MasterFILE Premier. Web. 26

Feb. 2015.
The arguments present in this article are like many others, based on power and memory. Greetham argues that archives do not accurately represent our history but

instead present and idealized reflection of it. When they should represent the rules, they demonstrate the exceptions. As an example he uses the time capsule sent into

space that did not include many negative sides of history. He believes that archives are clandestinely politicized while being covered-up as objective representations.

He notes that often it is those things ignored that are most valuable and worth preserving. The article creates the a question such as: Not everything can be

remembered, so now what? ; and the paradox that abundance makes it easier to store and create but harder to manage. Greetham finally comments on our struggle to find

ways to navigate among cultural remains that repress as well as constitute our memory archives and gives a personal account on how exclusion works against his


Crowther, Paul. Defining Art, Creating the Canon: Artistic Value in an Era of Doubt. New York: Oxford UP, 2007. Print.
Crowther, aims to answer the questions of what art is; why it is valuable and why some more than others, through an epistemological and historical perspective as

opposed to his predecessors and their continuous emphasis on aesthetics. As a response to the “neo-conservative/ global consumerist degradation of artistic value”,

Crowther fights the notion depicting humans as subjects driven solely by economic and social demands. His theory that aims to overcome this degradation lies on the

fundamental value of creating art and the way it develops though innovation and historical rectification. He demonstrates his belief that narrow traditionalist terms

should not define the canon. The book primarily exemplifies Crowther’s theories by applying them to music, such as the reasons for the decline of musical provision in

schools. This information still proves to be valuable for the psychology behind canonization. Crowther also provides a perspective on why Designationist theories have

gained such eminence. He attributes such notions to consumerism, advertisement, the cult of efficiency etc.

(1) Simpson, J. A., and E. S. C. Weiner. The Oxford English Dictionary. 1989. Print.

Crowther, Paul. Cultural Exclusion, Normativity, and the Definition of Art. Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism (2003): 121-31. Print.
Crowther separates exclusionism (cultural exclusion) into two basic forms in the beginning of his article : explicit and tacit. He describes exclusionism’s explicit

mode as affirming the preeminence of one cultural group over the latter and excluding those groups from participation in society as long as the practices elemental to

their identities remain different than those of the ruling culture. He adds that tacit exclusionism involves similar elements but is generally unrecognizable as well

as unintentional and relates much broader attitudes. He notes that the rest of his arguments are based on tacit exclusionism. He observes the behavior of tacit

exclusion through the axes of normativity that are:
1. The factors that categorize and classify art form
2. The criteria among those factors that enable distinctions of merit between art works.
The first section of the article concentrates on formalist approaches to the definition of art and how their tacit exclusionism adds to a questionable comprehension of

normativity. Then, the article moves on to interrogate Designation definitions of art (based on the idea that artists’ designation of something as art due to a

theoretical perspective is central to the creation of art as opposed to the artwork itself) Crowther argues that this standpoint is tacitly exclusionist and relates to

broader problematic understandings of normativity. The third section of the article outlines artifactual imaging and its relation to the value of art. Finally, the

article investigates and artwork’s place compared to those similar and theorizes the definition of art in terms of exclusionism.


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