Twentieth century critical thought explored the relationship between art, aesthetics, and politics. In the case of Argentine culture, critical thought historically maintained a tense rapport with politics, a relationship that articulated its ideas explicitly in the public arena. One of the cultural forms through which this relationship was performed and discussed was the “happening,” which simultaneously questioned the notions of art work and artist in institutional spaces. After the era of dictatorship and the neoliberal practices and economic and social crises that followed, Argentine culture in the twentieth-first century operates in a landscape where certain performances not only represent a series of relations (between aesthetics, art, spectacle, politics, market, etc.), but also stage open-ended cultural interventions through new definitions of the art work, artist, margins, aesthetics, and mass culture. By exploring these new scenarios, the field of culture shines light on how the political is not a separate field and it participates in cultural production, at the same time that it shows how such production can intervene politically in areas inaccessible to politics.
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