Susan Sontag’s “Against interpretation” & minimal art lecture response (Jillian Fox)

Susan Sontag’s “Against Interpretation” asks those who interact with art, describe art, critique art, and experience art to move away from interpreting works of art. Sontag believes the focus on the content of art is perpetuating this need to interpret art works and replace what they are with some meaning. This destroys the art, especially that art such as minimal art, which we are meant to experience because it is about the object itself. She argues that interpretation takes this sensory experience of the work of art for granted. Minimal artists, as we learned in lecture, talk about this “burden of meaning” and Sontag explains how in our culture, we are constantly trying to place meaning on everything in our world. She wants us to move away from focusing on the content so that we can see the thing for what it is at all. Minimal artists want us to see what is there. Sontag believe the only way to truly see an art for what it is, we have to pay closer attention to form in art and change our vocabulary to a descriptive one when discussing these forms. Sontag believes transparency is crucial. Transparency means experiencing the thing for itself without burdening it with interpreting and prescribing a meaning for a work of art. This is truly essential for minimalists. Minimal art strips down everything about an object to a mere presence and putting them into relation with ourselves. These artists wanted to move away from their own expression and focusing on no meaning and no content, just simply an experience with another presence. This art is about how an audience responds to objects in space, avoiding interpretation because it is about the viewer now, not about the creator.

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