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Tom Burrow’s "Sculpture of Concrete, Sculpture of Dreams" or, looking for the utopian in the everyday

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Title: Tom Burrow’s "Sculpture of Concrete, Sculpture of Dreams" or, looking for the utopian in the everyday
Author: Anderson, Andrea Karin
Degree Master of Arts - MA
Program Art History
Copyright Date: 1997
Abstract: The plethora of Utopian ideas that circulated in North America and Europe in the 1960's and 1970's emerged in the work of Vancouver artist Tom Burrows. Utopianisms formed objectives for much of the social and political activism throughout the period, compelling Burrows to incorporate them into his artistic practice. Chapter One, The Utopian Moment, describes the most powerful Utopian ideas circulating in Vancouver at the time, their uneasy alignments and overt contradictions. Although contradictory, they were still instructive; and many artists responded with socially and politically charged art. In Chapter Two, The Utopian in Art, I contextualize Burrows' work with that of other artists whose ambitions were similar. Chapters Three and Four demonstrate Burrows' conflicted position by presenting two views of his work on the Maplewood Mudflats. In Chapter Three, The Mudflats as Utopian Ladscape, characterize this work as "useless" and romantic, as part of the 'aesthetic dimension' defined by Frankfurt School critical theory. Chapter Four, The Most Beautiful Sculpture, foregrounds the activist aspect of Burrows' work on the flats. This dialectic of beauty and utility informs Burrows' work throughout the period, from the participatory Sand Pile installation to the aestheticism of the sculpture comprising the Temptations of Mao Tse-Tung exhibition and the anti-aestheticism of the Squat Doc[ument]. The Squat Doc was a Utopian view of squatted and self-help housing at several sites in Europe, Africa and Asia. It is the subject of Chapter Five, The Everyday Utopia of Squatting. Burrows' conflicting and shifting positions were not limited to his own practice, but representative of artistic practices at the time. I want to demonstrate that Burrows' was among the most committed to fundamental change in art and society in this period.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2429/5829
Series/Report no. UBC Retrospective Theses Digitization Project [http://www.library.ubc.ca/archives/retro_theses/]

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