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argumentation, art history, artistic organization, conceptual art, critical companies, Joseph Beuys


Lee Rodney



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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


The aim of this thesis is to explore argumentation studies as an alternative approach to art interpretation, and, in parallel, address the possibility of conceptual art as an area of interest to argumentation studies. While the expanded field of argumentation admits a growing range of argument modes, it has not yet tackled the argumentative potential of conceptual art. While art history and visual studies offer a variety of effective methodologies, the emergence of new artistic practices and the ensuing advent of revolutionary art forms – as are artistic organizations – call for more adapted and updated approaches. The interdisciplinary scope of the Argumentation program at University of Windsor provided a unique laboratory to consider the intersections between argumentation, art, and economic thinking – intrinsic to artistic organizations – and to build bridges between the disciplines that should facilitate future transit among them. Moreover, the program offered a setting where art could be contemplated as a meaningful, communicative endeavor with a significant purpose. A case study presenting an economic claim posited as art was the first incursion into unexplored territory. Through the work of Joseph Beuys, I examined central questions, such as the artist’s relevance as economic thinker, the potential of art as argument, and the viability of the artist as arguer. Furthermore, I considered various argumentation frameworks and put them to the test in the case study. Although experimental, the results are promising, offering new insights and perspectives for both art and argumentation scholars.

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