Conclusion on Cannonisation


Canonisation is ingrained in society’s approach to organization and historical preservation. Without some form of canon to formulate the discussions and new ideas around, art would flounder.  Our inherent “will-to-form” (Read, 1982, p.268) paired with“a quest to order the world, the desire to collect” (Meecham and Sheldon, 2005, p.206) and form an understanding of it, create firm boundaries through which it is hard to break.

With this understanding of our own limitations, it would be fair to say that, instead of denying the canon entirely we should re-envision a more inclusive network to frame the future of art. One solution could be an idea that sprung from the biological term ‘rhizome’, meaning “a prostrate or subterranean root-like stem emitting roots and usually producing leaves at its apex; a rootstock.” (Gartler, 2006).A “rhizome is non-hierarchical, heterogeneous, multiplicitous, and acentered.” “The rhizome is both heterogeneous and multiplicitous. It can be entered from many different points, all of which connect to each other. The rhizome does not have a beginning, an end, or an exact center.”(Gartler, 2006). In short, a rhizome is equal in its organization of data and has already begun to be used in the context of art. As Wenny Teo sums up quite nicely, “the global contemporary art world itself is now more akin to the rhizomatic, deterritorializing and interconnected patterning of the Internet, in effect rendering the hierarchical organization of canons and the implied authority of the traditional gatekeepers obsolete.” (Iskin et al., 2017, p.99). This implies that a rhizomatic structure within art is already beginning to take the place of the outdated method of canonization. So, a new form of canonization has found its place in art now, both through challenges of associated mediums and canons and through the collective re-evaluation of a hierarchical system.




  • Gartler, M., 2006. Rhizome. [Online]
    Available at:
    [Accessed April 2018].
  • Iskin, R. E., 2017. Re-envisioning the contemporary art canon: perspectives in a global world. New York: Routledge.
  • Read, H., 1984. The Meaning of Art. Kent: Faber and Faber Ltd.
  • Sheldon, P. M. a. J., 2005. Modern Art: A Critical Introductionion. Oxon : Routledge.


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