[Oberlist] Fwd: The Museum and Contemporary Art

Anna Barseghian a-barseghian la utopiana.am
Lun Mar 10 21:41:32 CET 2008

>> The Museum and Contemporary Art
>> “Honor the art of the past, make contemporary art a blast.”[1]
>> The Copenhagen Doctoral School in Cultural Studies focuses on the  
>> often conflictive relationship between the museum and contemporary  
>> art in two workshops and a conference.
>> In the continuously changing landscape of art forms and  
>> definitions museums have always been confronted with the problem  
>> of selecting and therefore intervening in the evolution of art  
>> history. Today their choice seems harder than ever. Museums have  
>> to ask not only which artist is more pertinent than another, and  
>> distinguish the suitability of a given medium in the context of  
>> particular collections or exhibitions. The fundamentals of the  
>> relation between contemporary art and the museum are now  
>> challenged by the idea of the experience culture, which seems to  
>> be superseding that of culture as something to acquire, which used  
>> to inform exhibition practices in the museum. It is to the  
>> identification of the symptoms of this change as well as to the  
>> analysis of its impact on the relationship between the museum and  
>> contemporary art that The Copenhagen Doctoral School in Cultural  
>> Studies wishes to direct an inquiry.
>> Whether this situation originates in market interests, changes in  
>> artistic practices or pressure from municipal, regional, and  
>> national politicians under the influence of the trends of  
>> experience economy, it prompts reflection on the place and  
>> function of contemporary art in the museum. Which narratives on  
>> contemporary art are created inside and outside the museum walls,  
>> and how do they relate to the museum? How is contemporary art  
>> marketed and mediated? How is its story told by traditional and  
>> new stakeholders? How do artists navigate in the stream of  
>> experience culture?
>> Would one possible response to the development of contemporary art  
>> consist in upgrading mediation services? Do museums have to step  
>> up to the increasingly accessible nature of contemporary art by  
>> enhancing possibilities of engagement with the works through  
>> increased mediation? Would the idea of experience culture thus  
>> constitute another step in the history of the liquidation of  
>> elitist art – a history stretching back as far as the museum  
>> itself – examples of which can be found in Impressionism, the  
>> historical avant-gardes, and Minimalism? In this perspective, how  
>> could the increased interest in art forms and immaterial practices  
>> such as performances and net art be analyzed and how do museums  
>> answer the challenges linked specifically to their exhibition?
>> The impact of current transformations might be more fundamental  
>> than the call for more mediation would imply. It could be argued  
>> that the idea of experience culture transforms the nature of art  
>> itself, which would eventually convert the museum into a space  
>> dedicated to the much larger phenomenon of culture. Or, based on  
>> the same observation, the radical separation of historical and  
>> contemporary art could be suggested. In the context of a  
>> contemporary art, which seems to take its bearings from horizontal  
>> rather than vertical developments, one must also ask the question  
>> of the capacity of art historians to administer contemporary art.  
>> Should contemporary art at least partly be moved out of the survey  
>> museum?
>> The status of the art museum being fundamentally challenged by  
>> experience culture, the stakes of a large number of contemporary  
>> artists in the museum also merit attention. Is exhibiting in the  
>> museum simply a way to access important sources of finance which  
>> would remain beyond the reach of a purely political or socially  
>> oriented art? Is the museum merely one of many showrooms in a  
>> complex exhibition strategy in which the museum has lost its  
>> primacy? Do museums lose their specificity when engaging in the  
>> production of art, or may the reconfiguration of museums into  
>> production units constitute an answer to the changes it is  
>> currently facing?
>> The Copenhagen Doctoral School in Cultural Studies invites PhD- 
>> students, post-docs, and young researchers to participate in two  
>> international workshops and a conference committed to examining  
>> the challenges of exhibiting contemporary art in a museal setting.
>> The first workshop will take place at the University of Copenhagen  
>> on April 14 and 15 2008. 10-15 participants are invited to present  
>> a problem within the context of the conference subject. The paper  
>> (25-30 minutes) should include references to at least one recent  
>> exhibition or exhibition practice. Each presentation will be  
>> followed by a 30-minute discussion.
>> For the second workshop all participants will be asked to work on  
>> the exhibition Reality Check – Contemporary Art from the Mid-90s  
>> to the Present (Statens Museum for Kunst, http://www.smk.dk  
>> (English version available), September 2008 – January 2009).  
>> After a visit to the exhibition in September, paper contents will  
>> be agreed upon and prepared by each of the participants for a work  
>> session at the museum on October 4 and 5 2008. The exhibition  
>> curator, Marianne Torp, has agreed to take part in the discussions.
>> The workshops will provide the foundational work for a 2-3 day  
>> conference planned for March 2009. A separate call for papers will  
>> be edited for that event. Workshop participants are strongly urged  
>> to send in proposals, although all participants cannot expect to  
>> be included along with the invited speakers at the conference. A  
>> number of working methods will be pursued, ranging from public  
>> paper presentations to discussions of ongoing PhD and post-doc  
>> projects in smaller forums.
>> Participants should be prepared to engage very actively in the  
>> meetings. The working language will be English. External speakers  
>> may be invited for short presentations at both workshops, and  
>> working methods altered to best stimulate discussions as they  
>> progress. Depending on the outcome of the three sessions, and the  
>> possibilities of obtaining financial support a publication is  
>> envisaged. Participants should be prepared to submit a printed  
>> copy of their presentations for use in the discussions.
>> The Copenhagen Doctoral School in Cultural Studies sponsors lunch,  
>> coffee, and a dinner at each of the workshops. In addition, the  
>> conference will finance one return ticket for international  
>> participants at a reasonable tariff. This ticket is reserved for  
>> the visit of the exhibition in September. A limited number of  
>> scholarships are available for participants with no possibility of  
>> obtaining financial support from their home institutions (one  
>> plane or train return ticket per workshop). A short application  
>> signed by the director of the applicant’s home institution should  
>> be attached to the abstract.
>> Participation in at least both workshops in 2008, preferably also  
>> the conference in 2009, is required.
>> Abstracts of no more than 200 words, including a CV and contact  
>> information for one academic reference, should be sent to Manager  
>> Kirsten Zeuthen cds la hum.ku.dk no later than March 12 2008.  
>> Applicants should expect to receive an answer by March 14 2008.
>> The workshops and the conference will be organized and moderated  
>> by Rune Gade (PhD, Associate Professor, University of Copenhagen)  
>> and Jesper Rasmussen (PhD-student, University of Copenhagen and  
>> University of Paris-Nanterre).
>> [1] Danish art historian Julius Lange jokingly suggested this  
>> phrase as an inscription for the new State Museum of Art in a  
>> private letter dating from 1896. See Villads Villadsen: Statens  
>> Museum for Kunst 1827-1952 (Gyldendal, Copenhagen, 1998): 125.

Anna Barseghian, presidente
Quai Capo d'Istria 9,1205 GenĂšve,Suisse
0041(0)22 3209830, 0041(0)79 8249313
Zaroubyan 34, Erevan, Arménie
t.00374(10)565026, t.m. 00374(0)93518184

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