joi, 26 februarie 2009

Conf: Museums and Civil Society

Martin Kippenberger
Museum of Modern Art Syros, 1993-97
Sign: Christopher Wool
Courtesy: Estate Martin Kippenberger

Museums and Civil Society
The Role of Artists, Institutions
and Politics Now!


Date: February 12, 2-7p.m.

Location: the New Museum,
Sky Lounge, 235 Bowery,
New York, NY 10002

Within the framework of the exhibition 'The Artist as Troublemaker –
the Museum and Civil Society' at the Austrian Cultural Forum NYC
(December 7th, 2008 – March 28th, 2009), the Kunsthaus Graz / LM
Joanneum organizes in co-operation with the New Museum and the
Austrian Cultural Forum a symposium on scenarios of recent and future
museum practice and theory. Curators, artists and scholars will
discuss urgent and fundamental issues, regarding the functioning of
museums in a world of crisis.

Undoubtedly, we are facing fundamental changes in the art- and museum
world. After a period of unprecedented growth, the new realities,
triggered by immense economic transformations, appear on the horizon.
Art has evolved over the years from modernism's avant-garde to a
highly popular phenomenon in a visual culture that easily absorbs
critical and dissident views within its institutional structure. A
wide range of institutions underwent changes and redefinitions that
matched many of the developments in the media- and art markets. Within
the framework and under the term "museum" we are continuously
witnessing striking developments that oscillate between the
commercialisation and the creation of new, so far unknown public
spaces, as well as the emergence of a whole range of often
contradictory formats, from "sheer entertainment" to "academic

All of this is built upon rather marginally reflected notions of the
various museums' statuses, between the American donor-based "private"
model and the European public situation, driven by "cultural
politics". What options are available for museums in a situation of
drastically changing parameters of institutional realities? How do we
want our institutional practice to look in the next years to come? How
will the museum as a part of civil society act in the near and further
future? What consequences it might have for the artistic practice?

The symposium concentrates on the most urgent issues, generated by
this situation. It investigates the role of "cultural politics" in the
functioning of museums and it collects reflections on various
positions in the US and Europe as well as globally under the auspices
of drastic financial and economic changes. It considers critical
artistic approaches and their presence in the museum perceived as a
location of contradictions. Is the museum still able to go beyond
borders of disciplines and to create connecting platforms for various
fields of knowledge? How can a museum nowadays be perceived as an
educational vehicle versus the general public, the schools,
universities and a professional field? What is the future of the
museum within educational politics? Last but not least, the symposium
investigates the museum's role as a dispositif to create new forms and
qualities of public space. Are there any innovative models able to
generate new definitions and developments of new for ms and dynamics
of the open public space?

Panel I: the artist and his/her critical position towards museum practice

Ann Temkin (curator, MOMA, NYC), Laura Hoptman (curator, the New
Museum, NYC), Elisabeth Fiedler (curator, LM Joanneum, Graz), Martin
Prinzhorn (professor, art critic, Vienna), Michael Clegg (artist,

Moderated by Peter Pakesch (artistic director, Kunsthaus Graz/LM Joanneum)

Panel II: the museum education and the development of the public

Maria Lind (director, CCS, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson NY),
Eugenie Joo (director of education and public programmes, the New
Museum, NYC), Marco de Michelis (professor, Columbia University, NYC),
Dieter Bogner (the New Museum's board member, museum consultant,

Moderated by Katrin Bucher-Trantow (curator Kunsthaus Graz/LM Joanneum

Panel III: the museum's future perspectives

Lisa Phillips (director, the New Museum, NYC), Peter Pakesch (artistic
director, Kunsthaus Graz/LM Joanneum), Donald Preziosi (professor,
UCLA), Claire Farago (professor, University of Colorado Boulder),
Diana Thater (artist, LA)

Moderated by Adam Budak (curator, Kunsthaus Graz/LM Joanneum)


Kunsthaus Graz / LM Joanneum
The New Museum, NYC
Austrian Cultural Forum NYC

With the support of the departement for culture at the regional
governement of Styria

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