3 February 2008
AICA Award

BAK, basis voor actuele kunst and AICA the Netherlands (International Association of Art Critics) have the pleasure of inviting you to a lecture by Irit Rogoff, Professor of Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths College, University of London, entitled Taking Part on Sunday 3 February 2008 at 15.00 hrs at BAK on the occasion of the presentation of the AICA Award 2004–2006 to BAK.

Irit Rogoff: Taking Part

What does it mean to take part in culture, beyond the roles that culture allots us—roles such as viewer, listener, ticket holder, visitor, voter, etc.? How can we begin to think participation as something we generate, often at an unconscious level, for and through ourselves? Rogoff considers if the spaces of art can be thought as the “spaces of appearance” designated by Hannah Arendt and characterized as “speech and action,” loosely coming together for a momentary expression and then coming apart again. Would such a “space of appearance” designate the arenas of contemporary art as having a new political potential?

Press release AICA, Announcing the AICA Award 2007, 3 October 2007

The members of the Dutch section of the International Association of Art Critics (AICA) have decided in their general meeting to award the AICA Award 2007 to BAK, basis voor actuele kunst in Utrecht. In the last few years BAK has organized an impressive list of exhibitions on the border of contemporary art, politics and the community. Discussions, lectures, workshops and publications make up a fixed and equal part of the program that is focused on dialogue and reflection. What is the role of art and artists these days? The old concept of education is given new and contemporary meaning at BAK. BAK has managed to secure its own position in the landscape of museums and institutions for contemporary art in the Netherlands.

BAK originates from the artist initiative BeganeGrond. In 2000, Maria Hlavajova, who immigrated from Slovakia, was installed as artistic director and after a major reconstruction of the building located at the Lange Nieuwstraat, BeganeGrond was transformed and reconceptualized to become BAK starting in 2002. ‘BAK initiates cooperative projects with artists and other professionals to explore the possibilities and potential of the contemporary arts,’ according to Maria Hlavajova in the mission statement on the website. BAK wants to ‘create a mental space for examining the potential of art to conceive the world otherwise.’

Examples of the thorough and consequent way in which BAK chooses its projects and presents them include the following: in 2004, Warte Mal!, a video installation by the Swedish Ann Sofi Sidén, portrayed the misery around assaults against women, prostitution and drug dealing and Raw Footage/Scapegoats by Aernout Mik (2006) (who had already taken part in BAK’s 2005 project Concerning War), showed a compilation of images of the war in Yugoslavia that had never been broadcast by any news channel.