Seminar

9 November 2007

Shaping Public Discourse: Daily Art Criticism

One could say that art criticism has traditionally played a crucial role in the public sphere; in judging artistic production as a stand-in for “the public,” the critic applied, modified, and at times challenged widely held beliefs about the function of art. In the last few decades, however, this function has been redefined, positioning the art critic as a mediator or translator between complex works of art and a puzzled public. The role of art criticism has not only been challenged by developments in the realms of mass media and art; criticism that appears in print media (such as newspapers) suffers under pressure due to new (digital) media and decreasing profits. Papers feel obliged to change their content as well as their visual identities, privileging shorter news snippets or human-interest interviews over sustained analysis. Meanwhile in art, research-based, collaborative, and discursive practices have emerged that call for a different sort of critical engagement than the critic passing judgment on works in the name of the public and/or explaining the work to his/her readers. Such practices, including the present project, intend to create a different sort of publicness, and engage—considering art’s own specific but communicative language—in debates about society and politics. Yet the need for the “daily” presence of art writing in the mainstream press should not be overlooked. Active and influential writers for different dailies in and out of the Netherlands are invited to confront the limits of this situation through their own practice and experience, as well as to consider how a shift in the current state of affairs might be possible.

In collaboration with

Suggestions from the archive

Exhibition

10 March 2019–05 January 2020

BAK, basis voor…

In the series BAK, basis voor…, BAK joins forces with other organizations in addressing shared urgencies and developing propositions for “being together otherwise.” The series is part of the preparatory phase of the forthcoming project Trainings for the Not-Yet, organized by artist Jeanne van Heeswijk and BAK from September 2019–January 2020.

Exhibition Project

14 September 2019–12 January 2020

Trainings for the Not-Yet

Together with artist Jeanne van Heeswijk, BAK, basis voor actuele kunst presents the project Trainings for the Not-Yet, starting September 2019. The project consists of an exhibition as a series of “community learnings,” performative workshops, artworks, learning objects, and conversations. In the framework of this project, intensive collaborations with (inter)national artists, theorists, and activists take place, as well as collaborations with initiatives and communities based (mainly) in Utrecht.

Education Program

23 September–28 October 2019

Course: Art and Politics (BAK Public Studies)

From 23 September until 28 October 2019, BAK organizes the course “Art and Politics.” In six weekly sessions, the participants learn about how contemporary art relates to the political in an accessible way. The course is taught by Maria Hlavajova, BAK’s general and artistic director. Deadline for registrations: 17 September 2019.