January 21, 2009

Let’s get critical: Conference in Copenhagen February 27-28 2009

The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Schools of Visual Arts

The relationship between art critical and art historical praxis is a contested area. Some maintain that the two fields are separate and delimited disciplines. The starting point for this conference is that art criticism and art history are closely related. However, how and when art criticism becomes part of art history is an ongoing question.

Let’s get critical will discuss what possible positions art criticism can take up in academia and in the field of contemporary art – a field marked by the demands of the experience economy of global capitalism and a cultural critique which attempts to grasp the democratic challenges posed by the new agendas of globalization and the flow of communication, migration and multiculturalism.

International scholars and art critics – James Elkins, Ruth Noack, Noemi Smolik, Sarat Maharaj, Ahu Antmen, Lars Bang Larsen, T. J. Demos, Lotte Phillipsen and Malene Vest Hansen – will investigate critical crossings between the two domains: art criticism and art history and address the following topics:

Critical reception in the global art market: displacement of the critic?
From what positions are art critical practices possible when the culture industry and the global art market become still more dominant? What strategies in institutional critique in art, criticism and art history have been viable since the 1960s?

Challenging hegemonic canons
How does art criticism challenge hegemonic canons of art and its history? This section will discuss instances of how a critical reception of contemporary art can inform the inscription and rewriting of art history.

Whose art and history?
The ‘good old’ modern Western concept of art seems to function smoothly at a global level – but is the ethnocentric paradigm challenged when implemented in new social and cultural settings? Which forms of cultural translations are operating here, and how?

Art criticism: wanted!
Where is art criticism heading? When contemporary art projects challenge new forms, strategies and spaces, from what platforms can art criticism exist? Art criticism has been pronounced dead, with no importance apart from fuelling the art market, or with no viable aesthetic theory to grasp new art manifestations. What possible critical positions can art criticism take today?

Friday February 27: The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts
Saturday February 28: University of Copenhagen

Info and registration – deadline February 18:


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