July 29, 2019

Conference: Gatekeeping & Ethics in a Globalised Artworld

Faculty of Fine Arts and Music at the University of Melbourne

George S. Woodruff, Paul J. Sachs teaching in the Naumburg Room, Fogg Museum, 1944. Harvard Art Museums Archives, Fogg History Photographs.

National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
180 St Kilda Rd
Melbourne VIC 3000

Faculty of Fine Arts and Music at the University of Melbourne
Southbank Campus
234 St. Kilda Road
Melbourne 3006


Presented by the Centre of Visual Art (CoVA) at the University of Melbourne, Gatekeeping and Ethics in a Globalised Artworld will be held on Friday and Saturday, August 16–17, 2019 at the National Gallery of Victoria, and the Victorian College of the Arts, University of Melbourne.

Friday’s proceedings will close with the launch of the books Who Runs the Artworld: Money, Power and Ethics and A Companion to Curation, both edited by Conference Chair Professor Brad Buckley and Associate Professor John Conomos, at Buxton Contemporary. Register here.

The conference Gatekeeping and Ethics in a Globalised Artworld, draws on many of the ideas in the transdisciplinary book, Who Runs the Artworld: Money, Power and Ethics (Libri, 2017) and in the recent issue of the Journal of Asia Pacific Pop Culture 3.1 (Penn State University Press, 2018) and the forthcoming A Companion to Curation (Wiley Blackwell 2019), in seeking to articulate the forces of gatekeeping and ethics in our shared contemporary world.

This conference will attempt to delineate the unfolding intricacies, cultural anxieties, and issues salient to art, artists, curators and institutions in Australia, South East Asia and beyond.

This means questioning the many classist, colonialist, racist and phallocentric assumptions, beliefs and claims that have been traditionally entrenched in major Euro-American curatorial, aesthetic and museological traditions. Traditions where the various art forms of the different Indigenous peoples of the Americas, Australia and New Zealand amongst many groups, have been until recently, excluded by institutional and cultural gatekeepers. While many curators are seen as gatekeepers, a more pressing ethical issue is the relationship between curators, museums trustees, benefactors, and collectors.

These questions are further complicated by the global transition that we are witnessing: the passing of the 20th century, commonly identified as ‘the American century’, and the emergence of a new century that is now frequently referred to as ‘the Chinese century’. This is an era of geo-political upheaval, of ideological, strategic, socio-economic, and political uncertainties that may presage a new Cold War. The emerging trade war between China and the US, and China’s recent contestation of the South China Sea, are signs that there is a new political and cultural gatekeeper in the Asia-Pacific with different ethics. Will the rise of China disrupt the Western cultural hegemony and its gatekeepers?

This conference is supported by the Centre of Visual Art, University of Melbourne; Victorian College of the Arts; National Gallery of Victoria; and The Dr Harold Schenberg Bequest at the University of Western Australia.

Attendance is free, however booking is essential. Full details including session times will be available in the coming weeks.

Enquiries: cova-research [​at​]

Conference Chair Professor Brad Buckley (University of Melbourne)

Juli Carson
is Professor of Art at UC Irvine. She is also Philippe Jabre Professor of Art History and Curating at the American University of Beirut, 2018–19. Her books include: Exile of the Imaginary: Politics, Aesthetics, Love (Generali Foundation, Vienna, 2007) and The Limits of Representation: Psychoanalysis and Critical Aesthetics (Lerta Viva Press Buenos Aires, 2011).

Elke Krasny is a Professor at the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna. Her research, writing, and curating connects feminist praxis, spatial economies, urban analysis and curating's historiographies. Publications include the 2017 essays "Exposed: The Politics of Infrastructure in VALUE EXPORT'S Transparent Space" in Third Text and "The Salon Model: The Conversational Complex" in Feminism and Art History Now edited by Horne and Perry.

Speakers include: Mr Djon Mundine (independent Bandjalung curator and artist based in Sydney), Ms Julianne Pierce (independent producer, writer, artist and founding member of VNS Matrix), Dr Melentie Pandilovski (Director, Riddoch Art Gallery), Mr Lee Weng Choy (independent curator and writer based in Kuala Lumpur), Ms Amelia Wallin (Director, West Space, Melbourne), Dr Adam Geczy (artist and theorist, University of Sydney), Professor Patricia Piccinini (artist and Enterprise Professor at VCA, University of Melbourne

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