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Tag Archives: Usefulness of Art

2001

ART: WHAT’S THE USE?

Symposium

Art: What’s the Use?

Friday 14 January, 2011. 11am-6pm
Zilkha Auditorium, Whitechapel Gallery (£15/£10 conc.)

How subversive really is the social uselessness of art?  Could art play a more directly functional role in culture? Dean Kenning and Gavin Grindon challenge the idea that art should be allowed to take critical positions safe from any real intervention. Participants include Artur Zmijewski, Dmitry Vilensky (Chto Delat), James Marriott &Jane Trowell (PLATFORM), John Roberts, Stephen Wright, Marina Vishmidt, Peter Osborne and Gail Day.

In association with Stanley Picker Gallery Public Lectures on Art & The Visual and Material Culture and Contemporary Art Research Centres at Kingston University of London.

The increasing visibility of contemporary art, together with the shift in art discourse towards the social dimension, not to mention the sheer number of people now practicing as artists, all make the use value of art a vital issue. At a local and national level contemporary art has clearly taken on a role as instigator of local regeneration/gentrification and city branding. Such projects usually involve star artists, while activist, community and socially engaged practices often take place off the art world radar, or else adopt conventional art spaces as leverage for their work. How do organisations and institutions with their resources and networks influence this equation of art and use? In light of the radical changes to higher education which are currently being pushed through alongside simultaneous cuts in the arts budget, can we develop a language beyond the business-model discourse of ‘creative industries’ in which to defend and promote the value of art to a wide public?

This symposium aims to ask: What is the use-value of art today, how is it useful, and for whom? What are the particular imaginative and cognitive skills, competences and approaches that could take effect as part of the general symbolic economy beyond the artworld? What are the lessons and influences of movements which sought an unambiguously social and political function for their experiments? And finally, what are the conditions that enable artists not simply to reflect upon the world, but to act within and change it?

Tickets are available here: http://www.whitechapelgallery.org/shop/product/product_id/800

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