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Course in art and contemporary culture

Though the history of art has been largely built on an analysis of individual works, another way of writing that history could involve an analysis of exhibitions. Discourse on contemporary art is mainly furthered through exhibitions, which operate not only as spaces of presentation and display, but also as instruments, means to formulate ideas about artistic production and to transform its reception. The exhibition makes it possible for works to establish relationships not only with the viewer, but also with other works and other notions of what art is or might be. The exhibition is neither pure discourse nor mere context; it is perception and knowledge in action. The exhibition is a perceptive device in and of itself, a machine for seeing and an act of learning.

From this perspective, it is possible and necessary to reread the history of contemporary art on the basis of its devices for presentation; the MACBA joins in recent attempts to consolidate an understanding of the exhibition as a cultural object and to trace its genealogy – an undertaking that involves the history of art and art criticism, as well as architecture (exhibitions are, after all, public spaces), the psychology of perception and, of course, the voices of curators and artists.

The course offers an overview of some of the most emblematic exhibitions of the second half of the twentieth century, from the triumph of Pop art to the emergence of Conceptual art. This overview is conceptually organised by the artists and curators who conceived those exhibitions or, when that is not possible, by the critics who have analysed them. The close study of these exhibition models demonstrates that the ideology of the white cube – a supposedly neutral exhibition space, the seat of pure visuality as theorised by Brian O'Doherty – is largely an incomplete project, and that the history of paradigms for the exhibition of modern art could also be seen as the history of the transgression of the white cube.


Programme

Mondays from 19 October to 30 November at 7 pm

19 October
This Is Tomorrow (Whitechapel Art Gallery, London, 1956)
James Lingwood (co-director of Artangel, London)

26 October
The exhibitions of Pontus Hultén, with special emphasis on the sculpture-exhibition SHE – A Cathedral (Moderna Museet, Stockholm, 1966) and the Andy Warhol retrospective (Moderna Museet, Stockholm, 1968) with Magnus af Petersens (Moderna Museet, Estocolm)

2 November
Arte Povera e IM Spazio (Galleria La Bertesca, Genova, 1967) and Ambiente
Arte
(Venice Biennale, 1976) Germano Celant (Solomon R. Guggenheim
Museum, New York), curator of both exhibitions

9 November
Experiencias '68 (Instituto Di Tella, Buenos Aires, 1968; re-constructed in 1998 at Fundación Proa, Buenos Aires, under the title Experiencias '68 – Instituto Di Tella) and Primera bienal de arte de vanguardia - Tucumán arde (Rosario, 1968)
Ana Longoni (Universidad de Buenos Aires) in discussion with Jaime Vindel

16 November
When Attitudes Become Form (Kunsthalle, Bern and London, 1969)
Yves Aupetitallot (Magasin-Centre National d'Art Contemporain, Grenoble)

23 November
Encuentros de Pamplona (1972)
José Díaz Cuyás (Universidad de La
Laguna, Tenerife)

30 November
Beyond the Ideology of the White Cube
Brian O'Doherty in discussion with Bartomeu Marí

Participants

James Lingwood
Since 1991, James Lingwood has been co-director of Artangel (London) with Michael Morris, and Artangel Media, set up in 2000. He is on the advisory boards for the Museu Serralves in Porto, Atelier Calder and Capc in Bordeaux.

Magnus Af Petersens
Magnus Af Petersens is curator with responsibility for contemporary art at the Moderna Musseet (Stockholm) where he is also looks after the International art collection.

Germano Celant
Known for his theorisation of "arte povera", German Celant has curated numerous exhibitions including Arte Povera e IM Spazio and Ambiente Arte. He is currently Senior Curator of Contemporary Art at the Guggenheim Museum, New York.

Ana Longoni
Ana Longoni is a writer, CONICET researcher and professor at the University of Buenos Aires. Her recent publications include the book Del Di Tella a Tucumán arde (Buenos Aires, reprinted by Eudeba, 2008), and the compilation volume El Siluetazo (Buenos Aires, Adriana Hidalgo Editora, 2008).

Jaime Vindel
Jaime Vindel is a historian, art critic and lecturer at the University of León. He carries out research into the relationship between art and politics in Argentinean "conceptualist" practices in recent decades. He is a member of Red Conceptualismos del Sur, a network of researchers who explore "conceptualisms" in South America. He has co-edited the book Conceitualismos do Sul/Conceptualismos del Sur (Anablume, 2009).

Yves Aupetitallot
Yves Aupetitallot is an art historian and director of Le Magasin, the national contemporary art centre in Grenoble, where he has curated numerous exhibitions. He is also director of the Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts in Lausanne.

José Díaz Cuyás
José Díaz Cuyás is lecturer in aesthetics at the University of La Laguna (Tenerife) and director of Acto Ediciones. He is also editor of the book Cuerpos a motor (Las Palmas and Santiago de Compostela, 1997) and the catalogue Ir y venir de Valcárcel Medina (Barcelona, Fundació Antoni Tàpies, 2002).

Brian O'Doherty
A conceptual artist (under the alias Patrick Ireland), Brian O'Doherty is the author of the influential book Inside the White Cube: Ideologies of the Gallery Space (Berkeley, University of California Press, 2000), a compilation of his 1970s texts that established the expression "white cube" in reference to the ideology of the museum space.

Programme subject to last-minute changes.

MACBA Public Programs
tlf. (+34)93 412 08 10
programespublics [at] macba [dot] cat

Related

Activities

Audios

Beyond the Ideology of the White Cube
Encuentros de Pamplona (1972)
Experiencias '68 (Instituto Di Tella, Buenos Aires, 1968) i Primera bienal de arte de vanguardia - Tucumán arde (Rosario, 1968)
Experiencias '68 (Instituto Di Tella, Buenos Aires, 1968) i Primera bienal de arte de vanguardia - Tucumán arde (Rosario, 1968)
"Arte Povera e IM Spazio" (Galleria La Bertesca, Génova, 1967) and "Ambiente Arte" (Bienal de Venecia, 1976)
Quand les attitudes deviennent formes
The exhibitions of Pontus Hultén, with special emphasis on the sculpture-exhibition SHE – A Cathedral (Moderna Museet, 1966) and the Andy Warhol retrospective (Moderna Museet, 1968)
"Arte Povera e IM Spazio" (Galleria La Bertesca, Génova, 1967) and "Ambiente Arte" (Bienal de Venecia, 1976)
Quand les attitudes deviennent formes
Quand les attitudes deviennent formes
Beyond the Ideology of the White Cube
The exhibitions of Pontus Hultén, with special emphasis on the sculpture-exhibition SHE – A Cathedral (Moderna Museet, 1966) and the Andy Warhol retrospective (Moderna Museet, 1968)
I don’t think about art when I’m working. I try to think about life
Jean-Michel Basquiat