Talk: “Exhibitions and Museums: When Are They Art?” at the Aesthetics Seminar, Department of Philosophy, Uppsala University

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Neues Museum, Berlin, copyright: Elisa Caldarola

On February 13th 2019, I will be giving a talk at the Aesthetics Seminar in the Department of Philosophy at Uppsala University, Sweden.

http://www.filosofi.uu.se/kalendarium/evenemang/?eventId=42374

The title of the talk is “Exhibitions and Museums: When Art They Art?”.

Abstract: The claims that certain museum-exhibits and exhibitions are artworks or that they share significant resemblances with artworks are currently circulating in both art-theoretical and philosophical literature (see e.g. Carrier 2006; Hein 2006; Foster 2013; Ventzislavov 2014; Voorhies 2017). In the first part of my talk, I show how recent research on art-kinds and conventions in art-making (Lopes 2008; 2014; Xhignesse 2016; 2019 forthcoming) offers a framework for making sense of such claims. In the second part, I argue that some museum-exhibits and exhibitions are works of installation art.

References:

Carrier, David (2006), Museum Skepticism. A History of The Display of Art in Public Galleries, Duke University Press.

Foster, Hal (2013), The Art-Architecture Complex, Verso.

Hein, Hilde (2006), Public Art. Thinking Museums Differently, Altamira Press.

Lopes, Dominic (2008), “Nobody Needs a Theory of Art”, The Journal of Philosophy, 105(3): 109-27.

Lopes, Dominic (2014), Beyond Art, Oxford University Press.

Ventzislavov, Rossen (2014), “Idle Arts: Reconsidering The Curator”, The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, 72: 83-93.

Voorhies, James (2017), Beyond Objecthood: The Exhibition as a Critical Form since 1968, MIT Press.

Xhignesse, Michel (2016), Attempting Art: an Essay on Intention-Dependence, PhD Thesis submitted to McGill University, Montreal.

Xhignesse, Michel (2019), “What Makes a Kind an Art-Kind?”,TheBritish Journal of Aesthetics, forthcoming.

 

 

 

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“Assessing the Intellectual Value of New Genre Public Art”, Open Philosophy, 2(1), 2019: 22-29.

 

Here you can find the paper.

Abstract

Suzanne Lacy introduced the term ‘New Genre Public Art’ (NGPA) to refer to art practices that depart from those traditional of public art (such as installing works in parks and plazas) and focus instead on the direct engagement of artists with audiences to deal with pressing socio-political issues. In this paper, I argue that some works of NGPA should be valued for the intellectual value grounded in their artistic features, not dissimilarly to works of conceptual art. In developing my argument, I take distance from Vid Simoniti’s recent account of ‘Socially Engaged Art’, offer a thorough analysis of Thomas Hirschhorn’s Bataille Monument (2002) and Kathrin Bohm’s and Stefan Saffer’s Mobile Porch (1999), and submit that both such works qualify as good works of NGPA.

bataille-monument-2002.jpeg
Thomas Hirschhorn, Bataille Monument (2002), copyright: Thomas Hirschhorn,  Fair Use (https://www.wikiart.org/en/thomas-hirschhorn/bataille-monument-2002)

Monday, 4 February 2019, Michel-Antoine Xhignesse (University of British Columbia), “What Makes a Kind an Art Kind?”

Venue: Sala Stefanini, Piazza Capitaniato, 3 – Padova, 16.30-18.30

The talk will be live-streamed and will remain available on YouTube. Remote participants can watch the live webcast and ask questions using the YouTube Live chat channel.

Update (06/02/2019): Unfortunately, we experienced a major problem with our internet connection and were unable to live-stream the whole talk. Apologies for the inconvenience.

Abstract: The premise that every work belongs to an art-kind has recently inspired a kind-centred approach to theories of art. Kind-centred analyses posit that we should abandon the project of giving a general theory of art and focus instead on giving theories of the arts. The main difficulty, however, is to explain what makes a given kind an art-kind in the first place. Kind-centred theorists have passed this buck on to appreciative practices, but this move proves unsatisfactory. I argue that the root of this dissatisfaction stems not from the act of kicking the can down the road, but from not kicking it far enough. The missing ingredient, I argue, is a notion of convention which does the work of marking the difference between art and non-art for a given physical medium.

Michel-Antoine Xhignesse is a SSHRC postdoctoral fellow at the University of British Columbia. His research focuses primarily on the ontology and meta-ontology of art, as well as on the problem of truth in fiction and the influence of authorial intent. His work has been published in the Australasian Journal of Philosophy, the British Journal of Aesthetics, and the Journal of Social Ontology, as well as in two edited collections. He is co-editor of the ASA’s newsletter and co-organizer of the Salish Sea Aesthetics Workshop and the ASA’s eastern division meeting.

The Aesthetics Lecture Series is part of the Analytic Philosophy and Philosophy of Art Graduate Seminar organized by Prof. Massimiliano Carrara, Prof. Giuseppe Spolaore, Prof. Gabriele Tomasi, Dr. Elisa Caldarola, and Dr. Vittorio Morato for the academic year 2018-2019 at the FISPPA Department (Philosophy, Sociology, Pedagogy, and Applied Psychology) of the University of Padova, Italy.

The Aesthetics Lecture Series is funded by the University of Padova through the initiative “Supporting TAlent in ReSearch@University of Padova” – STARS Grants (Starting Grant 2018-2020, APAI – “A Philosophy of Art Installation”, P.I. Dr. Elisa Caldarola, research budget: € 60.000).

Monday, 14 January 2019, Vid Simoniti (University of Liverpool),”Contemporary Art as Political Speech”

Venue: Sala Stefanini, Piazza Capitaniato, 3 – Padova, 16.30-18.30

The talk will be live-streamed and will remain available on YouTube. Remote participants can watch the live webcast and ask questions using the YouTube Live chat channel.

 

Abstract: Much of contemporary installation art presents us with a specific political commitment. Indeed, of all the arts today, biennale-based art comments on pressing political issues most explicitly: on issues such as the deterioration of the environment (e.g. Mark Dion, Agnes Denes), racism (e.g. Adrian Piper, Kara Walker), or the refugee crisis (e.g. Ai Weiwei, Wolfgang Tillmans). However, when do political messages in art hit home, and when do such works merely rehearse public pieties? Or, to put the question more philosophically: can art contribute something unique to political discourse, or does it at best reflect what politicians, pundits and philosophers come up with independently? Here I argue that art can indeed contribute something indispensable to political discourse. My defence requires an update of some of the accepted tenets of aesthetic cognitivism (the view that art is a source of knowledge), but I hope to make these revisions plausible.

Vid Simoniti is a Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Liverpool. His academic work sits at the cross-roads of aesthetics and history of art; recent publications include “Assessing Socially Engaged Art” in Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism; “Adrian Piper and the Rhetoric of Conceptual Art” in Adrian Piper: A Reader; and “Aesthetic Properties as Powers” in The European Journal of Philosophy. Before joining Liverpool in 2018, he was a Junior Research Fellow at the University of Cambridge between 2015 and 2018, and he obtained his doctorate from Oxford in 2015.

The Aesthetics Lecture Series is part of the Analytic Philosophy and Philosophy of Art Graduate Seminar organized by Prof. Massimiliano Carrara, Prof. Giuseppe Spolaore, Prof. Gabriele Tomasi, Dr. Elisa Caldarola, and Dr. Vittorio Morato for the academic year 2018-2019 at the FISPPA Department (Philosophy, Sociology, Pedagogy, and Applied Psychology) of the University of Padova, Italy.

The Aesthetics Lecture Series is funded by the University of Padova through the initiative “Supporting TAlent in ReSearch@University of Padova” – STARS Grants (Starting Grant 2018-2020, APAI – “A Philosophy of Art Installation”, P.I. Dr. Elisa Caldarola, research budget: € 60.000).