Pierre d’Alancaisez is a curator and critic. In his PhD research, he investigates interdisciplinary knowledge exchange and the relationship between artists’ access to non-arts skills and the impacts of artistic practices.

Pierre d'Alancaisez

For a decade, Pierre was the director of waterside contemporary in London, where he pioneered social practice and art activism approaches in the art market. He has curated exhibitions with artists that included Turner Prize nominee Oreet Ashery and has commissioned works with artists such as Mirza and Butler which travelled to Artes Mundi and Sydney Biennale.

He has also been a cultural strategist in higher education and the charity sector, a publisher, a scientist, and a financial services professional.

recent writing

The Elusive Dream of Universalism

Sometimes, ‘it’s not race, it’s class’ is the correct response to inequality.

Culture and Capital, Pride Edition

Queer Britain and Queercircle mark capital’s transition from appropriation of queer culture to full-scale colonisation.

Decentralised Non-Autonomous Organisation

Documenta 15 reads like a series of creative workshops staged by corporate HR departments to boost loyalty at the lowest possible cost. Perhaps the next Documenta should be curated by an artist.

The Discreet Charm of the Artistic Elite

Social artists do not have a monopoly over the social. They do not even have a monopoly over art. But they'd sure like to.

Stalking the Biennial Zone

In the biennial, art could do all the things that we like to believe that art can do: deliver us from our concerns, transcend the limits of our imaginations, inspire us, give us hope. Art could do all those things. But often, it doesn't.

Say No to Art School

The art school is a special thing. It promises to take young people at the threshold of adulthood and turn them into lifelong dreamers, creators, and critical thinkers. But the art school is also big business, intimately involved in reproducing neoliberalism and its subjects. For many graduates, art school is the first step in a career of fierce competition, low earnings, and horrific work conditions. What can we do about this?

recent interviews

Patricia Bickers: The Ends of Art Criticism

Crisis? What Crisis? The lack of a single dominant voice in criticism is not a weakness, but a strength.

Georgina Adam, Nizan Shaked: The problem with museums

Are contemporary art museums purely public affairs? How do private collections serve the greater good? What happens when these missions become confused? How should we account for the cost (in tax revenue, no least) of the philanthropist's gesture?

Nina Power: What Do Men Want?

How can men and women live together well in a world where capitalism has replaced the values – family, religion, service, and honour – that used to give our lives meaning?

Fuller, Weizman: Investigative Aesthetics

Investigative Aesthetics draws on theories of knowledge, ecology, and technology; evaluates the methods of citizen counter-forensics, micro-history and art.

Keller Easterling: Medium Design

How do we think in a world where 'nothing works'? How do we formulate alternative approaches to the world’s unresponsive or intractable dilemmas, from climate change, to inequality, to concentrations of authoritarian power?

Joshua Citarella: Politigram and the Post-Left

If a researcher tracing the role of the meme to the politicisation and radicalisation of online communities struggles to keep up what hope does an artist have?

Adam Lehrer: Communions

Artists from Kurt Cobain to Amy Winehouse command fascination not only for their work but also foe their drug addictions and the manner of their death. Communions is an attempt to understand the role that opiates play in the artistic lives of those who are gripped by addiction.  

Jonas Staal: Propaganda Art in the 21st Century

How to understand propaganda art in the post-truth era — and how to create a new kind of emancipatory propaganda art. Propaganda art—whether a depiction of joyous workers in the style of socialist realism or a film directed by Steve Bannon — delivers a message.

recent research

Review: The Class Ceiling

Class may be the ultimate English taboo. The understanding and signalling of class or other identity attributes may become an obstacle to classical class analysis. An entirely different political class narrative may be called for that transcends the boundaries of sociological understanding before returning to the discipline once again.

Review: Deserting from the Culture Wars

Are art and its institutions ready to desert from the culture wars and engage with the subconscious?There are many places that need to be occupied, but the museum is not on the list.

At the limits of representation

Contemporary art's profound paradox: the drive to become more inclusive for its audiences ultimately contributed to the inequalities experienced by its workforce.

Epistemic politics, knowledge warfare 

Snow asked his literary colleagues about the Second Law of Thermodynamics. “The response was cold: it was also negative. Yet I was asking something which is the scientific equivalent of: Have you read a work of Shakespeare's?”

Is more always better?

Is the fiction of arts's economic value now the key measure of culture? Are we now willingly econo-cultural agents? Does it matter that we don't understand the figures?