For the past two decades, the arts and cultural establishment in the UK has been trying to engage a broader set of audiences in their work. But the dial on who participates and how much has not shifted, despite many thousands of projects trying to address the problem.
It was naïve to think that art would solve the social problems of neoliberalism. But I don’t want to give up on its ability to generate new ideas just yet.
If a single NGO could take the credit for creating the cultural values of a whole region without once being called to account, what other ideologies is contemporary art producing and on whose orders?
‘Art Saves Lives’. If the physicist Niels Bohr thought that the horseshoe brought good luck whether one believed in or not, the categories of evidence and belief have been collapsed beyond repair.
What are the distinctions between art, art activism, and traditional political activism? How can we reconstitute the political culture in a hyper-aestheticised world?
Supporting artists to make art, or make-work for workless artists? The concept of state-provided incomes for artists may be hiding a whole bunch of consequences – unintended and otherwise.
What are the productive limits of art practice as critique? Renzo Martens’ ‘Enjoy Poverty’ is as relevant and as challenging as it was on its release.
Can the museum serve the public if, as we are told, it abuses its staff? Can the art institution change the world if it’s unable to put its own house in order?
The art world relies on access to specialised skills and resources that are commanded at-hoc in discrete, time- and output-bound chunks. This is the logic of projects.
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.
Sociopolitical Aesthetics argues for a new interpretation of the relationship between socially-engaged art and neoliberalism. Kim Charnley explores the possibility that neoliberalism has destabilized the art system so that it is no longer able to absorb and neutralize dissent. As a result, the relationship between aesthetics and politics is experienced with fresh urgency and militancy.
It is almost twenty years since contemporary art took a ‘participation turn’. How can we reconcile the somewhat forgotten history – and ongoing practice – of the community arts with the recent rise of participatory art, social practice, or outreach and engagement?
In the Government’s lock-down rules, art is clearly non-essential labour; more: it is voluntarily redundant. The ‘social’ of social arts is simply not the ‘social’ of social workers; the analogy seems ludicrous now and in retrospective.