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OnCurating, Axel Wieder

Launch OnCurating and Talk by Axel Wieder

23 October 2015 17:30 - 20:00
ZHdK Room 6.K04

17:30 – OnCurating Issue 26, Curating Degree Zero / Curatorial Research
The issue 26 of OnCurating related to the Zurich based Curating Degree Zero Archive concentrates on curatorial research. Contemporary curating exists as a media conglomerate; the production of meaning is achieved through a combination of artworks, photographs, commentary, publications, design, gestures, music, film, press releases, websites, and interviews. It is situated in a specific political and cultural context. To analyse these complex situations we need a variety of approaches; for every project the combination should alter, it makes a bricolage of methodical approaches necessary. The undertaking to discuss curating on a profound level also inspired the conferences Curating as a Glittering Myth, Curating as a Social Symptom, Curating as a Revolutionary Force?,  and Curating Everything (Curating as Symptom).
Felix Ensslin, Dorothee Richter, Elke Krasny, Avi Feldman, Sabeth Buchmann, Brian Holmes, Ellen Blumenstein, Sergio Edelsztein

18:00 – Axel Wieder: “Without an audience, there would be no exhibition”
Art and the Public in Post-fordist Culture

The observation by British conceptual artist Stephen Willats, that art is depending on its viewers in order to exist in the word, initially aimed to describe a new relationship of culture in society since the 1960s. Today, his statement is true in more than one way. Audience development and quantitative evaluation are important aspects of current cultural policies. More than ever, the question of audiences seems crucial for the future of arts organizations and the survival of a public infrastructure for contemporary art. While it remains a critical aim to create access to arts for as many people as possible, it often develops a tendency to privilege existing expectations and the taste of potential visitors.
Drawing on examples from past projects in galleries and public space, and with specific institutional agendas, the talk will discuss current conditions and complexities of the notion of audiences and its relation to discourses of the public. How can audience engagement, and a curatorial practice that integrates interpretation and learning as part of a wider understanding of artistic programming, be understood as a possible arena for an exploration and negotiation of expectations and meaning? And how could an understanding of the public as a conflictual, contradictory and non-unitary sphere inspire institutional agendas?
 Axel Wieder, Director, Index – The Swedish Contemporary Art Foundation, Stockholm