Power, Myth and Reproduction: An Examination of The Artist Residency in the 21st Century

Artist residencies have come to serve as a critical credential in the legitimization process of artists in accruing agency within the art system. This process of capital gain occurs in tandem with a broader trend within the art world where global actors –from north to south and east to west– are coerced into buying into a globalized art system. How does the residue of forced hegemony on a multipolar world effect the practice of artist residencies? Is there a mythos around artist residencies and the iteration of artistic economies either vertically or horizontally?

In the current ecosystem of the art world, curatorial practices often collides with the artist residency intersecting at a critical juncture of the subscription circuit for the artist who often times encounters the former as a prerequisite for participation in said residency programme. As such there is an urgency to formulate curatorial strategies that can be employed to subvert the gravitational free market, and reclaim the space of the residency as a sphere for transgressive practice.

Lalita Radavić is a New York based independent curator, educator, and artist. Her doctoral research specifically focuses on questioning the role the artist residency plays in proliferating the neo-liberal agenda of the art system in the 21st Century towards a cultural analysis of the art residency field. In order to produce a comprehensive cultural analysis of the artist residency field this research will focus on uncovering the implicit and explicit forms of inclusion and exclusion of the art system at large and where the sub-field of the artist residency falls within this dynamic. The theoretical component of the dissertation will thus create a framework to assess the artist residency field of the 21st century; which actors and institutions have agency within this subfield and how the artist residency contributes to the proliferation of power within the greater super-structure.

Supervisors: Prof. Dr. Dorothee Richter