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Category Archives: Essay

A work like the “The Visitors” has all the strengths of the classical Romantic sensibility, and some of its potential weak points too. It offers a glimpse into a more ecstatic world; you really want to be these people, be invited to this party. It dwells in a kind of self-enclosed universe, spellbound by images of otherwordly artists and majestic decay. Like classic Romanticism, which arose as a kind of personalistic reaction to European industrialization, such a neo-Romantic temperament draws its power as an implicit reproach of the kind of dispirited, non-ecstatic lives we normally live. Unalloyed, of course, this sort of thing might also become a kind of cloying, self-involved theater — indeed, you might even say that Kjartansson subtly thematizes the sense of wallowing in fantasy, since being stuck in art is a theme, both in this film with its endless, trance-like choruses, and in his work more generally. It’s this minor-key background note that lets “The Visitors” resonate as both out of time and of its time at once.

Ragnar Kjartansson’s “Visitor’s” (Artinfo Review)


“One of most intriguing aspects about art today is its entanglement with theory. In fact, contemporary art practice is now so highly saturated with theoretical knowledge that it is becoming a research practice in and of itself. Artists have not only taken up art criticism and negotiations, they now also integrate research methods and scientific knowledge into their artistic process to such a degree that it even seems to be developing into an independent form of knowledge on its own.”

Kathrin Busch (art & research editorial)


But what of the collaboration between science and the arts? Are we really prepared to live with a permanent cultural schism? If we are serious about unifying human knowledge, then we’ll need to create a new movement that coexists with the third culture but that deliberately trespasses on our cultural boundaries and seeks to create relationships between the arts and the sciences. The premise of this movement—perhaps a fourth culture—is that neither culture can exist by itself. Its goal will be to cultivate a positive feedback loop, in which works of art lead to new scientific experiments, which lead to new works of art and so on. Instead of ignoring each other, or competing, or co-opting each other in naïve or superficial ways, science and the arts will truly impact each other. The old intellectual boundaries will disappear. Neuroscience will gain new tools with which to confront the mystery of consciousness and modern physics will improve its metaphors. Art will become a crucial source of scientific ideas…At the same time, the sciences must recognize that their truths are not the only truths. No single area of knowledge has a monopoly on knowledge. As Karl Popper, an eminent defender of science wrote, “It is imperative that we give up the idea of ultimate sources of knowledge, and admit that all knowledge is human; that it is mixed with our errors, our prejudices, our dreams, and our hopes; that all we can do is to grope for truth even though it is beyond our reach.” The struggle for scientific truth is long and hard and never ending. If we want to get an answer to our deepest questions—the questions of who we are and what everything is—we will need to draw from both science and art, so that each completes the other.

-Jonah Lehrer (Seed magazine article)

Art can offer no obvious return. Its rate of exchange is energy for energy, intensity for intensity. The time you spend on art is the time it spends with you; there are no shortcuts, no crash courses, no fast tracks. Only the experience. Art can’t change your life; it is not a diet programme or the latest guru – it offers no quick fixes. What art can do is prompt in us authentic desire. By that I mean it can waken us to truths about ourselves and our lives; truths that normally lie suffocated under the pressure of the 24-hour emergency zone called real life. Art can bring us back to consciousness, sometimes quietly, sometimes dramatically, but the responsibility to act on what we find is ours.

-Jeanette Winterson (guardian essay)

Art education in this country, along with modern notions of art and the aesthetic, seek to cultivate new forms of consciousness in the passive receiver, inevitably emphasizing the division between the enlightened expert/artist and the ignorance of the student/viewer…In a way, art departments must become the “conscience of the art world” – and universities the conscience of our broader social context. Criticality and an educated public opinion is necessary for democracy to function and for social change to occur – according to educational theorist John Dewey, “education is a regulation of the process of coming to share in the social consciousness; and that the adjustment of individual activity on the basis of this social consciousness is the only sure method of social reconstruction.”

Sue Bell (Social Practice)

“Today, there is no prevalence of an abstract expressionism, a pop art, an op art, an agitprop, or a minimalism, there is rather the numerosity of methods and media, of departures from the idea of a single work born of a single moment out toward an expansive one involving compound art born in an emergent manner, in several ways, with multiple inputs and forces, in what might best be called a distributed moment.”

Francisco J. Ricardo Essay

“Art’s autonomy is a fact of modern Western history. This autonomy refers to the practice as a whole. We think it an intrinsic value that there be such a practice (Art) where people can entertain thoughts and feelings with regard to issues deemed important, without immediately being affected by these thoughts and feelings in more usual agent-related ways. All works of art, qua art, partake in this autonomy. What turns the moral evaluation of art into such a confusing issue is that works that confront us in an engaging manner with moral issues do so against the very background of this, art’s moral autonomy. It may appear an undue abstraction to state the autonomy of the artistic practice as a whole, and to attribute it to individual works of art only in so far as they are art, instead of, contingently, in regard of their particular contents or meaning. The way to grasp this is through the notion of the artistic attitude.”

Rob Van Gerwen (Contemporary Aesthetics)

Exit Art is an independent vision of contemporary culture prepared to react immediately to important issues that affect our lives. We do experimental, historical and unique presentations of aesthetic, social, political and environmental issues. We absorb cultural differences that become prototype exhibitions. We are a center for multiple disciplines. Exit Art is a 28-year-old cultural center in New York City founded by Directors Jeanette Ingberman and Papo Colo. It has grown from a pioneering alternative art space into a model artistic center for the 21st century committed to supporting artists whose quality of work reflects the transformations of our culture. Exit Art is internationally recognized for its unmatched spirit of inventiveness and consistent ability to anticipate the newest trends in the culture. With a substantial reputation for curatorial innovation and depth of programming in diverse media, Exit Art is always changing.

EXIT ART ( Mission Statement)

Today it is nothing exceptional that curators occupy a more noticeable role in the process of producing an exhibition then some decades ago. While their task was historically related to the conservation of art works and the maintenance of a museum collection, curators began more and more to be creatively and conceptually involved in the making of exhibitions. Exhibitions became the creative principle of so-called exhibition makers who were described as exhibition directors and who became catalysts between the creative individual and society. Yet in recent years the focus has shifted and exhibitions in which art works are employed to illustrate the fixations of curators have been widely criticized. The creative and intellectual exchange between artists and curators has, however, been irreversibly changed and created a new condition in this relationship. It is on this backdrop that The Next Documenta Should Be Curated By an Artist is coming together.

The Next Documenta Should be Curated by an Artist