Art and the Social: Exhibitions of Contemporary Art in the 1990s / Symposium

This symposium explored the social turn in exhibition-making in Europe and North America in the 1990s, looking at the part played by political activism, institutional critique and forms of socialisation influenced by the media and the moving image. Questioning labels such as 'Kontext Kunst', 'social engagement' and 'relational aesthetics', the participants discussed developments in recent contemporary exhibition history, including exhibitions staged outside of the art institution that engaged with site in the broadest sense. Speakers included Doug Ashford, Claire Bishop, Sabeth Buchmann, Charles Esche, Rebecca Gordon-Nesbitt, Stéphanie Jeanjean, Renate Lorenz, Christian Philipp Müller and Stephan Schmidt-Wulffen.

Art and the Social: Exhibitions of Contemporary Art in the 1990s
Tate Britain, London, Friday 30 April 2010

Audio-visual documentation here.

10.00 Welcome by Charles Esche

Exhibitions and Activism
10.10 Doug Ashford on the 1988-89 exhibition 'Democracy' at the DIA Art Foundation New York (curated by Group Material)
10.45 Renate Lorenz on the 1993 exhibition 'Trap' at Kunst-Werke Berlin, conceived as intervention into the situation of art and activism in Germany (curated by Minimal Club in Munich, Büro Bert in Düsseldorf, Art in Ruins in London)
11.20 Questions - led and chaired by Stephan Schmidt-Wulffen

11.40 tea and coffee

Art in the Social Sphere?
12.00 Claire Bishop on three exhibitions from 1993, 'Culture in Action' in Chicago, 'Unité d'Habitation' in Firminy and 'Sonsbeek' in Arnhem
12.40 Christian Philipp Müller in response
13.00 Questions - led and chaired by Charles Esche

13.20 lunch break

Context, Relationality, Participation
14.30 Sabeth Buchmann on 'Kontext Kunst' and 'Institutional Critique' in exhibition-making in Germany in the 1990s, setting 1 or 2 exhibitions within their context
15.00 Stéphanie Jeanjean on the viewer's experience and the social dimension of selected exhibitions that gave rise to the 'Relational Aesthetics' label in France in the 1990s
15.30 Rebecca Gordon-Nesbitt on the social dimension of artist-run spaces in the UK in the 1990s, specifically in Glasgow (Transmission) and London
16.00 Questions - led and chaired by Stephan Schmidt-Wulffen

16.30 tea and coffee

Panel Discussion
17.00 Review of the day and summary questions posed Charles Esche followed by questions to all speakers/respondents

18.00pm end

Organised by Afterall, at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, as part of the Exhibition Histories project and in conjunction with the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna and the Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven. Supported by the University of the Arts London, the Institut Français du Royaume-Uni and the Goethe-Institut.

Realised within the framework of FORMER WEST, a contemporary art research, education, publishing and exhibition project (2008-2013). FORMER WEST is supported by the Mondriaan Foundation, EU Culture Programme, European Cultural Foundation, and the City of Utrecht.

Picture caption: Ute Meta Bauer and Yvonne P. Doderer, Raumstruktur, 1994. Photo: Esther Thylmann.