Witte de With Rotterdam on Thu, 4 Jun 1998 16:06:00 +0200 (MET DST)

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nettime-nl: Seminar on Art and Art Theory, 10/11 June 98

Seminar on the relationship between art and art theory

In collaboration with French philosopher Jean-Marie Schaeffer, Witte de
With presents a seminar about methodologies of art theory. This subject
will be explored in three sessions by speakers representing various
disciplines. Each session consists of an evening of lectures, followed on
the next day by a workshop, in which the goal is not to find answers but to
propose new questions and alternative perspectives. The contribution of the
participants will be essential to this process.

On June 10 and 11, the last session will take place,with lectures
Jean-Marie Schaeffer and Belgium artist Johan Grimonprez on Wednesday, and
a workshop with contributions by Andreas Broeckmann of V2_organisation, and
Isabelle Graw of Texte zur Kunst.

Recent developments in (European) art seem to move further and further away
from any form of essentialism and autonomy. Instead of operating from a
deliberately distanced position, recent art seems to be aiming to dissolve
into visual culture or everyday life. This development may signify a change
that runs parallel to the recent restructuring of specialized methodologies
into 'cultural studies' in the universities. While the first and second
session started from the perspective of theory, this third and final
session will start with a closer look at recent developments in art
practice. What questions do these practices raise in the realm theory? What
approaches could be proposed?

lectures: Wednesday June 10
place: Witte de With, Rotterdam, Witte de Withstraat
admission: Dfl.10,00; Dfl.5,00 (students)

workshop: Thursday June 11
place: conference room, Nederlands Architectuurinstituut
admission: Dfl.25,00; Dfl.15,00 (students), including lectures on Wednesday
Subscription to the workshops is necessary.


The first session, on May 27 and 28, investigated the relationship between
art and art theory through a critical analysis of the distance between the
two. On the one hand, there seems to be a major gap between the worlds of
art theory and art practice; each of these fields seems to be developing
independently, circling inwardly in an endless process. Philosophers of art
avoid addressing phenomena from the art world directly, and instead
concentrate on the aesthetic theories of other philosophers; artists tend
to keep as far as possible from anything labeled ' theory'. At the same
time however, one could state that art and theory have actually come so
close that they seem to overlap. Modern art has been preoccupied by
questioning art itself; contemporary art seems to consider its task one of
cultural analysis. What is then the relationship between art and theory?
And what does this relationship have to do with the supposed autonomy of
art? Why do other disciplines like architecture seem to offer a more
fruitful interaction between theory and practice?
Lectures were held by Jean-Marie Schaeffer and American architectural
historian Catherine Ingraham, and responses were given by graphic designer
Felix Janssens and philospher Henk Oosterling.

The second session, on June 3 and 4, focused on specific methodologies,
analyzing which perspectives the various approaches have opened, and which
insights they have obstructed from view. The spectrum of methodologies to
be addressed ranges from the essentialism, which has been the dominant
paradigm of the last two centuries, to the more recent efforts to integrate
the individual specializations and disciplines into a single field of
'cultural studies'. Is 'culture' the new avant-garde? Does this mean that
we lose sight of 'art'?
Lectures were held by Jean-Marie Schaeffer and French sociologist Nathalie
Heinich, and comments were made by Herma Klijnstra, artist and participant
in the theory program of the Jan van Eyck Academy in Maastricht.

For more information or subscription:
Anke Bangma
Witte de With
tel. 010-4110144, fax 010-4117924
e-mail wdw@wxs.nl

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