Re: [-empyre-] what is being done? (education) (Re: Illiyana Nedkova)

On 1/11/07, Iliyana Nedkova <> wrote:
I would raise another concern
–what is to be done to avoid misusing art (education) for generating
funds for funds' sake?

I agree this is a concern - but it implies more, and deserves some discussion:

Within an economy of cultural exchange, exhibition structures (like
documenta) are often self-sustainable economic enterprises that effect
national / international capital without regard for the rights of Art.
For this reason the arena of an exhibition like Documenta is directly
a realm of conflict for many people.

What happens when artwork that acts very intentionally in reaction to
particular social conditions is appropriated through exhibition space?
Rather – each exhibition space is a social venue that has particular
social / business / cultural relationships and must also have a
particular political agenda.  How are artists able to understand the
full context of an exhibition space and the effect it has on meaning?
The agenda of Deutsche Bank, Frieze, or any City Council is imposed on
the spaces they sponsor.

It is disappointing that the educational contexts you mention seem to
create a very specific audience.

In other contexts, artists are
hijacking the formats of education and outreach programmes for their
own artistic means. Bulgarian artist Luchezar Boyadjiev 'specialises'
in offering guided tours to audiences at various international art
exhibitions, connecting artworks from different shows through his
often-humorous analyses.

The Center for Land Use Interpretation ( does exactly this type of work. They coordinate tours of various sites in and around Los Angeles - creating (sometimes false) histories around real or imagined sites - as well as "Extrapolative Projects in the field."

Finally, it is my belief that it is the responsibility of the curator
(who often doubles as the art educator) to be crucially aware of what
is being done in contemporary art education; to adhere to the best
practice and to constantly question the need and means of spreading the
artists' message around.

I completely agree. Curators are responsible for the type of social space that is created - and for enabling accessible public discourse. To do this responsibly we must be aware of the different social contexts surrounding the artwork and be champions for the needs of our art and artists ... (even if it means eliminating funds for art's sake).


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