Selected Literature

In this section, the FEINART members present recommendations of articles, journals and books related to topics of Socially Engaged Art

Anna Fech, Journal of Cultural Management and Cultural Policy / Zeitschrift für Kulturmanagement und Kulturpolitik Dezember 2022, Jg. 8, Ausgabe 2 – Introspektion und Interaktion. ISSP Summer School of Socially Engaged Art 2022 in RUCKA (Cesis, Lettland)

The report considers the ISSP Summer School of Socially Engaged Art, which took place in Cēsis, Latvia, from July 23-30, 2022. Jointly run by ISSP Latvia and New Visions, the event was aimed at artists and creatives from different disciplines from the Baltic region who work with communities or aspire to do so. Through exercises, workshops and guest lectures, the role of socially engaged art was theoretically analyzed and tools were provided to help build contextualized and equitable relationships in one’s own practice. The following report is based on participant observation and interviews with participants and organizers. Since group dynamics, the sense of place, and the social dynamics of events play a special role in socially engaged art, it explores motivations and expectations of initiators and participants, but also looks at the strategies and methods used by organizers to meet their own aspirations of creating a sustainable network. And finally, it asks what the participants took away with them after the week. An important focus is on the paradoxes of socially engaged art in the post-Soviet context.

Link here

Fabiola Fiocco, Journal of Cultural Management and Cultural Policy / Zeitschrift für Kulturmanagement und Kulturpolitik Dezember 2022, Jg. 8, Ausgabe 2 – Transparent (Support) Structures: On Visibility and Social Reproduction in Socially Engaged Art

Drawing on materialist feminist theory, this article discusses Recleaning the Rietveld Pavilion (2017) by Alina Lupu and its relation to Job Koelewijn’s Cleaning of the Rietveld Pavilion (1992) and other important antecedents. In considering the ways in which maintenance work is articulated in the projects, and the people engaged in the realisation, I contend that it is possible to develop a critical analysis of how visibility is deployed in socially engaged art contexts. The argument focuses on art as a site of gendered labour and the subjectivities as well as forms of (social) work that it produces. Furthermore, the analysis explores the regime of hyper-visibility of contemporary art in contrast to the vast array of unrecorded economic activities, of which maintenance is an essential, yet not exclusive component, that ultimately contributes to reproducing an unsustainable system of work relations based on (self-)exploitation, reputational value and financial dependence.

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Noa Mamrud, Journal of Cultural Management and Cultural Policy / Zeitschrift für Kulturmanagement und Kulturpolitik Dezember 2022, Jg. 8, Ausgabe 2 – Participation in Cultural Policies: Ideological Roots and Institutional Use

Participation is a widely discussed subject matter in cultural policy. Over the years, scholars and practitioners have approached it in a variety of ways as policy paradigms have evolved; today these paradigms demonstrate a complex understanding of culture and what participation in art and culture means. Requirements from public administration have sought to promote cultural offers with increasingly higher levels of participation, though with a varied set of interests behind them. By attending to several of these paradigms—excellence, cultural democratisation, cultural democracy, and creative industry—with a perspective that is unique to socially engaged art, this article highlights the tensions that arise in the question of means for cultural production, and further problematises the institutional use of the combined notions of art and participation.

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Karen van den Berg, Marie Rosenkranz, Journal of Cultural Management and Cultural Policy / Zeitschrift für Kulturmanagement und Kulturpolitik Dezember 2022, Jg. 8, Ausgabe 2 – Von der Institutionskritik zur Moral Economy. Hans Haacke, Dana Schutz und eine queer-feministische Buchhandlung/From Institutional Criticism to Moral Economy. Hans Haacke, Dana Schutz, and a queer feminist bookstore

Based on the conceptual working approaches of early artistic institutional critique, the essay exemplifies how, in the struggle for moral and ethical questions in the art field, artists increasingly became tone-setting cultural-political actors. As powerful voices with their own expertise in identity-political debates, they realigned cultural-political decision-making premises.

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Gábor Erlich, Jenny Fadranski, Anna Fech, Fabiola Fiocco, Sophie Mak-Schram, Noa Mamrud, Maria Mkrtycheva, Marteinn Sindri Jónsson; FIELD Journal of Socially – Engaged Art and Criticism: Meanings, Meaning-Making and the Ideal/Ideas of Socially Engaged Art, Issue 25, Fall 2023

This conversation stems from a shared research path within the frame of FEINART, The Future of European Independent Art Spaces in a Period of Socially Engaged Art. This project is an Innovative Training Network supported by the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions of Horizon 2020 and involves 11 Ph.D. trajectories, of which 8 of us are in conversation here. Our research projects are independent of each other in a formal sense and consider a variety of topics such as democracy, feminism, radical pedagogies, and cultural and funding policies across (the idea of) Europe. However, reflecting on socially engaged art and the theoretical, social and political implications of this term cuts across all our works. Hence, we came together to unfold shared concerns, doubts, and frictions in our work and practices as they pertain to socially engaged art. The discussion took place over the course of several email exchanges, calls, and collectively edited online documents between October 2022 and February 2023. The text is divided in four sections, which originated from a set of questions prompted by FIELD journal.

Link here

 

Karen Van den Berg; FIELD Journal of Socially-Engaged Art and Criticism: Fragile Infrastructures for an Art of Conviviality: Learning from documenta fifteen, Issue 25, Fall 2023

There have been few other major exhibitions in recent years that have prompted such intense fundamental debates on the social role of art as documenta fifteen curated by the Indonesian collective ruangrupa.[1] In the process, documenta not only unleashed an anti-Semitism scandal, which kept German cultural politics and German media commentary particularly breathless for months, but raised some deeper questions that will continue to preoccupy the art world for some time to come.

Link here

Dimitrakaki Angela; publicsandpublishings.org: The Artist’s Studio: Feminist Entries and (Emergency) Exits, 27/8/23

1.     Entry: The right to enjoy being the body of the painter in the studio

The entry to the studio begins with the findings of the first generation of feminist art historians: those who, in the late 1960s and 1970s, started ‘from scratch’, as Linda Nochlin put it, in a politically motivated quest to explain why women were suppressed as producers of culture (and art, in its diversity and particularity) and ask what could be done to change this.[1] This first generation of feminist art historians worked ‘from scratch’ while what we call ‘contemporary art’ was taking shape. Central to this shaping was the widely felt impact of Conceptual art.[2] Did ‘art as idea as idea’ (the title of a late-1960s work by Joseph Kosuth) require the conventional artist’s studio? Did it perhaps require an office? Did it require a combination of the two, or neither?

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Fiocco Fabiola; Journal of Cultural Management and Cultural Policy / Zeitschrift für Kulturmanagement und Kulturpolitik: Transparent (Support) Structures: On Visibility and Social Reproduction in Socially Engaged Art vol. 9, n. 1, 2023

Drawing on materialist feminist theory, this article discusses Recleaning the Rietveld Pavilion (2017) by Alina Lupu and its relation to Job Koelewijn’s Cleaning of the Rietveld Pavilion (1992) and other important antecedents. In considering the ways in which maintenance work is articulated in the projects, and the people engaged in the realisation, I contend that it is possible to develop a critical analysis of how visibility is deployed in socially engaged art contexts. The argument focuses on art as a site of gendered labour and the subjectivities as well as forms of (social) work that it produces. Furthermore, the analysis explores the regime of hyper-visibility of contemporary art in contrast to the vast array of unrecorded economic activities, of which maintenance is an essential, yet not exclusive component, that ultimately contributes to reproducing an unsustainable system of work relations based on (self-)exploitation, reputational value and financial dependence.

Link here

Marteinn Sindri Jónsson. “Á LungA heima í íslenskri listasögu?” Skírnir 196 (Fall 2022) 

The article “Á LungA heima í íslenskri listasögu?” introduces the term socially engaged art for the first time in Icelandic academic discourse and suggests its translation as ‘félagsleg afstöðulist’. By way of a long-standing participatory art festival in East Iceland called LungA, as well as debates on and reception of participatory art, relational aesthetics, and social sculpture in Iceland, the article offers a critical assessment of the potentials and limits of the field of socially engaged art in Iceland. My case study of the festival was carried out through extended involvement between 2013 and 2020 and published in length in an anniversary publication of the festival Here is LungA (2021).

Link here

Bill Balaskas / Carolina Rito (Eds.); Contributions by: Bill Balaskas / Michael Birchall / Mélanie Bouteloup / Carolina Cerón / Anthony Downey / Pujita Guha and Abhijan Toto for the Forest Curriculum / Joasia Krysa / Vali Mahlouji / Je Yun Moon / Andrea Phillips / Emily Pringle / Carolina Rito / ruangrupa (farid rakun and Leonhard Bartolomeus) / Nora Sternfeld / Sian Vaughan; Sternberg Press (2017): Institution as Praxis—New Curatorial Directions for Collaborative Research

Institution as Praxis—New Curatorial Directions for Collaborative Research explores new curatorial and artistic practices that contribute to the expansion of institutional, practice-based, and collaborative research methods. This publication offers an overview of how creative practices are modifying the ways we think about both knowledge production and research in the cultural sector and in academia.

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Karen van den Berg; FIELD Journal of Socially-Engaged Art and Criticism (2019): From Protest to the Production of Social Relations: Socially Engaged Art and Activism in Germany since 2015

Even before a severe crisis of liberalism was diagnosed following the Brexit referendum and the US elections in 2016, Germany had been in a state of political emergency. Equally, there had already been a decisive turning point in the development of activist art in Germany before this international political development was widely recognized. A look into 2014 will help to understand these changes.

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Angela Dimitrakaki & Kirsten Lloyd; Taylor & Francis Online (2017): Social Reproduction Struggles and Art History

The article explores social reproduction as a key term in expanding the purview of art history in relation to the social urgencies of the early twenty-first century and feminist struggles. Providing a context for the approaches to social reproduction and art in the specific journal issue, the analysis makes a case for a methodological shift that would see feminist art history coming closer to a history of labour. But this, the authors argue, implies interrogating what enters the category ‘labour’ as such. The article opens with an examination of capitalism in relation to crisis and goes on to look at a) social reproduction in an expanded (art) field; b) the violence of reproduction; c) the feminist commons/the social reproduction commons.

Link here

Kuba Szreder; L’Internationale Online (2020): Independence Always Proceeds from Interdependence: A Reflection on the Conditions of the Artistic Precariat and the Art Institution in Times of Covid-19

This report from Warsaw is a just-on-time response to the disruption caused by Covid-19, including some initial thoughts on its political implications and, more specifically, its impact on the economy of contemporary art.

Link here

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