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Memos

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Writing and researching

In Museums about the binomial art and education

Rosario García Martínez

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Writing and researching

Rosario García Martínez

How willing are cultural institutions to enable spaces for the production of knowledge, linked not only to works and exhibitions, but also to what happens around them, something that makes them public?

The machinery of the Museum includes a prolific editorial production of expensive catalogs with the words of directors, curators, sponsors and specialists in art theory. But the editorial lines around practices that enable other voices are not naturalized.

On the other hand, personally, how much time do we allocate in a subversive way (since it is not officially considered as part of the job) to write and research about our work? How much do we demand that this be enabled in our institution? Talking about writing and research in art-education implies talking about professionalization. If it is a matter of rethinking the museum, it is important that spaces and resources are institutionally promoted to materialize and make accessible a knowledge that can be thought of today as public heritage, due to its vitality for the training of future cultural professionals and for its value to think the meaning of museums in today’s society.

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Ways of Seeing (Photography)

On the ubiquity of the image and how to interpret it in the information age

Nathalie Goffard

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Ways of Seeing (Photography)

Nathalie Goffard

It was John Berger in his now iconic four-part BBC series Way of Seeing (1972), who taught the West to realize that the act of viewing images had been revolutionized with the invention of the camera, serial reproduction, and the emergence of mass culture. Until then, a work of art could never be in two places at the same time. On the other hand, the prominence that the role of the spectator’s gaze was acquiring introduced a new problem in contemplation: the ubiquity of images, but also of multiple visions. Four decades have passed since Berger tried to explain to the public that his ways of seeing were culturally determined and guided by hierarchies and power networks, and it may seem almost naive that we did not know it before. But no, thinking about the image requires the passage of time and distance, those same characteristics that photography had to acquire so that we would finally stop thinking that it was a trace of reality. Possibly, we do not yet have the maturity to analyze these ways of seeing in the present. Although visual culture is so far exponentially cumulative, adding more and more layers and readings, we are also faced with greater ubiquity (now physical and virtual spaces) and perspectives (gender, decolonial, etc.). It is undoubtedly the great challenge for art criticism today; to be able to decipher the places from which images are viewed, produced and disseminated. The Museum is no longer the only legitimator of the works from an analytical reading, still less the Market; in this new symbolic order, the cumulative ubiquity of looks, images and their spaces have become the problem in itself.

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An Absolutely Modern Criticism

Reformulating the Baudelairean triad.

Javier Montes

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An Absolutely Modern Criticism

Javier Montes

Partial, political, passionate. No doubt about it: that´s how art criticism must be today. Or at least that´s how Baudelaire wanted it a century and a half ago. And any critic who subscribes, like him, that one must always be absolutely modern, will agree in 2021. The interesting thing is that the founder of modern art criticism happened to be an artist who turned the genre into a work of art. Why not? Perhaps it is a way of making a virtue of necessity. Criticism doesn´t matter anymore, they say: it no longer influences the market, nor does it boost or halt an artist’s career. Ok, all the better: let’s make of it, at least, a manifesto. Not a statement: a realization of its possibilities as creative writing. And recreative: affective, inclusive, well written. That might be our absolutely modern way of re-expressing the Baudelairean triad. I was once asked to write a text for an exhibition catalog, and it turned out to be, I was told, “very poetic”. I´m not absolutely sure they meant it as a compliment, but I propose that we decide that it is.

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