Art Criticism & the Pandemic

This event was organised in collaboration with Chris McCormack (Associate Editor) at Art Monthly, the UK’s leading magazine of contemporary visual art. It brought together a range of art critics to discuss the implications of current conditions for their work and the broader field of art criticism. Two live research lunch events across two days considered how the structures of a globalised art world were interrupted or changed in 2020 and whether, in the context of renewed activism, the art world is addressing problems of inequity and injustice in its own order.

Part 1: Resetting the Global

Several months into a devastating pandemic, the globalised art world has been grounded and changed. Exhibition models and curatorial pursuits including the ‘blockbuster’, the biennial and the art fair are left in limbo. Are the restricted conditions of movement for many in the western world fostering alternative forms of practice, display and exchange? This event aims to glimpse possibilities for renewal beyond existing globalised systems. It looks for signs of a decolonial art world. Speakers address a wide-ranging set of issues and raise questions of ecological imperative, use of technology and the new status of art, for consideration and discussion.

Papers from Khairani Barokka, David Dibosa, Juliet Jacques, Bárbara Rodríguez Muñoz, and Rehana Zaman.

Part 2: Whose Body?

We are witness to how structural inequity has exacerbated the effects of the pandemic including for people in poverty, for keyworkers, for women and for non-white people. Using the frame of the art world, this event queries whose body is cared for and whose is ignored? It turns to the current visibility of long-term racial injustices and the momentum of the Black Lives Matter movement. It asks how art practice and writing can foster care and healing, renewal and health in the light of the pandemic.

Papers from Larne Abse-Gogarty, Robert McRuer, Jade Montserrat, Neo Sinoxolo Musangi, and Marina Vishmidt.