Populists are exerting greater influence in politics, the media landscape and – to an increasing degree –the field of art and cultural criticism. News reports are devoting more time and space to discussions on the removal of controversial artworks and debates about the “Me Too” movement. Ethical criteria are being used to assess artists who deliberately provoke controversy with their works and actions or who (naively) participate in cultural appropriation. When is the freedom of artistic expression at risk and who is threatening it? What does the discussion about ethical and aesthetic criteria say about our understanding of politically “responsible” art and art-critical approaches?
At the 52nd AICA congress (Association Internationale des Critiques d’Art) from 3 to 5 October 2019, art critics from around the world discussed the challenges facing the critical examination of art as a socially embedded, yet aesthetically autonomous form of expression. A central question was how to navigate between freedom of speech and political correctness in order to safeguard the independence of art critics? (Inter-)national case studies formed the basis for examining the myriad effects of populism and nationalism in the field of art criticism and issues of (self-) censorship. The congress highlighted numerous points of view and provided ample opportunity for discussion and exchange between fellow professionals.
An event by AICA Germany in cooperation with the Federal Cultural Foundation
The congress opened on 3 October at Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin and convened the Berlinische Galerie on 4 and 5 October 2019.