Readings for Art Users #5
Art, Class, Revolution. From Guy Debord to Andrea Fraser.
Illustration: Krzysztof Pyda
Art that is directly political is bad art - that is the verdict of aesthetic validity. But art is treated as a political instrument regardless of whether it contains any political message or not. Such use is not necessarily vulgar or propagandist.
An aesthetic rejection of necessity and the artistic ode to uselessness, instead of constituting a promise of universal freedom, often serves as a fig leaf covering class privilege or becomes its shameless affirmation. That is why the avant-garde's avant-garde doesn't want to make art any more, they want to pursue artistic politics of a higher rank: one that gets rid of both art and politics itself once and for all. Can such an undertaking still succeed? Could it ever succeed? The reading for this seminar will include a contemporary text by Andrea Fraser titled L’1% C'est Moi (2011), which is part of the Bread and Roses exhibition, and Theses on the Cultural Revolution by the avant-garde classic Guy Debord (1958). Mateusz Kwaterko, the Polish translator of Society of Spectacle, will reconstruct Debord’s stance on art and revolution.
The texts will be sent to those interested in participating in the seminar a week before the event. Please e-mail email@example.com with the title “Art User Readers” to receive the texts. The reading material will also be available at the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw reception at Pańska 3. The meeting will take place in the auditorium on the first floor of the Emilia pavilion.
The team of the Free/Slow University of Warsaw welcomes you to a new series of seminars accompanying the exhibitions "Making Use", "Bread and Roses" and "Why We Have Wars".
With reference to the legacy of flying universities, F/SUW organizes a series of self-educational meetings for users of art. Readings' participants will assemble a theoretical toolkit, which will enable them to operate freely within a vocabulary and concepts crucial for understanding the role and position of art in the contemporary world.
The texts in Polish will be distributed a week before the seminar in response to an e-mail sent to firstname.lastname@example.org titled Czytanki dla Użytkowników Sztuki. In addition, printed copies will also be available at the front desk of the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw. The meeting will be conducted in Polish in the auditorium located at the first floor of Emilia Pavilion.
The team of the Free/Slow University of Warsaw invites to a new series of seminars accompanying the exhibition "Making Use: Life in Postartistic Times"about Readings for Art Users. With reference to the legacy of flying universities, F/SUW organizes a series of self-educational meetings for users of art. Readings' participants will assemble a theoretical toolkit, which will enable them to operate freely within a vocabulary and concepts crucial for understanding the role and position of art in the contemporary world.
Seminars will refer directly to the exhibitions organized simultaneously at the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw ("Making Use. Life in the Post-Artistic Era", "Why We Have Wars. The Art of Modern-Day Outsiders", "Bread and Roses. The Strategies of Class Identification"), grounding theoretical reflection in the most recent curatorial and artistic developments.
The cycle will serve as a discursive platform, taking on such questions as:
- What is the use value of art?
- Is art purposeless?
- What does making use mean in such a context?
- Are we living in postartistic times?
- Does an avantgardistic dream of fusing art with life remain an unreachable horizon?
- Can art facilitate radical changes in society and everyday life?
- What is artistic competence?
- How does this extend to other domains of life?
- What kind of plausible art worlds are there?
- What is the value of institutions sustaining artistic autonomy?
- Is the art world capable, and under which conditions, to empower disenfranchised communities?
- What brings together DIY enthusiasts with hackers?
- What kind of work is being conducted by users of social media?
One of the main texts to resurface over the course of several seminars will be "Towards a Lexicon of Usership" by Canadian philosopher Stephen Wright. This work is to be juxtaposed with canonical texts (Immanuel Kant, Karl Marx, Friedrich Schiller) and contemporary positions (Howard Becker, Hakim Bey, Claire Bishop, Yann Moulier Boutang, Peter Bürger, Guy Debord, Hal Foster, Miwon Kwon, Lucy Lippard, Jerzy Ludwiński, Jacques Rancière, McKenzie Wark).