Chris Dercon - Should I Stay or Should I Go (The Clash)
12.11.2021 from 7PM
Academy of Arts, Architecture & Design in Prague, nám. Jana Palacha 80, Prague 1
The event is organising Hope Recycling Station
"Should I stay or should I go?" In asking this question in 2010, the artist Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster raised the issue of the potential offered by the experience of a museum visit. While the future of museums does not yet have a name, we are witnessing its birth. The past forty years were the post-war era, the post-Communism, post-colonialism, post-modernism, and even, already, post-Internet age. Since the rise of the first critique of institutions in the early 1970s, art institutions have undergone a lengthy identity crisis. The current demands for change first arose in the 1990s and grew stronger in the early 2000s, after a period which saw the development of participatory art and a new institutionalism. We shall ask loud and clear how we can think, or rethink, art institutions in an era defined by planetary civil war, growing inequality, and exclusive digital technologies.
The constant process of receiving and purchasing works of art. The lack of private museums now means that public collections are drowning in a sea of private collections, which often collect the same products. The overproduction of objects christened as "contemporary art" calls for private sites, just as the overproduction of clothes calls for outlet stores. A cynic might say that the more unequal the world becomes, the better it is for the art market. Paradoxically, sky-high prices are the result of overproduction.
The ethical expression of civic cosmopolitanism increasingly pushes museums onto the front line of the debate, as indicated by today's heated controversies: museum governance, the ethics of sponsorship, representing diverse populations, wage discrepancies, overcrowded museums, and the short- and long-term effects of the pandemic on visitor numbers, the economic models of our museums, and even on the architecture and infrastructure of our buildings.
We must think all futures together, ask questions that Google cannot answer, to seek out the future that we want to build collectively, not now as an end in itself but as a future in the service of the present.
Chris Dercon is an art historian, a documentary filmmaker and cultural producer. Following his studies in art history, theatre and film theory at the University of Leiden in The Netherlands, Chris Dercon began his career in a gallery before going on to organize various exhibitions in Belgium and The Netherlands. In 1988, he was made Artistic Director of MoMA PS1 New York. In 1990, he became Director of Programming at the Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art in Rotterdam and Commissioner for the Dutch Pavilion at the 46th Venice Biennale. In 1995, he was appointed Director of the Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum in Rotterdam. In 2003, he became Director of Munich’s Haus der Kunst, in 2011 of the Tate Modern in London, then of the Volksbühne theater of Berlin in 2017. He is also a member of the Wiels artistic advisory committee in Brussels. Since November 7, 2018 he has been the President of the Réunion des musées nationaux-Grand Palais in Paris.