An ongoing annotated group bibliography maintained by the PSU Social Practice MFA program related to art and social practice.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Acts of Engagement: Writings on Art, Criticism, and Institutions, 1993-2002

Acts of Engagement: Writings on Art, Criticism, and Institutions, 1993-2002
by Michael Brenson

Personal note: Real-life situations are not intrusions that diminish our aesthetic experiences. They are the conditions that make them possible. Exploring and talking about these situations without reducing or exploiting them is another of the enduring challenges critics face.

Quotes of interest to me:

What I am making a plea for here, most of all, is engagement. There comes a time when people have to take a stand- for art, for the artist, for the imagination. For the artistic experience. For that way of dealing with private and public, self and other, that makes it possible to contest, to imagine, to dream, to feel the poetry of the world and the poetry of struggle, to realize the potential within each person for poetic identity. Against anyone, on any side, who wants to trivialize that experience.”

"What is the relationship between aesthetics and revelation and between aesthetics and ethics? How can I help make the world better? Where do I come from? What am I doing here?"

"Art professionals need to think harder about the way non-art professionals talk about art, particularly contemporary art."

"You can’t protect aesthetics by building a wall around it. The world is already in it. The most serious betrayal of the aesthetic, the betrayal of quality, does not lie in considering it in terms of psychology, economics, politics, philosophy, and history, but in denying the embededness of the world in whatever our experience quality and the aesthetic might be."

"What makes the art experience possible? Who can have it? Who profits from it and why? Without doubt, museums will remain essential sites for this experience and places where all sorts of inspiring encounters are possible. But it is not hard to appreciate why many younger curators, including those who have been organizing large international exhibitions around the world, aesthetic experience is fulfilled not when it encourages a heightened understanding of and greater participation in everyday life. Approaching the relationship between aesthetic experience and everyday life as both seamless and dialectical makes it easier for the uses of art to be consistently exposed and questioned. It also makes it easier to appreciate the gift of art while fighting for a better world".

"I have always believed in art but also why my belief in it revolves around notions of encounter, connection, and process."

"The primary language of the new museum is one of “visitor services”. It is dependant upon a constellation of words that includes access, community, conversation, dialogue, diversity, partnership, and transparency. This constellation is now largely disconnected from another constellation that includes words like commitment, courage, imagination, introspection, passion, process, risk, searching, and struggle. These words are part of the language of artistic creativity".

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