Content and goal of the research project
Political art has been growing in popularity for some years now. Based on the shared assumption that art is socially relevant, there are numerous exhibitions, biennials, conferences and even degree programmes dedicated to artistic practices with a political message, while activist art is being collected in archives and boosted with grants.
Moreover, the degree to which artistic production is relevant to its target group (population group, neighbourhood, policy makers, etc.) is now considered a key factor in its reception. While relevance as such is not measurable, it is a value produced through discourse, negotiated in an exchange between actors with interpretive authority (artists, critics, art educators, academics and philosophers). The project’s aim is to reappraise and clarify the complex relationship between politically engaged artistic practice and its counterpart, social reality.
The disciplines involved in this negotiation (art, history of art, philosophy/aesthetics, art education) are brought together in an interdisciplinary team. In five sub-studies, certain exemplary constellations (artistic practice, art-critical and -historical reception) and their given context (aesthetic and art history) are being reappraised. The findings will be published online, in the form of a Vocabulary of Art and Politics.
Academic and social context
Discussing the relevance of art also sheds light on the mostly tacit understanding of its function in society, establishing an argumentative basis for contemporary cultural-political debate, for which this very question is of foundational importance.