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2023 55. Internationaler AICA Kongress Krakau

Contested infrastructures

Art criticism and the institutionalisation of art

In the past two decades, modern cultural institutions have become contested in a twofold sense – rendered as objects of both political rivalry and far-reaching critique. On the one hand, as liberal and social-democratic ideals have been losing their hegemonic status in the West, proponents of illiberal democracy came to compete for authority over public theatres, galleries and museums, viewed primarily as instruments of social influence. On the other hand, more and more voices in the global art field claim that modern institutions are unfit to meet the challenges that arise not only from current cultural or political disputes, but above all from the long-term economic and ecological crises that shake the very foundations of modernity. Therefore, facing the crisis of modern institutions’ legitimacy, many practitioners try to foster new modes of organization in the cultural field; often times, modes that deviate purposefully from the Western cultural hierarchies and social imaginaries. With these developments in mind, we envisage the annual congress of AICA in 2023 as an enquiry into art makers and critics’ approaches to the ongoing crisis and transformation of cultural institutions – as well as the shifting grounds of art criticism itself. If the contestation of modern institutions’ legitimacy entails a re-evaluation of the public sphere as an Enlightenment-rooted concept, contemporary critical practices’ allegiances to the public, demands special attention. As frequent employees and collaborators of galleries, museums and art schools, most critics can hardly claim to be objective, neutral arbiters of their operations, or simply to act in the name of the universal common good.

Incidentally, from the Central and Eastern European perspective in particular, the subject of cultural institutions’ legitimation carries a lot of weight at the present time. In Poland – as in the Czech Republic or Slovakia – the post-transformation network of public museums and galleries has been consolidating over the last thirty years. Today, while the task of building new infrastructure is receding into the background, important and inherently political discussions emerge in the region about the use of existing facilities. Meanwhile, across the eastern border of the European Union, Russian troops are devastating resources in all sectors of Ukrainian public life. The wartime crisis, however, is already provoking discussions about the values that will define the trajectory of institutional reconstruction. For the above reasons, undertaking a debate about the institutional contexts of art and criticism in Kraków, seems not just timely, but incredibly urgent.

Post-Kongress in Rumänien (!8.-19.11.2023)

Post Congress Schedule

Below is the proposed visit schedule:
(please note that time is extremely tight, so we cannot include more destinations, even if they might be very interesting)
Saturday, November 18 in Bucharest
Flight Krakow-Bucharest:
-Austrian Airlines – 07:25-12:30
-Lufthansa – 06:00-12:10
13:30 – National Museum of Contemporary Art + lunch (catering) in the Museum’s last floor cafeteria (Exhibitions TBD)
16:00 – National Museum of Art of Romania (Permanent collection of medieval and modern art and the works of the modernist sculptor Romulus Ladea)
18:30 – Malmaison (TBC). A community-based artist-run spaces and studios in a reconverted ancient military building.
20:00 – Dinner (TBD)
Stay overnight in Bucharest
Sunday, November 19, in Timișoara.
TM-BUC flight: Tarom – 10:20-11:40
13:00 – Lunch (TBD)
14:30 – Timișoara Art Museum, Constantin Brâncusi exhibition.
15:30 – ISHO (Art Encounters Biennale head quarter, exhibition TBD) or U Barracks (project "after SCULPTURE / SCULPTURE after" + "(At) the limits of representation";
17:00 – Kunsthalle Bega (exhibition TBD)
18:00 – Jecza Gallery (exhibition TBD)
19:00 – Meeting and discussions with the local artists, curators and critics + dinner (catering) at Jecza Gallery.
Below are also some hotel suggestions.
Surely, there are more other options, but this is up to each person to choose.
Peakture Hotel
Hotel Berthelot
Hotel Timisoara
Hotel Ibis Timisoara
Old Town
Continental Hotel
Conf. Univ. dr. | PhD, Associate Professor
Department of Cinema & Media
Faculty of Theatre and Film
Babeș-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca 
President | International Association of Art Critics (AICA) Romania

Call for papers Deadline 15 May 2023

Call for Papers Deadline: May 15, 2023.

 Proposed subject areas: 

 - art institutions as instruments of value-creation 

- the institutionalisation of art criticism 

- decolonial critique of modern institutions 

- speculative proposals for novel cultural institutions 

- condition of institutional networks in conflict zones 

- institutional forms of censorship and responses from art criticism 

- art and criticism beyond institutions 

- alternative/weak/spectral infrastructures supporting art and criticism 

- occupation and reclaiming of cultural institutions 

- art institutions facing the eco-crisis 

Abstracts must be submitted to:

Read the full Call for Papers, the confirmed keynote speakers bios, and the program outline here: ENGLISH | FRENCH | SPANISH

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