Stefano Baia Curioni | Bocconi University Mailand | Philosophic money. Behaviours challenges and possibilities oft he contemporary art system

Ringvorlesung | Kunstmessen ↔ Kunstmarkt │ Art Fairs ↔ Art Market | 14.11.2019 | Lecture

The lecture will concentrate on the functional and organizational multiplicity of the contemporary art system. Its complexity crushes any definition and challenges most of the attempts to set a clear and stable picture of itself. It is a market, it does trade commodities or singularities; but it is also the arena in which communities found voices, in which the common good of poetry find a place; it is an informal showcase for of the representation of the vanity of pretending and real élites but also, eventually, it is an arena of political activism. This professional world – activated by the interaction among artists, curators, galleries, dealers, museums and exhibition spaces, collectors and luxury purchasers –  faces the very delicate task of reproducing and legitimizing the auratic dimension of the art works within the global contemporary capitalistic system. This task, and its shifting meaning, is operationalized through a layered network, which actively mediates poetry, recognition and money; this environment, set up by individuals and institutions, is dense, moving, constructive and creative, but also rigidly ruled and hierarchized.

The research that will be presented will try to interrogate this system as a community of practices, in which actions, thoughts, behaviours, social rules constantly share a representational and symbolic dimension, and cultural statements. Even when it appears to be just gaming pure financial interests. This interrogation lasted for more than ten years now, with different focuses: on the practices of galleries and museum , on the collector practices, on art prices, on the problematic issue raised by the idea of “aura” in the contemporary cultural environment. The evidences piled up as the result of a multiplicity of methodologies and research practices, within and outside the academic environment: statistical analysis: qualititative analysis, historical analysis,  dialogues with artists, galleries and curators, and also through the experience of a direct involvement in curatorial, managerial, and institutional tasks.

The lecture will offer some glances on the experience trying to elaborate upon three main statements:

  • The art system exist and it is the womb of the creation of contemporary art.
  • The art system is a crucial global cultural and political engine that played and might play a crucial role in the world cultural debate.
  • The art system evolves following the gravity of contradictory attractors that jeopardize its traditional role. As a result the art system ends up as a partially legitimized periphery of the contemporary cultural and political debate, but also, eventually, as a non-relevant-for-the-art environment.

Some policy, institutional and educational issues will raise from the discussion of these statements.

Stefano Baia Curioni: Associate Professor at the Departement of Social and Political Sciences at Bocconi University, co-founder of the undergraduate and graduate course of Economics and Management for the Arts, Director of the Ask Research Center of Bocconi Unversity; Visiting Professor at IMT phd school in Lucca. Counsellor of the Italian minister of Culture in 2014 and 2015 for the reform of Italian State Museums, President of the state commission for the nomination of Italian Capital of Culture for 2018 and 2020 and board member of Piccolo Teatro of Milan and National Museum of Brera in Milan. Currently Director of Fondazione Palazzo Te in charge of the management and cultural programming of Palazzo Te Museum and exhibition center in Mantua.

Universität zu Köln | Hörsaalgebäude | Hörsaal E | 17.45 (s.t.)

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