Art and its Frames. Continuity and Change

June 14th and 15th, 2014

with Beatrice von Bismarck (Leipzig/Berlin), Julia Bryan-Wilson (Berkeley), Helmut Draxler (Berlin/Nürnberg), Andrea Fraser (Los Angeles), Renée Green (Cambridge, Mass.), Hannes Loichinger (Lüneburg), Sven Lütticken (Amsterdam), John Miller (New York), Marion von Osten (Berlin), Gerald Raunig (Zürich), André Rottmann (Berlin), Stefan Römer (Berlin), Simon Sheikh (London) und Ulf Wuggenig (Lüneburg)

The Kunstraum of Leuphana University Lüneburg opened in 1994. Its first project was »Services«, for which Andrea Fraser and Helmut Draxler collaborated with the founding members of the institution, Beatrice von Bismarck, Diethelm Stoller, and Ulf Wuggenig. The project, also conceived as a forum for discussion, raised a number of questions that had a significant impact on the subsequent project-oriented work of the Kunstraum. The topics addressed included the type of »service« that artists render for institutions of the artistic field or also for society, the way in which project-based art can be conjoined with the interests of specific addressees – cultural constituencies –, and through which actors and mechanisms artistic production is transformed into legitimate culture.

Since the 1990s, the international art field has undergone diverse transformations that in the opinion of several authors have fundamentally called its relative autonomy into question. The discourses on creativity and innovation, the problematization of the effects of so-called artistic critique, the increasing orientation towards visitors and mediation requested from exhibition venues, the transformation of the field of universities and art academies through, among other things, the installation of curatorial programs, and the implementation of »artistic research« allow conclusions on societal changes resonating in various fields of cultural production.

Against this altered background, »Art and its Frames – Continuity and Change« addresses issues that accompanied the foundation of the Kunstraum twenty years ago. The concept of frame in the symposium’s title refers to its general connotations, but also and more specifically to its use in the artistic subfield of early institutional critique by artists such as Daniel Buren and Hans Haacke or authors such as Craig Owens. In their artistic or theoretical production, they reflectively approached the places and institutional structures of the artistic field and partially also the more comprehensive field of power in which it is embedded. Today, the potential of the term »frame«, employed as a theoretical concept by authors covering a wide range from Jacques Derrida to Erving Goffman, appears by no means exhausted.

Critique, collectivity, forms of knowledge, and heteronomy are four of the predominant points of reference of the presentations and discussions of »Art and its Frames – Continuity and Change« taking place on June 14 and 15 at the Kunstraum of Leuphana University Lüneburg.