Cluster: Culture, Art and the Public Sphere

Monique Bellan (right) and Nadia von Maltzahn (left) in the “Salon Room” of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, November 2016

Projects in this cluster share an interest in the political character of innovation in cultural
production, of forms of articulation and of publicness. In particular, this cluster deals
with processes of transformation of existing aesthetic, political and social orders, as
well as with the reflection, and possibly the theorisation, of artistic practices. The role
of institutions in shaping identities – and be it by rejecting the institution – is central to
the analysis.

Apart from two individual projects that will be introduced in future blog posts, Monique Bellan and Nadia von Maltzahn have also initiated a number of joint projects within the framework of the cluster. One of these deals with the question of challenges posed
by the migration of institutional patronage, as in the case of the art salon in the Arab
region that emerged in the colonial and post-colonial context in cities like Tunis, Cairo,
Damascus and Beirut. A symposium, organised with the Sursock Museum and taking place in Beirut on 27 and 28 October 2017, will discuss the emergence of the art salon in the region in the colonial and post-colonial context, reflect on knowledge circulation between Europe and the Middle East, and analyse the function of the art salon in relation to collecting practices and the public. Another joint project looks at questions of liberation and emancipation in art and cultural practices in the region, by examining the relationship between cultural players and authority. The agency of the artists or cultural players is in the foreground, positioning them within their time and space.

The projects in this cluster adopt a transregional perspective either by analysing
developments and phenomena in different countries in the region and beyond, or by
relating the analysis of a particular country to its regional and international context.
The translation and circulation of knowledge and practices is another field the cluster
looks at, by taking into account the role of networks and the interconnectedness of
developments that relate the different regions of the world to each other.

Cluster Projects:


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