U.Va. Art Museum Symposium Explores Contemporary Art, Mass Culture and Art Criticism

September 26, 2006

Sept. 26, 2006 -- The University of Virginia Art Museum has organized a two-day symposium Oct. 6-7 in conjunction with the special exhibition “Complicit! Contemporary American Art and Mass Culture.”  All programs are free and open to the public.

Artists, art historians and art critics will hold two panel discussions to explore the relationship between contemporary art, mass culture and art criticism today.

Oct. 6, 2-4:30 p.m., in the museum

“Art Criticism Now”
Panel discussion with artists Kevin Everson and Elena Sisto; John B. Ravenal, Sydney and Frances Lewis Family Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts; Paul Ryan, Associate Professor of Art, Mary Baldwin College and art critic, Artpapers; moderated by Johanna Drucker

The panel will discuss questions related to contemporary art and criticism. What kind of critical discussion is provoked by contemporary art, particularly the studio-based, conceptually sophisticated work that is in such active dialogue with mass culture? Do the critical paradigms inherited from early-20th century modernism or the avant-garde still hold? Can we imagine a critical discourse that is not grounded in a negative critique, and yet still preserves the sense of artistic practice as independent and imaginative in its ability to provide insight into experience? What would some of the founding tenets of such a critical approach be, and how would they arise from observation of current artistic activity?

Oct. 7, 10 a.m.–noon, Gravity Lounge, 105 South Street
Sponsored by the Gladys S. Blizzard Lecture Fund; Carl H. and Martha S. Lindner Center for Art History, McIntire Department of Art; Brown College; and Special Lecture Committee, University of Virginia

“Contemporary Art and Mass Culture”
Panel discussion with artists Julia Jacquette and Alberto Ray; art critic Peter Schjeldahl, The New Yorker; Dinah Ryan, director, Washington and Lee Art Gallery and art critic, Artpapers; moderated by Catherine Mitchell, membership and outreach coordinator, Second Street Gallery.

What is the identity and role of art in contemporary life? How do we recognize it? Who gives it value? What are the grounds on which works get defined as art and how are we to understand how to look at and talk about current works? How can we differentiate between contemporary artwork and artifacts of media or mass production, and what does it mean that so many artists seem to be in active dialogue with material culture?

For additional information contact the U.Va Art Museum at (434) 924-3592 or visit www.virginia.edu/artmuseum.