P23
Elite art in an age of populism: sowing monocultures?

Convenors:
Emilia Terracciano (Courtauld Institute of Art)
Deborah Swallow (Courtauld Institute of Art)
Location:
Arts and Aesthetics Auditorium
Start time:
6 April, 2012 at 8:30
Session slots:
2

Short abstract:

We welcome papers exploring the fading of national and local traditions in a new global mega-culture built in part on social networking sites.

Long abstract:

Today, most artists would admit that globalisation has penetrated all sectors of society, including that of contemporary art. But with the advent of globalisation we have witnessed the patronisation of multicultural work, fit for the enjoyment of predominantly western viewers. Over the past two decades, there has been a growing debate on whether a 'Biennale Aesthetic' is leading to the production of 'glossy' work which slots easily into a novel consumerist orientalism. Are artists providing viewers both at home and abroad reassurance that the world is becoming more comfortably monocultural? Although in the West some of the most successful 'boom' art appealed to popular taste- Hirst, Koons, Murakami, Kapoor and Gupta being the major figures; others floated an art world reputation out of popular approbation, and this was especially true of Banksy and other street artists. Do we see here a reworking and intensification of a postmodern populism? And if so, does it pose a deeper threat to elite culture than previously? In an age when there are millions of cultural producers with a potentially global audience, how do the art world and the museum respond? The panel welcomes papers which explore the fading of national and local dominance and traditions in art in the light of a new global mega-culture built in part on social networking sites.