The Aesthetics of Social Equality: Avant-Garde, Populisms and the People
This symposium explores the social and historical interweaving of art and avant-garde aesthetics with universal demands for equality and the right of the “people”: the underclass, the underprivileged and the oppressed. Drawing on the technocratic rise of a current liberal anti-populist discourse in Europe and the USA that unilaterally discards appeals to the people as dangerous and irresponsible, whether coming from the left or from the right, this event explores the implications of artistic experiments that place discourses about emancipation, race and gender equality, the abolition of labour exploitation at center stage, while also advancing a contentious politics or dichotomous representations of social affairs. In the Western tradition of aesthetics, and especially in the writings of Clement Greenberg and Theodor Adorno, one can trace a certain disdain for artistic practices whose motives become too obvious, too moralistic or just too ‘easy’. Such practices seem to downgrade civil responsibility rather than enable it. The figure of the ‘philistine’, in Adorno’s work for instance, the uncivilized ‘other’ whose judgement relies on instinct rather than reflection, can be seen, according to this tradition, as the exact audience that populist art addresses. The current anti-populist discourse emerging in Europe and the world, which morally condemns the people as irrational and uneducated, often draws on such assumptions. Rather than seeing populism as an evil category strictly separated from its ‘other’, this event will ask under which conditions populisms, and the rhetoric of intolerance and immediacy they harbour, can be thought as egalitarian and socially transformative practices.
Emilia Palonen, Lecturer in Political Science, University of Helsinki
Populism on the Loose: From Demography to Democracy
Trevor Wilson, University of Pittsburgh
Works of Wisdom: Humans after History, Art after Labor?
Kristóf Nagy, Artpool Research Center
From Artistic Radicalism to National Populism: The Trajectory of the Inconnu Group in the 1980s
Riccardo Mario Cucciolla, HSE, Moscow
The Spectacularization of Soviet justice. The Gdlyan-Ivanov affair, 1987-1991
Panos Kompatsiaris, HSE, Moscow
Contemporary Art and Left-wing Populism: Between High Aesthetics and Working Class Militancy
Yiannis Mylonas, HSE, Moscow
For a People’s Cinema in Crisis Times: The Agonistic Poetics of Pantelis Voulgaris’ “The Last Note” and Remembering the Occupation and Resistance of Greece
Michał Murawski, Queen Mary, University of London/Vysokovsky Graduate School of Urbanism, HSE Moscow
The Path to Culture T(h)ree: From Palatial Communism to Paradisiacal Putinist Populism
Sarah Wilson, Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art, The Courtauld Institute of Art
± MAY '68: Street Art, Art for the People. Havana, Paris, Vietnam.
Eleonora Vratskidou, Technische Universität, Berlin
Abstracting Power Asymmetries: documenta 14’s Ideal of Lateral Solidarity based on a reading of Gustave Courbet
Angelina Lucento, National Research University-Higher School of Economics, Moscow
Painting with the People, for the People: The Association of Artists of Revolutionary Russia (AKhRR) and the Birth of Radical Art Practice in the USSR
James Day, University of Copenhagen
Statues of Salt - Notes on the Dissolution of the Avant-garde into Everyday life, 1972-2018.
Maria Podzorova, Paris Diderot – Paris 7, Laboratory ICT
Mother or Sexual Object: Image of Woman of the Working Class in the Illustrations of Socially Committed Western Artists in the Interwar Period.
Polina Pugacheva, Higher School of Economics, Moscow
Nonprofessionals Guarding Local Associations: DIY Culture vs Exploitation of Amateur Labor in Theater
Alexandra Antoniadou, University of Edinburgh
Counterpublics in the Production of Contemporary Greek Art
Kaija Kaitavuori, University of Helsinki
The Aesthetics of Multitude: Ordinary People as Creators and as Material of Art
Fani Giannousi, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
Greek Art and the Refugee Crisis. Genuine Art or a Fashionable One?