Deconstructive States in the Contemporary Condition

Lecture by Terry Smith (University of Pittsburgh)

2017.06.13 | Geoff Cox

Date Tue 31 Oct
Time 14:00 17:00
Location ARoS Aarhus Art Museum, Aarhus, Denmark

How are critical theory, artistic practice and public activism responding to the various kinds of reactionary resurgence so evident throughout the world today? Sovereign nations are behaving more and more like rogue states; and leadership of them is increasingly falling into the hands of rogues. As vast, global social movements, and as warring sovereignties, these rogues and rogue states are writing a collective suicide note that, despite their distractive denials, calls for the death of life on our planet. In this situation, critical thought takes on the task of exposing distraction, of showing it to be the shadow play that it is, and of revealing what it strives so strenuously to hide. It is from inside debates about the contemporary condition that critical theory has most to offer. This lecture will review some constructive and distractive elements within these debates, and the work by some of the artists who are making an important contribution to them.

The Lecture is FREE but if you do not have free access to ARoS, you need to register with Jacob Lund at jacoblund@cc.au.dk no later than 27 October 2017. Write “Smith at ARoS" in the subject line and state your name in the message.

TERRY SMITH, FAHA, CIHA, is Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Contemporary Art History and Theory in the Department of the History of Art and Architecture at the University of Pittsburgh, and Professor in the Division of Philosophy, Art, and Critical Thought at the European Graduate School. In 2010 he was named the Australia Council Visual Arts Laureate, and won the Mather Award for art criticism conferred by the College Art Association (USA). During 2001-2002 he was a Getty Scholar at the Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, in 2007-8 the GlaxoSmithKlein Senior Fellow at the National Humanities Research Centre, Raleigh-Durham, and in 2014 Clark Fellow at the Clark Institute, Williamstown. From 1994-2001 he was Power Professor of Contemporary Art and Director of the Power Institute, Foundation for Art and Visual Culture, University of Sydney. In the 1970s he was a member of the Art & Language group (New York) and a founder of Union Media Services (Sydney). He is the author of a number of books, notably Making the Modern: Industry, Art and Design in America (University of Chicago Press, 1993); Transformations in Australian Art (Craftsman House, Sydney, 2002); The Architecture of Aftermath (University of Chicago Press, 2006), What is Contemporary Art? (University of Chicago Press, 2009), Contemporary Art: World Currents (Laurence King and Pearson/Prentice-Hall, 2011), Thinking Contemporary Curating (Independent Curators International, New York, 2012), Talking Contemporary Curating (New York: Independent Curators International, 2015), The Contemporary Composition (Berlin: Sternberg Press, 2016), and One And Five Ideas: On Conceptual Art and Conceptualism (Durham: Duke University Press, 2017). He is editor of many others including Antinomies of Art and Culture: Modernity, postmodernity and contemporaneity (with Nancy Condee and Okwui Enwezor, Duke University Press, 2008). A foundation Board member of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, he is currently a Board member of the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, and of the Biennial Foundation, New York. See www.terryesmith.net/web/

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