Readings for Art Users #5

March 23, 2016
Readings for Art Users #5

Readings for Art Users #5: Art, Class, Revolution. From Guy Debord to Andrea Fraser.
Presenters: Michał Kozłowski, Kuba Szreder, Natalia Sielewicz, Łukasz Ronduda
Special guest: Mateusz Kwaterko
March 23, 2016, 6 p.m.
Emilia Pavilion Auditorium
Museum of Modern Art, Emilii Pater 51


Art that is directly political is bad art – that is the verdict of aesthetic validity. But art is treated as a political instrument regardless of whether it contains any political message or not. Such use is not necessarily vulgar or propagandist. An aesthetic rejection of necessity and the artistic ode to uselessness, instead of constituting a promise of universal freedom, often serves as a fig leaf covering class privilege or becomes its shameless affirmation. That is why the avant-garde’s avant-garde doesn’t want to make art any more, they want to pursue artistic politics of a higher rank: one that gets rid of both art and politics itself once and for all. Can such an undertaking still succeed? Could it ever succeed? The reading for this seminar will include a contemporary text by Andrea Fraser titled L1% C’est Moi (2011), which is part of the Bread and Roses exhibition, and Theses on the Cultural Revolution by the avant-garde classic Guy Debord (1958). Mateusz Kwaterko, the Polish translator of Society of Spectacle, will reconstruct Debord’s stance on art and revolution.


The texts will be sent to those interested in participating in the seminar a week before the event. Please e-mail with the title “Art User Readers” to receive the texts. The reading material will also be available at the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw reception at Pańska 3. The meeting will take place in the auditorium on the first floor of the Emilia pavilion.


About the events

The Free/Slow University of Warsaw team invites you to a new series of seminars organized in conjunction with the “Making Use. Life in Postartistic Times” exhibition. The Free/Slow University, referring to the flying university tradition, offers art users a series of self-study meetings. The readers will help build a concept toolbox that enables independent tinkering with the key ideas necessary to understand the role and situation of art in today’s world. Art User Readers refer directly to exhibitions organized at the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw (“Making Use”, “Why We Have Wars” and “Bread and Roses”), rooting a theoretical reflection in a conversation on current art and curation practices. A series of seven seminars will consider various questions, including: What is the applied value of art? Is art useless? What does ‘making use’ mean in this context? Do we live in a post-artistic age? Is the avant-garde dream of a fusion of art and life still an unfulfilled one? Can art still lead to radical transformations of everyday life? What is artistic competence? How does it radiate to other spheres of life? What are the possible art worlds? What is the worth of institutions that keep up artistic autonomy? What is the ethnographic turn in art? Can the art world effectively include the excluded? What is the connection between DIYers and hackers? What kind of work is done by social network users?


Readings for Art Users has been conceptualized and organized by:

Sebastian Cichocki, Joanna Figiel, Michał Kozłowski, Zofia Płoska, Tomasz Rakowski, Kuba Szreder