The initiative of the Interros publishing program
ART & EDUCATION
The educational perspectives of the contemporary art publishing
19-20 May 2006
In frame of Art Moscow Fair, Central House of Artist,
17-21 May 2006
The extensive development of Russian art system in the last few years manifests itself by emergence of the new art projects such as Moscow biennale, the development of the existent institutions (NCCA), the opening of the new art galleries and exhibition spaces, the institution of the prizes. But unfortunately we can witness some sort of imbalance in that development - the lack of competent artists, curators, art critics, working in the field of the current art production.
To form such a professional we need to establish an education system of new age, which will include a considerable theoretical training. Therefore, the publishing should become an important part of such an education programme in order to reassure the production of the necessary professional editions and printed output.
Thus far, Russian art academies continue to offer only old-fashioned educational programmes—an unreformed heritage of former times, which preserves mainly a practical approach to the training of students. There are a few private initiatives in the field of contemporary education, namely New Educational Strategies of the Institute of Contemporary Art in Moscow
(http://www.ica-moscow.ru) and Pro Arte in Saint Petersburg
The importance of theoretical training is determined by the need for a competent, contemporary artist.
The history and theory of twentieth century art are represented on the Russian market by a few domestic and translated books and a few periodicals, first and foremost Moscow Art Magazine.
The limited number of contemporary art historians in Russia today is caused by the lack of education on issues of art of the second half of twentieth century. For this reason, the translation of foreign texts should become an important part of the editorial programme. Such a program should include theorists like Clement Greenberg and Harold Rosenberg, and works such as Norbert Lynton’s The Story of Modern Art; T. J. Clark's Farewell to an idea; Uwe M. Schneede's Die Geschichte der Kunst im 20. Jahrhundert; and Art Since 1900: Modernism, Antimodernism, Postmodernism by Hal Foster, Rosalind Krauss, Yve-Alain Bois, Benjamin Buchloh, et al.
The history and theory of contemporary art are not the only subjects to be introduced to an artist. Foreign art academies offer a wide range of subjects such as media studies, social theory, cultural studies, social and critical histories of art, feminist art theory, anthropology, political science, etc.
The shaping of the new principles of contemporary education in the field of art is an issue relevant not only for Russia. It has not only become a subject of discussion in the international media, but also come to be regarded as an object of creative approaches by artists and curators at the world’s leading forums of contemporary art. In order to get an idea of the ways foreign countries approach art education, we have invited to our conference the curators of the important contemporary art project Documenta 12 (2007) because they have proposed “education” as one of the subjects of their forthcoming exhibition. The curators of the European biennale Manifesta 6 (end of 2006), participating in our conference, have declared that this year the project will be entirely dedicated to education in the field of art, and therefore the previously adopted form of an exhibition will be replaced by a three-month school project with the engagement of international artists as tutors.
So, the focus on educational issues in general and art training in particular in Russia and Europe at the same time is determined by the particularity of local conditions as well as common causes, such as the general tendency towards the loss of economic autonomy by universities and art institutions, which has resulted in the adaptation of the immaterial service strategies.
At the same time we should mention that Russia has recently joined the Bologna process (1). There are negative as well as positive reports on the process, e.g. the simplification of the exchanges of students and tutors inside the united international university system.
Curator of Documenta 2007 Roger Buergel writes that, “The global complex of cultural translation that seems to be somehow embedded in art and its mediation sets the stage for a potentially all-inclusive public debate.” The significance of contemporary education and art is heavily underlined by the curator—which reminds us of the age of Enlightenment. “Today,” he writes, “education seems to offer one viable alternative to the devil (didacticism, academia) and the deep blue sea (commodity fetishism).”
The high expectations for art and art’s role as an educator in society raises the question of the competence of artists, curators, critics, and theoreticians of contemporary art.
curator of the conference “Art&Education”
+7 495 710 10 19
(1) The Bologna process - an agreement of the Ministries of Education of 29 European countries, signed in Bologna in 1999, which is attempting to create more educational freedom for students in higher education in Europe, independent of citizenship and location, as well as a degree of integration and cooperation within the educational systems of European countries.