November 26, 2004 - Städelschule - Symposium: ‘THE POWER OF CRITICISM’
November 26, 2004


December 18, 2004


Staedelschule, Frankfurt am Main
Duererstrasse 10
D-60596 Frankfurt am Main
Tel +49 (0) 69 60 50 08-0
Fax +49 (0) 69 60 50 08-66

Peter Kubelka ‘Concert and Dinner for Animals and Humans’ Staedelschule, February 8 1983   


The Institute for Art Criticism at Frankfurt’s Staedelschule, founded in 2003 by Daniel Birnbaum and Isabelle Graw, has regularly been arranging lectures by leading critics and art historians.

December 15–17, Michael Fried will hold three Lectures: “Caravaggio: The Invention of Absorption”, “Barthes’s ‘Punctum’ – A Reading of ‘Camera Lucida’”, “Jeff Wall, Wittgenstein, and the Everyday”

December 18, the institute organizes a small conference that focuses on the very notion of criticism and on various understandings of criticism, ranging from “cultural critique” to “celebration.” Among the speakers are: Yve-Alain Bois, Benjamin H. D. Buchloh, Helmut Draxler, Tim Griffin. Titled “The Power of Criticism,” the conference wants to challenge the wide-spread verdict on criticism as a more or less obsolete practice, without any real function or impact in a highly commercialized and corporate art world.

Throughout the last decades, new theoretical approaches have attempted a fundamental critique of the traditional understanding of Modernism. The prevailing canon of art history and the conventional tools for interpreting art have been put into question. Does such a critique always result in a new consensus, even new hegemonies (a new canon, a new formalism)?

The question of what criticism can do or be when faced with the normative power of the market will be approached not only from a journalistic point of view but also in relation to a model of criticism as “Kulturkritik.” For a journalistic model of criticism, it seems necessary to ask, how one can disagree with the value-judgments of the cultural industry while operating from its center? And what notion of criticism would result from claiming a distance whilst acknowledging an essential entanglement? The cultural critical approach often raises another problem: while it insists on the possibility of a fundamental critique of society, it tends to neglect the specificity of its object. How can one reconcile the need for a more general analysis with the necessity of doing justice to one’s object?

What does criticism mean today? We invite art historians, practicing critics, editors, artists and academics from other fields to discuss these problems, to re-negotiate the predicaments of a critical approach today.

For more info please contact:

Staatliche Hochschule fuer Bildende Kuenste-Staedelschule
Duererstrasse 10
D-60596 Frankfurt am Main
Tel +49 (0) 69 60 50 08-0
Fax +49 (0) 69 60 50 08-66

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