How we experience and envision art differs according to where we work and the historical and political situations in which we are embedded. In Japan, for instance, art is a highly contested terrain, with the concept often dismissed as an import of the modernization and social reform campaigns of the Meiji era (1868–1912). Yet that very categorical precarity of art as an institution drives the emergence of new expression in Japan and makes the local context particularly suited for rethinking art in contemporary societies.
The AWT Talks roundtable brings together Japanese and international curators for frank exchanges about urgent issues in contemporary art. Instead of commissioning a series of presentations, “Why Art?” begins with a consciously broad question, to which each panelist is invited to respond by posing a question of their own to the group for discussion. Through the panelists’ interpolations, the initial question will continuously transform to accommodate a diverse array of contingencies and perspectives: Why [not] Art? Why [call it] Art? Why [address social issues through] Art? Why [does] Art [matter]?
Unfolding through an additive, re-combinatory logic, this experimental roundtable seeks to break down dichotomies between speaker and audience, expert and nonexpert, and foreign and local in order to open up new channels of communication. Discussion will be conducted in English and Japanese.
Curator, Yamaguchi Center for Art and Media
Executive Director, Artspace, Sydney
Curator, Hayward Gallery, London
Curator, Museu de Arte de São Paulo; Co-curator, 6th New Museum Triennial
Yokohama Museum of Art / Yokohama Triennale Office