Between the Past and the Present: Does Art Criticism Have A Future In De-territorialized Contexts? – Armenia, 29-30 September 2009

Today contemporary art and art criticism are confronted with the challenges of the globalizing world. The expansion of the sphere of immaterial production in world economy, constant transformations of contexts of creation and production and formats of representation, dissemination and archiving challenge the age-old professional divisions of social practices depriving art from its monopoly over the production of the symbolic. If contemporary art opposes this tendency by offering direct social and political critique, while simultaneously striving toward expanding its own economical resources, art criticism has taken up the function to construct a broad field of cultural mediation. Practices that come out of this field are directed towards the protection of art’s positions, as well as legitimization and justification of aesthetic strategies. To be involved in the development of these practices and related theories as well as in the educational processes is certainly evidence of the functionality and relevance of art criticism today. However, while restructuring the previous mechanisms of licensing and legitimization, these inter-penetrations simultaneously come to question the legitimacy of art criticism as a domain for autonomous aesthetic judgment and as prima prattica for artistic evaluation. How are the transformations and changes which take place inside of art criticism as a field reflected upon the local contexts of the geo-political outskirts of the Western culture (Central Asia, Middle East, the Caucasus and Turkey) — places in which art has been mostly conditioned by external religious and ideological rather than aesthetic factors while art criticism has been tolerated by power regimes only in its function as a persecutor? Is it possible to find a position between the modes of the past and the imperatives of the present in which art criticism would no longer be subservient to a dominant political ideology but would not fall into the perils of commercialism either? Is it possible to utilize its potential in directions that promote the formation of a truly democratic public sphere and civil society essential for the development of arts; encourage the transfer of knowledge and skills between generations and re-establishment of historical continuity without harbouring nationalist values and rhetoric? Can art criticism limit the resurgence of those phenomena which threaten cultural differences and contemporary imperatives of inter-cultural dialogue especially in territories and regions which have historically been zones of religious-cultural antagonisms and geo-political competitions? These are some of the questions we would like to touch upon during the upcoming AICA regional seminar organized in Yerevan, Armenia in co-operation with AICA-Armenia. The seminars will take place throughout three-days and will be complimented by visits to museums and educational institutions as well as meetings with local art and cultural practitioners. The panels are open to the public, and the priority will be given to audiences of students. The languages of presentations are English and Armenia. Simultaneous translation will be provided.

Nazareth KAROYAN (President of AICA Armenia)
Eva KHACHATRYAN (Member of AICA Armenia)
Producing manager
Nora GALFAYAN(Utopiana Association)
Cultural Program
Sona HARUTYUNYAN(Member of AICA Armenia, Adviser of Minister of Culture of RA)

- Vardan AZATYAN (Erevan, Armenia)
- Ruben AREVSHATYAN (Erevan, Armenia)
- Hrach BAYADYAN (Erevan, Armenia)
- Ramon Tio BELLIDO (Paris, France)
- Gamal BOKONBAEV (Bichkek, Kirghizstan)
- Tony CHAKAR (Beyrouth, Lebanon)
- Katerina DEGOT (Moscow, Russia)
- Christophe DOMINO (Paris, France)
- Galit Eilat (Tel Aviv, Israel)
- Deniz Erbas (Istanbul, Turkey)
- Vardan JALOYAN (Erevan, Armenia)
- Nazareth KAROYAN (Erevan, Armenia)
- Khatuna KHABULIANI (Tbilissi, Georgia)
- Sohrab MAHDAVI (Teheran, Iran)
- Ara NEDOLYAN(Erevan, Armenia)