52nd International AICA Congress Germany 2019

AICA International's 52nd Congress will be held in Cologne and Berlin, October 1–7, 2019. The congress theme is "Art criticism in times of populism and nationalism."

The Highlight in Cologne will be granting the Prize for Distinguished Art Criticism to a well-known art critic in Germany at Museum Ludwig in Cologne. The first two days in Cologne are dedicated to the administrative tasks of AICA International. If you want to join the congress in Cologne and are not involved with commissions as well as the administration council, you will be able to register for visits at prominent regional galleries and institutions. (only if there are at least 8 participants) Guests are welcome.

On Thursday morning, (Oct. 3rd) we will take the rapid train ICE at 8.44 a. m., which arrives at 1.05 p. m. at Berlin main station. Please book your reservation asap, as there are no other good connections in order to arrive in Berlin in time for the beginning of the congress at 3.30 p.m.

The opening ceremony of the congress itself will take place on October 3rd at Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin. On the 4th and 5th the congress will be hosted by the Berlinische Galerie.The Congress theme Art Criticism in times of Populism and Nationalism addresses some virulent issues concerning the role of art criticism from different points of views.

Populism shapes the contemporary media landscape and the field of art as well as cultural criticism. There are many discussions about the removal of controversial works of art and the influence of the #MeToo debate in the art. Ethical evaluation criteria are implemented, where women artists* consciously make provocative or seemingly naïve cultural appropriations with their works and actions. But where and how far do limitations of artistic freedom of expression go? What does the clash between the ethical and aesthetic say about our understanding of politically "responsible" art and „responsible“ art-critical approaches?

Our congress is dedicated to the possibilities of critical commitment for art as a socially embedded yet aesthetically free form of expression.

It is based on a diversity of points of views and provides moderated discussions after each presentation or after two controversial lectures. We want scientists, artists, authors, journalists to have their say and actively involve the audience. Not only the lectures, but also the resulting discussions will be recorded in the congress files.

Our programme currently envisages asking first about nuances in the conceptual understanding of populism in culture and politics, discussing populist lines of argument in the context of post-colonialism and investigating the effects of populism and nationalism in art-critical practice on the basis of case studies - both nationally and internationally. The thematic complex of censorship will also be introduced to the congress in reports by colleagues from various countries. The last day will be devoted to methods and formats of art criticism that may be considered as experiment in a special way by addressing or involving their audience. It will also deal with the role of (digital) distribution and the instrumentalization of art criticism in connection with the opening and closing of democratic public spaces.

From the 39 applicants who answered the call for papers, our international jury has selected 11 participants. We are looking forward to having long discussions with them and speakers invited and hope that you will get involved in these debates.