Art in Context Index

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‘Fabricated in the socius, art is only sustained by itself. This is because each work produced possesses a double finality: to insert itself into a social network which will either appropriate or reject it, and to celebrate, once again, the universe of art as such.’

— Felix Guattari

Art in Context is an organization that brings together practitioners from the arts and other societal fields in order to activate specific sociocultural issues. Aiming at a wider understanding and reimagining of common social space, Art in Context launches collaborative short and long-term projects that propose a closer exchange between art and society.

Art in Context subscribes neither to art in its ‘commodity-autonomy’, nor to art as a social service. Instead it considers art to be a vital social function that exists and finds its fulfillment in negotiation and friction with other social realms. In this process art cannot serve simply as ‘a mirror of society’, but is recognized as an integral part of it, offering possibilities for reflection and productive social action.

Subjects and issues whose workings and effects are generally accepted as ‘common knowledge’ — because of its assumed unchangeability — in fact sustain the problems that limit a deeper analysis of contemporary social conditions. Art in Context challenges such agreed upon ‘truths’ by confronting and employing views and methodologies coming from different disciplines.

For Art in Context, art’s ‘double finality’ takes artists together with other professionals into those terrains where social qualities are questioned; including the material and immaterial values that together shape and condition a culture. The main strands of Art in Context’s activities are contextual art production, presentation, publication and the production of art educational tools.

Art in Context 2012-2016

Art in Context was initiated as an extra-curricular educational program at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam. The aim of the program from 2012 to 2016 was to work with selected students from all departments of the academy and to introduce them to different social groups and contexts outside the art educational institution. In the four-and-a-half years of its collaboration with the academy, Art in Context launched five projects, worked closely together with the Cobra Museum of Modern Art in Amstelveen and built a network of collaborators and peers.

The five projects that Art in Context launched were ‘Stock Market’ (2012, in collaboration with the stock exchange Euronext in Amsterdam, presented at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie), ‘Charity’ (2012-13, in collaboration with a.o. Amnesty International, performed at Smart Project Space, Amsterdam), ‘Public Relations’ (2013-14, in collaboration with the PR agency Total Identity, exhibited and performed at the Cobra Museum), ‘Laughter’ (2014-15, in collaboration with the ING Bank and the Cobra Museum, presented and performed at Frascati Theater, Amsterdam) and ‘Education’ (2015-16, in collaboration with and performed and implemented at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie with an exhibition at the Cobra Museum). For each of the projects a topical publication was produced, containing texts and works by participating students and guest authors.