In the academic year 2013-2014 Art in Context focused on PR Public Relations. The group of participants and tutors addressed the development, internal logic and contemporary relevance of the topic and tried to understand how it became one of the main orientation points for our societys self-perception. The topic was approached from a variety of perspectives, ranging from the importance of PR in a contemporary art practice, to PR in the political sphere and in the commercial world. In what way does the attempt to reach the audience influence our practices? Who are its addressees? Can an honest political campaign exist? Why to sell anything to anyone?|
The topic was explored in close collaboration with the Cobra Museum of Modern Art. Art in Context participants visited the museum on a regular basis: researching its extensive archive, working with the curators and attending lectures. While researching the archive of the Cobra Museum, participants mainly focused on the attitude and social position of Cobra artists from the 1940s and 1950s, discovering hidden or clearly marked ideologies in their activities and in those of the institutions involved, like eg. the Amsterdam Stedelijk Museum and its then director Willem Sandberg. It allowed participants to make comparisons to their own practice and the social context in which they place their work today.
1 Opening of the exhibition at the Cobra Museum of Modern Art in Amstelveen; performance by Suzanne Bernhardt
2 Opening of the exhibition; performance, by Ken Rooney
3 Performance by Ivana Filip
4 Installation by Loydis Carnero
5 Installation by Marie Vedel
The perception, self-perception and social position of artists has dramatically changed since the mid 20th century and, as the museums contemporary art curator Hilde de Bruin points out in her contribution to the Public Relations publication, their (the artists) main skills to master nowadays are of a rather entrepreneurial character, and consist among others of a considerable amount of networking, self-promotion and dealing with the media. Realizing their own desire for or rejection of public visibility came to be one of the important focuses in this part of the research. Additionally participants inquired into how PR strategies operate within a contemporary art institution, using the Cobra Museum as a case. The collaboration resulted in an exhibition and performances at the museum in June 2014.