Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Nicolaus Schafhausen ...Answering the question: Art trends: tired of participating


Nicolaus Schafhausen
Curator, Kunsthalle Vienna
© Kunsthalle Wien 2014, Photo: Sabine Hauswirth

Nicolaus Schafhausen

Current art should definitely not leave us alone. It has the potential to open up discourse, to inspire us, to jolt us. If the means for this are in events, it’s because art has to compete for viewers’ attention. Whether it’s masses of information in times of digital communication, sporting events, sociopolitical developments, or other branches of culture—contemporary art and its makers vie with countless other offers for consumer’ attention. Effective, ostentatious art products geared to participation not only draw a lot of visitors, but are also reported on often. So the crux of the issue is what is expected of art today. It should entertain and be fun. At the same time, however, art can and should be uncomfortable. It should challenge viewers and give them food for thought. Even if at some point there is an oversaturation or art not longer lives up to its potential as aesthetic commentary and free criticism, this is only the case because it doesn’t leave us alone.

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