The art world has sought to democratise artistic display over the past two decades, to limit the association with ‘highbrow’ culture and to encourage diversity in artistic form, and to encourage a wider range of audiences to engage with art. However, although these democratising moves have been effective in several respects, there has been less attention to the way that the rise of economic inequality, and the accumulation of wealth and capital might be an issue for artistic exploration and curation.
We will be conducting a small scale project to explore how the practices of curators and artists in a series of leading London galleries are aware of current economic challenges associated with inequality, and how they understand the dynamics of contemporary social change. We will conduct a series of interviews with the curators of public art galleries and private galleries, and with a number of artists who have been identified as exploring current social issues. We expect to find that artists are developing important repertoires for comprehending current challenges and will use our findings to encourage a better understanding from social scientists of these innovations, and to enhance the public significance of art for current debates.