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What's the Point of Contemporary Art?


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Editor's note: We apologise that the start of this recording is missing.

Speaker(s): JJ Charlesworth, Mark Rappolt

Recorded on 30 October 2013 in Hong Kong Theatre, Clement House.

The art world seems to be going from strength to strength, even in the midst of recession and austerity. Collectors pay record prices at auctions, while commercial galleries set up global branches to meet new markets and museums pursue ambitious expansions plans to cater for a growing audience.

But as the art world seems to get ever bigger, is the culture of art itself changing? With public funding being cut and smaller commercial galleries and independent spaces struggling to survive, is contemporary art in danger of becoming more corporate and more spectacular? And with the globalisation of the art world gathering pace, can artists still speak to a broader public, or are they increasingly only addressing a transnational elite of the rich and powerful? Who is art for today, and what can artists hope to achieve?

JJ Charlesworth has been writing about contemporary art since he left Goldsmiths College London in 1996, where he did a degree in art. He is Associate Editor for ArtReview and writes regularly on art for magazines such as Art Monthly, Time Out London and the US website Art Agenda.

Mark Rappolt is the Editor of ArtReview. His writing has appeared in a number of publications and includes catalogue essays on Slater Bradley, Alex Katz, David Cronenberg and women artists of the 1960s, amongst others. Books include monographs on the architects Greg Lynn and Frank Gehry. He is based in London and Vienna.

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