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<nettime-ann> Disrupting The Gaze: Art Intervention and the Tate Gallery
marc garrett on Thu, 18 Apr 2013 16:22:01 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime-ann> Disrupting The Gaze: Art Intervention and the Tate Gallery.

Disrupting The Gaze: Art Intervention and the Tate Gallery.

By Marc Garrett (PDF Download)

Printed in - Digimag Journal – Issue 74 / Winter 2013 “Uncertainty Reloaded”
Curated by: Roberta Buiani and Marco Mancuso. With contributions by: Franco Torriani, Ildiko Meny, Daphne Dragona, Marc Garrett, Maria Androulaki, Alessio Chierico, Henrique Roscoe, Markéta Dolejšová, Adam Zaretsky, Evelina Domnitch & Dmitri Gelfand, Renate Quehenberger


Disrupting the Gaze is written in three parts. The first chapter Art Intervention and the Tate Gallery investigates contemporary art intervention at the Tate Gallery. It includes artists, art groups and activists: Graham Harwood, Platform, Liberate Tate, IOCOSE, Tamiko Thiel, Mel Evans, Mark McGowan, Mark Wallinger, Damien Hirst and Britart. The second chapter The Power and the Gaze studies the history of the Tate Gallery, its connection with the Millbank Penetentiary and the “Panopticon", Jeremy Bentham’s design and concept for the prison. The third chapter explores different concepts of “the gaze” and includes feminist, societal and media art contexts. Together they form part of a larger study that looks at dissent in the context of contemporary art, technology and social change.

Each artist(s) featured in this chapter delivers his or her own particular unofficial and official mode of art intervention at the Tate Gallery. Whether these interventions concern economic, social or political conditions, they all connect in different ways. Less in their style or genre than as contemporary artistic practitioners exploring their own states of agency in a world where our public interfaces are as much a necessary place of creative engagement, as is the already accepted physical ‘inner’ sanctum of the gallery space. These artists’ and their artworks have become as equally significant (perhaps even more) than, the mainstream art establishment’s franchised celebrities.

In his vindication of those artists hidden away in places where the art establishment’s light rarely shines, Gregory Sholette observes that “when, the excluded are made visible, when they demand visibility, it is always ultimately a matter of politics and rethinking history.” (Sholette 2011) This draws upon a contemporary art culture and its audiences beyond the mainstream. These artistic discoveries and discourse arise from an independent art culture that is rarely reflected back to us. Instead, we receive more of the same, marketed franchises. The central, mainstream version of contemporary art has found its allies within a global and corporate culture, where business dictates art value. Meanwhile, a spirit of artistic emancipation thrives. It is self styled, self governed and liberated from the restrictive norms that dominate our mediated gaze.
We live in a world riddled with contradictions and confusing signals.

Our histories are assessed and reshuffled according to the interests of the powerful, and re-introduced as fact. We might fail to notice that there are so many bits missing. We accept what is given through sound bite forms of mediation and build our cultural foundations on these acquired assumptions and imagined guidelines. This paper studies how contemporary artists are challenging these defaults through their connected enactments and critical inquiries into the existing conditions. It highlights a continual dialogue involving a historical struggle between what is held up as legitimate art and knowledge, and what is excluded. It looks at a complexity, embedded in the class divisions of our culture. And it draws upon struggles going as far back as the enlightenment, the Industrial Revolution, colonialism and slavery to present day concerns with the dominance of neoliberalism. The Tate Gallery is chosen as a focus for these various historical, contemporary, political and societal conflicts and its ability to hold our gaze as an icon of culture, since it was founded in 1897.

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