ARCO 2008 – Trans:actions

Commerce and the Culture of Performance

ARCO, Madrid
Saturday 16 February 2008


In 2008 ARCO Madrid opened PERFORMING ARCO – a new section addressed to galleries that wish to present visual artists proposing Live Art (performances). To complement this strand ARCO invited the Live Art Development Agency to curate a day of talks around the issue of Live Art and the Art Market.

In a series of lectures, provocation, discussions and conversations Joshua Sofaer (artist), Louise Neri (curator) Adrian George (curator UK Government Art Collection), RoseLee Goldberg (art historian/Director of Performa Biennial of New Visual Art Performance) and Berta Sichel (Head of the Audiovisual Department at the Reina Sofia Museum) traded ideas about Live Art and the Art Market. With commissioned video interventions by Richard Dedomenici, La Ribot, Franko B, Tim Etchells, Alastair MacLennan, Marcia Farquhar, and Yara El-Sherbini.

Live Art and new performance based practices have been critical to the resurgence of interest in experiential and performative practices in the visual arts, and to the renewed status of liveness in contemporary culture in recent years. The social effect and cultural impact of Live Art has been instrumental in transforming galleries and museums into animated, socially engaged places, and in inviting artists to consider the kinds of conversations they would like to have with their audiences.

But where is such work placed – formally, culturally, critically, historically, and commercially? What kinds of relationships are possible between Live Art and the Art Market? What does the transaction of works and concepts that are often, in essence, actions mean? Does the Market inevitably blunt Live Art's sharp teeth and compromise its political intention? What can Live Art do in the Art Market, and for the Art Market, and what is the role of the Art Market in the culture of performance?

Debates about Live Art and the Market invite us to ask what can constitute a work of art; to question the relation between a true work and its dematerialised forms, residues, documentation, or instructions; to consider ideas of authenticity, intentionality and authorship; and to discuss notions of value.

Further information about ARCO 08

Banner image credit:

Alastair MacLennan. Image courtesy of the artist.

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