Doing Exhibitions Politically

Exhibition catalogues and special projects

A collection of texts by artists and art theorists edited by curator Viktor Misiano.

Viktor Misiano is a contemporary arts theorist, the founder and editor in chief of the Moscow Art Magazine. He was a curator of the Russian Pavilion and the Central Asian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, and has also been involved in many contemporary art projects.

In 2011, against the backdrop of civil rights protests in the Middle East, the Occupy Wall Street movement in the United States, and the political crisis in Russia, art and exhibition practices began to be taken up by the media in terms of their political expression. The boundary between historical reality and the subjective refraction of this reality in the practices of artists and curators needed to be taken into consideration: what is the difference between a political exhibition and an exhibition done politically?

These reflections became the starting point for developing the concept of the First Moscow summer school for curators, which was held in July 2012. It brought together young representatives of Russian and international professional communities. The school format suggested lectures and seminars on a given topic, but in fact it became a long three-week discussion about the political aspects of modern culture. The initiative to open a school for curators came from the V–A–C Foundation in collaboration with curator Viktor Misiano in autumn 2011.

Should art react in some way to political events which are external to it? Or does art find itself exclusively inside a logic of its own immanent development? Do artistic actions influence society or how do they differ from political actions? Does art have a clear social function? Or, on the contrary, does art simply lose out from a clearer definition of its social role?