Dutch/Flemish Prize for Young Art Criticism

The bi-annual Dutch/Flemish Prize for Young Art Criticism (Prijs voor de Jonge Kunstkritiek) for art critics under 35, was awarded in December 2018 in Rotterdam to the Dutch art critic Sarah van Binsbergen. AICA Netherlands actively supports the Prize by translating the article into English, and having it published on the AICA International website. With this publication we expect the winning text will receive a wider audience on an international stage. 

Hélène Amouzou Self Portrait 2009.jpg

Hélène Amouzou, Self Portrait, 2009


Erik van Lieshout, Die Insel, in commission of Emscherkunst 2016, courtesy of the artist and Annet Gelink Gallery, Amsterdam, 2019

A Chicken Wire Ghillie Suit
Why artists sometimes become (in)visible in their work
By: Sarah van Binsbergen

Scuzzy wallpaper peeling off the walls, a stool half visible bottom left, a rough wooden floor. Someone’s standing in this dim setting, or are they? On the floor boards only their feet are clearly visible, above them the hint of a body, ephemeral as a wisp of smoke. In this black-and-white self portrait photographer Hélène Amouzou achieved something quite impressive: she’s appearing and disappearing at the same time.

When I saw the work a few months ago at the exhibition ‘Some Things Hidden’ in the Amsterdam exhibition space Framer Framed, I couldn’t help thinking about another recent artwork in which an artist tries to delete himself. Although the two works couldn’t be more different in style and form, on seeing Amouzou’s self-portraits the closing images of Die Insel, a 2016 film by artist Erik van Lieshout, who was recently awarded the Dr. A.H. Heineken Prize for Art, kept going through my mind. In its final scene the artist uproots plants with boisterous gestures and uses them to clad a piece of chicken wire. He adds branches, leaves, weeds, until the wire is entirely covered. He then places it over the one bench the island boasts. Gone. The remaining wire he uses to make a hollow construction of his own size, which he crawls into. There he is, completely immersed in his surroundings. The camera, wrapped in a plastic bag, captures the image from across the water.

It’s one of the most paradoxical themes in visual art: the artist’s self-disappearance. Referring to a quote by the Dutch author Cees Nooteboom, Joost Zwagerman says in De Stilte van het Licht (The Silence of Light), his final collection of essays, that every artist disappears in their work over time. In recent art history a few artists have tried to highlight this process and have made their total or partial disappearance the subject of their work; Lee Lozano, for instance, who disappeared from the art world with her Dropout Piece, or Chris Burden, who played with the freedom and anonymity wearing a mask allowed him in his work You’ll Never See My Face in Kansas City. And then there’s the artist who took the art of disappearing to the ultimate limit: Bas Jan Ader. Self-disappearance poses the artist with an interesting challenge. If it succeeds, there’s nothing to be seen anymore.

In the past few years, the theme seems to be making a comeback. A striking number of artworks and exhibitions have been made and mounted recently about the processes of becoming visible and invisible. The emphasis is often on the social and political dimensions of (in)visibility. That’s not very surprising; in times of on- and offline surveillance, oversharing and debates on representation and identity politics the question of what it means to be visible or invisible is extremely relevant. I therefore usually follow these developments with great interest and enthusiasm. But does visual art have any new insides to offer?

Ever since the mid noughties a growing group of - mainly young - artists has focused on what it means to be visible in a world populated by CCTV cameras, drones and other modern surveillance technologies. In a poetic manner they draw attention to the imperative visibility the modern world demands from us by making themselves invisible, or by encouraging the onlooker to do so. A striking example of this is the performance The Clandestine Way. The Path of Least Surveillance (2005), in which Belgian artist Francis Alÿs walked through London avoiding as many CCTV cameras as he could. Recently poet, performance artist and fellow Belgian Maarten Inghels made a new version of the work. In his The Invisible Route (2017) he took a similar walk through Antwerp. Just like Alÿs he made a map showing all CCTV cameras in the city. The Anti Drone Tent (2013) by Dutch artist Sarah van Sonsbeeck also draws attention to the downside of visibility: the tent is made of material which absorbs body heat, so drones using thermal imaging cameras cannot detect the occupant of the tent.

Another example of this anti-surveillance art is Facial Weaponization Suite (2011-2014) by American artist Zach Blas, a series of performances using ‘collective masks’ constructed from the facial features of different individuals with common identity markers such as gender, ethnicity or sexual orientation. With this work the artist responds to the ways facial recognition is linked with particular profiles and thus employed as an exclusion mechanism or, alternatively, for marketing purposes. The work Fag Face Mask (2012), for example, centres around a mask constructed from the facial features of various gay men; it’s a response to experiments which try to determine a person’s sexual orientation through biometric facial recognition. And more importantly: a response to the alarming fact that this apparently is possible.

The impressive thing about Van Sonsbeeck’s tent is the pairing of beauty and social criticism: the shiny golden material the tent is made of gives this shelter a majestic and fairy tale-like quality, but at the same time the artist wants us to think about the harsh reality of our vulnerability to present-day surveillance techniques and drone technology. Blas’s shiny deformed masks are intriguing to look at as well. Yet to me many of these anti-surveillance artworks lack a deeper layer of meaning: although they evoke interesting social questions about visibility as a form of submission and invisibility as a form of resistance, many of these works stay too close to the political developments they respond to in order to really captivate. The broader significance of visibility isn’t questioned, nor is the role of the artists who make (themselves) visible or invisible. As in many other forms of sociocritical art it ‘wants’ rather than ‘evokes.’

Erik van Lieshout’s Die Insel is a completely different story. Unlike the examples I mentioned above, this work doesn’t refer directly to notions of surveillance or representation, and yet it does feel like a comment on the limiting, oppressive influence that too much invisibility produces. The film was commissioned by a German art foundation which invited Van Lieshout to make an artwork in a nature reserve in Dortmund. The artist, who had just finished an exhausting and extremely social project and would have preferred to turn his back on society for a while as a modern Henry David Thoreau, immediately knew where he wanted to make his work: on a small desert island in the middle of the reserve. There is a wooden bench on it for passing sailors, but no one is allowed to stay for more than a short rest.

Van Lieshout manages to gain permission to work on the island for four months. Not that there’s much he can do there, everything has to remain as it is. And apart from plants, the aforementioned bench and some wooden poles, there’s basically nothing there. He doesn’t succeed in disappearing, which is what he had planned to do, either, for the paradox is that on that tiny island in the middle of the lake, he is incredibly visible. He’s being watched from all sides. At some point he buys a photograph of three armed Arabic men in the desert which he saw in someone’s window in Dortmund. He places the photograph on a pile of rocks on the island’s jetty, with the caption ‘Vorsicht: KUNST’ (Careful: ART). Soon the art foundation receives complaints from residents of the neighbouring villas: they interpret it as a monument glorifying violence.

In his book The Transparency Society philosopher Byung-Chul Han writes: a world in which everything is transparent, where all of your most private information can be made public in all sorts of ways and we enthusiastically participate in that, is a world in which eventually everything is blunted. In such a world art has no place, for imagination only exists by virtue of friction and contradiction. A desperate Erik van Lieshout on that puny little island, searching for a way to turn nothing into art, is a fine illustration of what happens to the artist’s freedom in a world in which everything is instantly visible and nothing can be hidden. In order to create his work in freedom he has to camouflage himself; hence all the fuss with the branches and the chicken wire. Van Lieshout’s disappearance also spells the film’s ending, however.

Erik van Lieshout is praised for his radical, uncompromising style and the sophisticated engagement that characterizes his work. He explores the fringes of society and makes multi-layered, challenging work in which he engages in conversation with people who are usually shunned: residents of disadvantaged neighbourhoods, addicts, homeless people and right or left wing extremists. His approach in his casually filmed videos is radically personal, however. He, Erik, always plays the lead as a (pretending to be) naive artist investigating a group or subculture and comments like a vlogger, with a great feeling for the tragicomical. And it’s always, or mainly, also about him; about his own struggle with his engagement and his identity as an artist. In that sense Die Insel illustrates the impossibility for the artist to disappear. ‘Without me you’re nothing, without me there is no film,’ he says in the film’s opening monologue. And he is right: by exploring his own ambitions as a gutmensch, his own neuroses and struggles, he also exposes his own - often ambivalent – stance towards his subjects.

In such an egotistical approach, something has to give of course, as in any art work or story some things are abandoned or eradicated. In an interview Van Lieshout says that with Die Insel he originally wanted to make a film about the refugee crisis. The island had to take him in and accept him as a metaphor for refugees being taken in and accepted by the German people under Merkel. Yet another meaning of ‘becoming invisible’, another layer. This is probably the reason why he takes a temporary assistant to the island, Ahmad from Syria. Ahmad is never seen, but does have a role in the film: his experiences as a refugee in Germany – amongst which are a number of heart wrenching stories about men and women who tried to help him but then try to talk him into their beds – are depicted by Van Lieshout in a humorous but quite crude way, with the help of the few things available on the island. Ahmad becomes a rosehip on a stick with a hard-on.

As his brother told Van Lieshout during an evening in De Balie: ‘You engage in conversations with people, but we only ever get to see your version of the story.’ An observation Van Lieshout also makes himself: ‘It’s about me, it’s always only about me,’ he laments in Die Insel in his thick Brabant accent.

Photographer Hélène Amouzou’s takes a different angle, but her work in its own way shows the tension between art, visibility and invisibility. In search of a way to dispel loneliness after leaving her homeland Togo, Amouzou took a photography course in her new place of residence, Brussels. The first assignment, a self-portrait, immediately presented an impossible challenge: as a stateless undocumented migrant she wanted no pictures of herself. Didn’t want to make herself visible, but instead to keep herself hidden. In an effort to show something of herself all the same she starts to experiment with various shutter speeds in the attic of her home in Molenbeek. Among suitcases, clothes and other things belonging to her neighbours she makes portraits in which she seems to disappear into the interior.

Although she couldn’t have been aware of it, for she never saw her work, Amouzou’s pictures show a striking resemblance to those of Francesca Woodman, the young photographer who committed suicide in 1981 and who left an impressive body of work. Woodman too made self-portraits in largely empty interiors in which her appearance constantly seems to elude you: in some pictures her body is blurry or transparent as a result of long exposure, sometimes she averts her face, in other pictures furniture, doors or an umbrella hide her from the lens. The pictures reflect a young woman’s longing to make herself visible without falling into cliché or female stereotype.

In his 2015 essay The Invisible and the Visible. Identity Politics and the Economy of Reproduction in Art curator Nav Haq poses that the way in which artists become visible in their work is largely determined by the question of whether or not they belong to a marginalized group. The white, male, heterosexual artist, says Haq, is in fact the only one who can remain invisible in his work because he embodies the standard, the objective, that which isn’t questioned. Haq describes how minority artists tried to fight their way into the art world in the 80s by embracing and emphasizing their minority identity, that which made them deviate from the norm. This worked both ways: they did gain entry into the art world, as long as their work represented a clearly demarcated group: woman, migrant, black, queer or anything else that deviates from the norm. Whilst some artists have managed to break free from this, non-western, female or other deviating artists’ art is still mainly regarded as an extension of their identity. The work is always seen as a self-portrait, whereas art by male artists is appreciated on the basis of a content disconnected from themselves.

This is what makes Amouzou’s photos, and those by Woodman before her, so interesting. The liminal ghostlike state in which they capture themselves in their photographs expresses a hesitation, or perhaps a refusal, to appear completely. Because for a woman in the art world of the 70s and a black, undocumented woman in the art world of 2018 to appear completely means your work will irrevocably be seen as ‘identity art.’ The longing to be completely present, on their own terms, without being reduced to a mere label, a category, is expressed in what they keep hidden.

From completely different angles and using completely different means, but using the theme of self-disappearance both Van Lieshout and Amouzou address what it means to be visible or invisible as an artist. Where ‘anti-surveillance art’ presents a simplistic contrast between visibility as submission and invisibility as freedom and adds nothing new to the meaning of (in)visibility today, Die Insel and Amouzou’s self portraits show the complex relation between seeing and being seen, between making visible and invisible; between representation and visual art.

As Hélène Amouzou’s floral wallpaper reminds us that she can only become visible as an artist in her own right by partly disappearing, Van Lieshout’s chicken wire suit reminds us that his work can only be about more than himself if he doesn’t disappear into it.

In Memoriam: Efi Strousa

In Memoriam

Efi Strousa died in January 2019

Efi Strousa, critic and curator, was for many years a very active board member of AICA, as President of AICA Greece, Vice-President of AICA International and more recently as Treasurer, a role she took when her predecessor, Haydee Venegas sadly died before the end of her term. Efi brought to AICA a rich cultural background, coming from a country that was the cradle of Western civilisation. She studied art history at the Courtauld Institute, London,  was  a brilliant linguist and spoke several languages, including English and French in which she was fluent. With the collector Dakis Joannou and Adelina von Fürstenberg, she was a co-founder of the Deste Foundation, Athens. She curated many exhibitions in Greece and abroad, at the Venice and Sao Paulo Biennales. She lives in our memory as a warm and generous colleague and friend. She leaves us a legacy in her many publications as a critic, especially on Greek modern and contemporary art.

Lisbeth Rebollo Gonçalves, President of AICA International

Eli Strousa is gone. The news about her death has arrived via a post by an AICA colleague this morning. For several years she was a member of my "AICA family". Without her AICA would not be as vibrant as it is today. I will remember her foremost as a brilliant and wonderfully complex person, fearless in fights for causes she cared about - and she cared about many things. She spoke many languages not only fluently, but with elegance and sophistication, which for me was a sign of her great humanism and curiosity. 
This picture was taken at my summer house in Aegina in 2013. Efi was among first people to visit it. She liked this photograph a lot. That was and always will be a great summer in our lives.

Marek Bartelik, Honorary President, AICA International

The Board of Directors of the Association of Greek Art Critics AICA Hellas is deeply saddened by the loss of Efi Strousa, one of the most important and internationally recognised members of the Association. With her texts and curatorial work, Efi Strousa left her pioneering and creative mark on Greek artistic history, from the heroic years of the 1970s until today. She collaborated closely with the artists on bold and innovative exhibitions, wrote texts that exhaustively analysed important artistic research projects in Greece and in Europe and got the recognition of the International Association of Art Critics, of which she was a Board member (International Section). As President of AICA Hellas for long periods and with unprecedented passion, she took initiatives that made our Association significant in forging the historical spirit of contemporary Greek art. With regards her personal activity, she was the creator of the artistic current that was formed in 1977 and since then dominated the Greek art scene first with the exhibition Myth and Reality in Bari, Italy, and then, with the Avant-Garde and Experimentation (Points of Enquiry, Points of Reference) in 1978, in Modena and Venice.
These exhibitions featured artists that today constitute the main expression of artistic research in the field of theory, methodology and technical functioning of artworks in the city's landscape. Her participation in the Europalia Arts Festival 1982 with the exhibition Emerging Images in Antwerp, was a catalyst for the emergence of a postmodernist stream of Greek artists who have since excelled in the European and later the international artistic arena. Additionally, she was one of the first collaborators of Dakis Ioannou at the DESTE Foundation for Contemporary Art, for which she curated the exhibition 7 Greek Artists: A New Journey. The exhibition was transferred to the Famagusta Gate in 1983 and contributed positively and creatively to the reconfiguration of the Cypriot physiognomy in the area of contemporary art after the moral disappointment and the human and material disasters caused by the Turkish invasion. Omitting the important exhibitions that followed, we shall focus on her crucial work, AICA Hellas’s contribution with the show Athina by Art, an event that was literally her work, with the emergence of more than 80 artists presented by 15 art critics, members of AICA Hellas, on the streets and public spaces in Athens.There is a great number of other initiatives she took, among which the establishment of the AICA Hellas Award. We will remember and always honour her bold spirit, her love for artists and her active social engagement, co-operation and respect for her colleagues. Her texts are now part of the Greek artistic history.

Emmanuel Mavrommatis, President of AICA HELLAS



AICA International and its Committee on Censorship and Freedom of Expression today sent a letter to the Cuban government expressing our protest to the detainment of several artists in Havana earlier this month, and against the decree 349 that will censor and limit artistic freedom in Cuba.

Cc’s were sent to Index on Censorship and the Organization of American States (OAS).

Letter (please scroll down for the Spanish version):

To: Council of Ministers of Cuba
att. Mr. Alpidio Alonso Grau, Minister of Culture

Paris, 11 December 2018

Subject: Arrest Tania Bruguera/Decree 349

cc. Index on Censorship

Dear Mr. Alpidio Alonso Grau,

The international Association of Art Critics (AICA) is a global organisation, established in 1948 by UNESCO, comprising art critics who are actively engaged in improving International cooperation in the fields of artistic creativity, mediation and endeavour.

AICA believes that freedom of expression is an important principle and as a basic civil right must be defended.
A hallmark of any democracy is its willingness to allow, consider and withstand critical as well as benign points of view and to accommodate peaceful protest.

We are concerned that artist and activist Tania Bruguera and others, Luis Manuel Otero Alcantara and Yanelys Nuñez Leyva, as well as poet Amaury Pacheco, were among those arrested in Cuba on 3 December when staging a protest against the proposed new legislation Decree 349 that will censor and limit artistic freedom in the Cuba.

AICA condemns constraints on freedom of expression. On behalf of AICA International we call upon the Cuban government to repeal this proposed law and to afford artists their fundamental human right to freedom of expression.

Yours sincerely,

Robert-Jan Muller, Acting Chair, Committee on Censorship and Freedom of Expression

Lisbeth Rebollo Gonçalves, President, AICA International

Marjorie Allthorpe-Guyton, Secretary-General, AICA International

Mathilde Roman, Treasurer, AICA International

Letter (Spanish version):

Consejo de Ministros de Cuba.
Sr. Alpidio Alonso Grau, Ministro de Cultura.

París, 11 de diciembre de 2018

Objeto: Arresto de Tania Bruguera / Decreto 349 Censura

Estimado Sr. Alpídio Alonso Grau,

La Asociación Internacional de Críticos de Arte (AICA) es una organización mundial, fundada en 1948 por la UNESCO, integrada por críticos de arte que participan activamente en la mejora de la cooperación internacional en los campos de la creatividad artística, la mediación y el fomento.

AICA cree que la libertad de expresión es un principio importante y como derecho civil básico debe ser defendido.
Un sello distintivo de cualquier democracia es su disposición a permitir, considerar y consentir diversos puntos de vista, tanto críticos como a favor, así como a tolerar protestas pacíficas.

Nos preocupa que la artista y activista Tania Bruguera y otroscomo Luis Manuel Otero Alcantara y Yanelys Nuñez Leyva, así como el poeta Amaury Pacheco, estuvieran entre los detenidos en Cuba el 3 de diciembre cuando protestaban contra la nueva legislación, el Decreto 349 que censura y limita la libertad artística en Cuba.

AICA condena las restricciones a la libertad de expresión. En nombre de AICA Internacional, pedimos al gobierno cubano que derogue ese decreto y que se permita a los artistas su derecho humano fundamental a la libertad de expresión.


Robert-Jan Muller Presidente de Comité de Censura y Libertad de Expresión

Lisbeth Rebollo Gonçalves Presidenta de AICA Internacional

Marjorie Allthorpe-Guyton, Secretaria General de AICA Internacional

Mathilde Roman, Tesorera de AICA Internacional

COLLOQUIUM REPORT: ‘Reframing the (Art) World: Commitment, Challenges and Crises of International Art Criticism since 1945’

Université Rennes 2, 11-12 October 2018

by JJ Charlesworth

Université Rennes 2 is host to the Archives de la critique de l’art, which holds, among other records and archives, the historical archives of AICA. For the last three years, the archive and the university have partnered on a programme of research, monikered ‘PRISME’ – taking as its starting point the AICA archives, to research the as-yet little examined histories of art criticism in the post-war, as these played out through the activity facilitated by AICA’s international network, and the contacts this fostered and the debates it initiated.

In October, a resulting two-day colloquium, ‘Reframing the (Art) World’, brought together 15 papers examining the role of prominent critics and historians and key moments in the history of AICA, in its response to the culture and geopolitics of the Cold War. Organised and led by the university’s Dr Antje Kramer-Mallordy, the four sessions dealt with four themes delving into the place of art criticism through the optics of AICA, covering a period from the 1950s to the early 1980s. The first day looked to European art criticism in the first decade of the Iron Curtain, then turning to the question of how the internationalism of AICA, and of Modernist art criticism figured in Latin America, Asia and Africa. The second day’s papers delved into the transatlantic connections and dialogues between Europe, the UK and the US, followed by a final afternoon which turned, increasingly self-consciously, towards the heterodox developments in theory and criticism that emerged in Europe and the US during the 1970s. It was an illuminating two days, which included a drinks reception at the premises of the archives, hosted by ACA’s president Professor Jean-Marc Poinsot and director Dr Nathalie Boulouch.

That the 1970s figured as a sort of endpoint is no coincidence, since what the colloquium revealed was how the politics of the Cold War so clearly defined – and often constrained – the professional forms and institutional contacts of art criticism in the years to the end of the 1960s; and how both the geopolitical balance and the dominance of a (putatively) internationalist, modernist art criticism both unravelled in the decade following.

The extent to which modernist art criticism was tied up in the ambivalences of internationalist ideals played out in the shadow of US power was a frequent motif. Morgane Walter’s examination of the debates initiated by critic Wilhelm Wissel in Leverküsen in 1955 focussed on how the assembled critics wrangled over how abstraction could embody liberation and an internationalist spirit, while the issue of figurative art was haunted – by its address of the artistic and cultural particularity and locality – by the spectre of nationalism; a spectre which post-war West Germany was keen to distance itself from. Walter’s account revealed the confused tension in disavowing the Nazi pre-war past in the same breath as the pre-war history of figuration – whether, for example, the psychological experience of war (and therefore of ‘national particularity’) could be detected in abstraction made in different national contexts.

Nancy Jachec’s paper looked at the crisscrossing of the Iron Curtain by Czechoslovak intellectual Adolf Hoffmeister; returning to Czechoslovakia in 1946 to work for the new government, he was soon a delegate to UNESCO and the UN. With the repressive turn of 1951 he was recalled, jailed and then given a teaching post. Hoffmeister’s disillusion at Communist repression became the background to his part in bringing Jean-Paul Sartre to Eastern Europe. Jachec’s paper traced Sartre’s important contributions to congresses in Moscow and Leningrad, and Hoffmeister’s support for new cultural journals such as Plamenand Tvarjin the early 60s, later suppressed after the crushing of the Prague Spring.

Following Jachec, Agnezka Bartlová examined how the liberalisation of the 1960s and the aftermath of the Prague Spring figured in the development of Czechophone art criticism during the 60s; charting the fortunes of the monthly Výtvarné uměníand the bimonthly Výtvarná Práce, Bartlová put these in the context of the 1966 AICA congress in Prague and Bratislava, and the activity of the Union of Czeckoslovak Visual artists, by then headed by Hoffmeister, which funded both magazines. Noting the cosmopolitan atmosphere of the 1966 congress through which Czechoslovak critics developed their contacts with the West, Bartlová showed Výtvarné umění’sattention to international tendencies, for example published articles on Marcel Duchamp and cybernetics, as well as reports by Czechoslovak critics of visits to Venice and Documenta. The bimonthly Výtvarná Práce was a faster, more artist-centred publication moreoriented to the local scene. Both however, would cease publication by 1970s as the ministry of culture pulled funding from the Union of Visual Artists. Bartlová concluded by criticising the political queitism of the Czechoslovak section of AICA, lamenting the failure to maintain any collective memory or institutional continuity with the criticism of the 60s, inaugurating, in her view, a long period of silence in Czech art criticism during the last years of the Cold War.

The morning concluded with my discussion of the transatlantic contexts that appear in the content of the British magazine Studio International between 1968 and 1972, as the magazine both represented and intervened in the progressive reorientation of the British contemporary art scene from US-Anglophone relationships to the growing influence of European avant-garde activity after 1968.

Turning away from the Iron Curtain geography of the morning session, the afternoon papers looked towards what would now be called the Global South. The tensions between internationalism and the entrenched influence of Eurocentric critical habits were playfully highlighted by Caroline A. Jones’s delve into the shifting reception of the Pakistani painter Sadequain (Syed Sadequain Ahmed Naqvi), lauded by European critics in the early 1960s as the ‘Pakistani Picasso’. Jones essayed the circuitous routes of Sadequain’s interaction, from the ‘periphery’, with the European ‘centre’ of Modernism – the artist arrived Paris in 1960, winning one of the prizes at the second Biennale de Paris in 1961. Jones traced the complicated to-and-fro between Sadequain’s modernism (as he circulated in Europe and North America) and the calligraphic and iconographic forms he turned to increasingly later in the 60s, as he aligned himself more closely with the Islamic and nationalist cultural and political currents of Pakistan and the Middle East of the period.

Following Jones, Maureen Murphy analysed the context of AICA’s third extraordinary congress of 1973, which took place in Kinshasa, during the rule of Mobutu, as AICA’s preoccupation with developing its network beyond its core of European, US and Latin American sections turned its attention to the new African states. According to Murphy’s account, Mobutu has supported the congress in Congo (it could, she suggested have happened as easily in Dakar), as she unpacked the complicated post-colonial reciprocities that condemned art made in Africa to remain ‘traditional’ however contemporary. Murphy argued that the ‘73 congress became an inadvertent platform for Mobutu’s cultural policy of ‘Authenticity’, in which art could be both ‘local’ and ‘Modernist’.

Unable to attend, Berenice Gustavino’s paper was read by a colleague, charting the contrasting positions and professional rivalries of Argentinian critics Jorge Romero Brest and Jorge Glusberg. Critic, historian and founder in 1948 of the review Ver y Estimar,Romero Brest was closely involved in AICA during the 1950s, founding in 1948 the review Ver y Estimar. Critic, historian, then director of the National Museum of Fine Arts after the overthrow of the Peron government in 1955; Brest was an actively critical presence in the early days of ACIA, quick to see the obstacles and problems that faced AICA’s network. Gustavino’s account unpicked Brest’s dissatisfaction with AICA, looking at his proposal for the 1954 Istanbul congress, in which he sought to develop a more definite and objective terminology of art criticism – a project which the congress turned down as ‘too big’. Gustavino tranced the rivalry between Brest and the younger Glusberg (who founded the Centro de Arte y Comunicación (CAyC) in Buenos Aires in 1968) and the institutional tussles between the two, noting Glusberg’s attempts to fuse the Argentinian section of AICA with CAyC, while finally becoming AICA’s president in 1978.

Christina Tejo closed the session with her comparison of critic Mario Pedrosa and museum director Walter Zanini. Tejo’s paper questioned whether figures like Pedrosa and Zanini were active agents in the expansion of the international art system or instead no more that ‘docile subjects framed by a colonialist gaze’. Tejo’s account of Pedrosa’s activity contrasted the critic’s more reciprocal contacts between Europe and Latin America in the dissemination of modernist developments with the greater challenges encountered by Zanini in professionalising Brazil’s museum culture. Pedrosa, well-connected in militant left-wing and avant-garde circles in Europe before the war, became a prominent newspaper critic and vice-president of AICA in 1957, when he also headed the fourth Biennial of São Paolo, and was instrumental in organising the extraordinary AICA Congress of 1959 – the first time AICA has assembled outside Europe. Zanini, trained in art history in Paris and London, was in a strong position to work in Brazil’s growing museum sector, becoming director of Sao Paolo’s Museum of Contemporary art in 1963. Tejo detailed Zanini’s ultimately frustrated struggle to get Latin American institutions taken seriously by their European and North American counterparts during the 60s and 70s, by reviewing his correspondence with the International Committee for Museums and Collections of Modern Art (CIMAM), which continually ignored his input. CIMAM’s first conference in Latin America, in Mexico, was only held in 1980.

Tejo’s contrasting of critics and as art historians (often recruited as museum professionals) was echoed in the next day’s paper by Thierry Dufrêne, who presented the diverging trajectories of André Chastel and Pierre Francastel, both involved in the early years of AICA. Chastel, art historian at the Sorbonne was also art critic for Le Monde, took a traditional, autonomous view of art history, rarely taking contemporary art as his subject. By contrast, Francastel, influenced by Durkheim, took a more sociological approach to art. In 1955, a professorship opened at the Sorbonne, which both applied for and which Chastel secured. Dufrêne outlined Chastel’s increasing involvement in art-historical institutions, while Francastel focused on contemporary art, and for a form of criticism implicated in the contemporary and in other parallel fields such as science and architecture, and a criticism committed to reproducing and retaining the encounter with the contemporary work, in opposition to the more didactic and pedagogical drive of André Malraux’s concept of the ‘Musée Imaginaire’, and its cosequences for how art could be experienced in the age of mass communication technologies.

In her paper, Jennifer Cooke looked closely at the largely transatlantic gathering of the 1961 congress of the International Committee CIHA, brought to New York by art historian Millard Miess; student and then later successor of Irwin Panofsky, then established at Princeton. Cooke scrutinised the change in CIHA’s statutes ratified in 1963, which shifted CIHA’s remit to focus less on its earlier attention to national art histories, to the ‘post-classical West’. Examining the congress as a showcase of the iconological tradition spearheaded by Panofsky, Cooke went on to consider how CIHA’s shift (with greater power accrued to American committee members) reflected the obstacles of growing Cold War entrenchment, even as CIHA attempted, throughout the 1960s, to make overtures to Soviet art historians. It took until 1977 (under sustained pressure from UNESCO) for CIHA’s to revert its statutes to acknowledge a wider remit of world art.

The privileged relationship between Western Europe and the United States was also the subject – in more optimistic vein – of Beatriz Cordero’s paper on curator James Johnson Sweeney, curator at MoMA in New York 1935-47, becoming a vice president of AICA in 1948 and then president in 1957, during which Sweeney was director of the Guggenheim. Cordero charted Sweeney’s hyperactive role in bring post-war European modernism to the US – staging the first major museum shows in the US of Dalí and Miro, for example. For Cordero, Sweeney’s cultural roots (born of Irish immigrants), and his education at Oxford (through which he met Roger Fry) and in Paris (meeting met Leger, Miró and Calder) underpinned Sweeney’s reputation as a ‘European’ in America, as an advocate for the European roots of American modernism.

Taking its leave from the high point of the Cold War context, the last session turned to developments in art criticism since the 1970s, under the banner of ‘Art worlds/worlds of ideas: intellectual acquaintances of art criticism’. Larisa Dryansky opened with a paper unearthing an intriguing contribution to the 1977 AICA congress in Kassel and Bonn, by American video artist and critic Douglas Davis. Dryansky noted how twentieth century criticism and art history had often grounded its authority in parallels with scientific method, in ‘scientificity’. In his paper presented at the ’77 congress, ‘Sweet Anarchy’, Davis argued for a criticism which could accept the apparently chaotic manifestations of contemporary art, and relinquish its normative and legislating function. Against the ‘old guard’ of AICA, Davis argued for an art criticism which might shift constantly from one perceptual and theoretical system to the next. There was a Cold War subtext to Davis’s relativism – in championing a simultaneity of modes and theories, Davis pointed to the failure of East and West in sustaining their respective legitimising discourses. The intellectual drive for Davis’s approach was his reading of Paul Feyerabend’s controversial 1975 book Against Method: Outline of an Anarchist Theory of Knowledgewhich broke with rationalist scepticism of Karl Popper and Thomas Kuhn to argue that all methodology was suspect, and crisscrossed by irrational, rhetorical and even aesthetic aspects.

If Dryansky’s paper outlined a moment in which art criticism began to be reconfigured in response to the radical scepticism and relativism affecting the social sciences, Nicolas Heimendinger’s examination of the reception of Peter Bürger’s Theory of the Avant-garde in America, through the lens of the journal October. Heimendinger examined how the 1984 English translation of Theory(published in German in 1974) came at a moment of crisis for the journal, which by the early 80s was attempting to move on from its initial, anti-Greenbergian opposition to Modernism. Unravelling the problems of differentiating a regressive post-modernism from a progressive post-modernist critical project, Heimendinger argued that that the reception of Bürger’s Theory should be seen as a key part of the October critics ambivalence towards their role in disseminating a by-then contested post-Structuralism. Theory of the Avant-Garde, Heimendinger proposed, became a major influence in developing the idea of ‘art as institution’, reinvigorating the critical projects by October critics such as Hal Foster, Douglas Crimp and Benjamin Buchloh.

If Heimendinger sought to highlight the circuitous historical trajectory of ideas between decades and continents, and their shifting significance according to context, it highlighted how the early moment of post-modernist art criticism has itself become the object of art-historical study, a ‘period’ now cut off from our own present. As if sensing the problem, Katie Deepwell offered a lively and abrasive counter to the dangers of such distancing, as she criticised the current tendency to see feminist art and art criticism as something done ‘back then’; not only a historical period but now its own niche to be accommodated as an object of art-historical memorialisation, while the field of feminist agitation in the museum appears to be limited to a constant repeating of the limited issue of the representation of women artists in the museum canon. In opposition to these simplifications and amnesias, Deepwell presented a mass of archival references to feminist art critics and criticism in publication over the last fifty years, to illustrate the danger of losing the sense of the complexity and diversity of feminist practice which has led to, and continues in the present.

Deepwell’s recalling of the continuous flow of critical activity through decades, and the problem of staging an (art-)historical origin for a tradition of criticism which is inadvertently cut off from the present by the act of historicising itself, was a problem that could be posed as that of the colloquium as a whole. Collectively, these papers looked back not to a history of art works or artists, but to the history of the institutions and networks of a practice of art criticism that can’t be separated from the institutional ruptures and breaks of those institutions and networks. There is a restorative aspect to un-forgetting the historical debates and conflicts of an organisation like AICA, with its now seventy-year history and its origins in a world order now long gone. Yet that process of historical recollection, here, seemed continually to gesture towards that harder-to-represent moment in which the institutional (and intellectual) continuity of the organisation (and of the mode of art criticism more broadly) was affected by the unravelling of that bygone world order.

This is perhaps why many of these fascinating explorations into AICA’s history alighted so vividly on the long and active process of assimilation and institution-making of international modernism in the post-war period, while signalling, more tentatively, what would be the coming crisis in the theoretical foundations of art criticism; a crisis which would coincide with the period in which the institutional hegemony of Cold War politics would begin its long decline – from the West’s oil crises of the early 1970s to the end of the USSR in 1989.

It may be that our current artworld can be dated from that year onward. Consequenlty, in concluding somewhere in the 1970s, as that crises of the old artworld began, ‘Reframing the (Art) World’ poses the exciting task for further research: how to beginning to write a history of the period in which our present critical and historical methods and paradigms came to be.

Regrettably, travel arrangements meant that I had to leave before the final paper by Clélia Barbut, and the closing discussion between Henry Meyric-Hughes and Jean-Marc Poinsot. However PRISME plans to publish the proceedings of the symposium next year. Thanks are due to Jean-Marc Poinsot, Natalie Boulouch and Antje Kramer, and AICA UK, whose support made my attendance to the conference possible.

Source: http://www.aicauk.org/2018/12/09/colloquiu...

AICA Congress 2018: new Secretary-General


AICA International is pleased to announce that Marc Partouche (AICA France) has been elected Secretary-General of AICA International, succeeding Marjorie Allthorpe-Guyton who completes her four year term. Marc Partouche assumes his role on 1 January 2019. 

AICA extends warm congratulations to Marc on his appointment. 

download Marc Partouche’s biography (in English and French)

AICA Congress 2018: Elections

AICA International is pleased to announce that Marc Partouche (AICA France) has been elected Secretary-General of AICA International, succeeding Marjorie Allthorpe-Guyton who completes her four year term. Marc Partouche assumes his role on 1 January 2019. 
AICA extends warm congratulations to Marc on his appointment. 
download Marc Partouche’s bio 

Honorary President
Marek Bartelik, former President, AICA International, is elected an Honorary President. 

Also elected are three Vice-Presidents for a three year term:
Lisbeth Bonde (Denmark)
Alfredo Cramerotti (UK)
Chi-Ming Lin (Taiwan) 

Chairs of Committees
Sophie Allgardh is appointed Chair of the Awards Committee.
Liam Kelly is elected Chair of the Congress Committee 2019.
J.P. Lorente is elected Chair of the Finance Committee for a three year term.
Chairs of the other Committees are all re-appointed. 

International Board Members 2019
Jean Bundy (USA)
Icleai Cattani (Brazil)
Joke de Wolf (Netherlands)
Bachar Rahmani (France)
Ulrika Stahre (Sweden) 
Lin-Yen Tsai (Taiwan)
Anselmo Villata (Open Section)
Karen von Veh (Open Section)
Carole Sun Wei Shiwan (Taiwan)
Yi-Hua Wu (Taiwan)
Congratulations to all ! 

AICA Secretariat

AICA Censorship Committee: Shahidul Alam Detained - Call for his release

article from https://princeclausfund.org

Dear friends,

Our long-time partner, advisor and friend Shahidul Alam was arrested in Bangladesh earlier this week and is still in custody.

Shahidul has never shied away from what is right. His dedication to his community, to the youth of Bangladesh, to the art of photography, and to journalistic principles has not wavered, in spite of great risk to himself.

This is not the first time he has been in danger, but the severity of the current situation compels us to request your help. Please consider sharing on social media, signing a petition or contacting the Bangladesh High Commission and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

We are proud to have partnered with Shahidul since 2002. His knowledge, insights, and warmth have guided our work and remain an inspiration to us. Shahidul embodies what we as an organisation stand for. Please find our statement below, signed together with his fellow Network Partners.

Thank you for taking the time to learn about his work and support him.

Kindly yours,

Joumana El Zein Khoury, Director Prince Claus Fund




Dr. Shahidul Alam, internationally renowned photographer, activist, founder and Managing Director of the Bangladesh multimedia company, Drik, founder of Chobi Mela International Photography Festival and Pathshala South Asian Media Institute, was forcibly abducted from his home on the night of 5 August.

The next day he appeared in court, apparently so badly beaten that he was unable to walk on his own. Sources say Shahidul is being charged under Bangladesh’s ICT law for his reports on Facebook of ongoing student protests and for an interview he gave to Al Jazeera about the protests.

Shahidul has been a close friend and inspiring partner of the Prince Claus Fund for many years. He is a tireless advocate of values that we share:  that all people should have the right to freedom of cultural expression. Through his reporting and photography he has discovered and shared hidden human stories not only in Bangladesh but of the many other cultures encountered on his travels. 

The Prince Claus Fund and its Network Partners deplore the extreme violence and intimidation exercised in Shahidul’s arrest

We call for his immediate and unconditional release. 
On behalf of the Prince Claus Fund, Joumana El Zein Khoury, Director

Network Partners of the Prince Claus Fund:
Alliance des Editeurs Independants – IAIP, international
Alta Tecnologia Andina, Peru
Arab Image Foundation, Lebanon
Archi Africa, Ghana + Africa
Arthub Asia
Associación Pro Arte y Cultura (APAC), Bolivia
BizArt Art Center, China
Caribbean Contemporary Art (CCA)
Cinematheque de Tanger, Marocco
Compagnie Falinga, Burkina Faso
Creating Independent and Artistic Networks, Argentina (CRIA)
Despina Non-Profit Cultural Association, Brazil
Dokufest – International Documentary and Short Film Festival, Kosovo
Dox Box, Syria
Drik Picture Library Ltd., Bangladesh
Hri Institute, Nepal
Jant-Bi, Senegal
Kibii Foundation, Surinam
Land Art Mongolia
Mathare Youth Sports Association (MYSA), Kenya
Museo d Antioquia, Colombia
Tirana Institute of Contemporary Art (T.I.C.A.), Albania
Redsea Cultural Foundation, Somaliland
Reyum Institute of Arts and Culture, Cambodia
San Art, Vietnam
Studios Kabako, Democratic Republic of Congo
Supersudaca, Latin America
Triangle Arts Trust (TAT), UK
University Centre for Arts and Drama, Ingoma Nshya, Rwanda
Utan Kayu Network, Indonesia
VideoBrazil, Brazil
Visual Culture Research Centre – VCRC, Ukraine
Zanzibar International Film Festival (ZIF), Tanzania
Zoe Butt, Vietnam

Prince Claus Fund
Herengracht 603
1017 CE Amsterdam

AICA Newsletter: Summer 2018

Dear Member,
We are pleased to send you our 2018 Summer Newsletter.


AICA’s summer Newsletter gives information about significant AICA events over the last few months, as well as conveying a warm invitation to AICA’s 51st International Congress, to be held from 14-21 November in Taiwan. The topical theme is “Art Criticism in the Age of Virtuality and Democracy”.
Congress gives AICA members and others opportunity to reflect on these issues with colleagues from different countries across the globe, besides getting to know the important cultural venues of this beautiful land. We hope to see you in Taipei.
 Enjoy reading!
Lisbeth Rebollo Gonçalves 
President, AICA International


We would like to cordially invite you to take part in the 51st AICA International Congress. The Congress is organized by AICA Taiwan and will be held 14-21 November 2018 in Taipei.

invitation and registration 
read more on AICA Taiwan website


AICA Incentive Award for Young Art Critics recognizes emerging voices in art criticism around the world. In 2018, the International Association of Art Critics (AICA) and its Awards Committee, with the support of AICA Taiwan, launches the sixth edition of the AICA Incentive Award for Young Art Critics. The previous winners have been Franck Hermann Ekra (Ivory Coast), Alessandra Simões Paiva (Brazil), Sebastian Baden (Germany), Lee Sun Young (South Korea) and Victor Wang (Canada/UK).

This year, AICA invites young art critics from any country in the world to submit an article or a review on a subject (an exhibition, a biennale, a profile of an artist etc.),which deals with the subject of contemporary art produced in the Asia Pacific region or with the Asian Pacific art scene. The winner will be awarded a round trip to attend the forthcoming AICA Congress in Taipei, Taiwan and the Post Congress Trip to Taichung, Tainan and Kaohsiung scheduled to take place from 14 to 21 November 2018. The critics coming second and third in the competition will receive an honorary mention. AICA reserves the right to publish the text of the winner and the two runners-up on the AICA website. […]

read more


Lee Yil, Dynamics of Expansion and Reduction – Selected Writings on Korean Contemporary Art
Published by AICA press and Les presses du réel

After a particularly exacting work of translation into English, the compilation of texts by the Korean critic Lee Yil was published in March 2018 by les presses du réel, under the title Dynamics of Expansion and Reduction. On the initiative of Marjorie Allthorpe-Guyton and Paul O´Kane,  a seminar was organized by AICA and SOAS in London, on March 23, with the participation of Bada Song (translator together with Paul O´Kane), Henry Meyric Hughes who edited the text in English, Jean-Marc Poinsot who coordinated the publication and Professor Youngsook Pak who contextualized Lee Yil’s texts in Korean modern art and criticism in the second part of the 20th Century. […]

read more
on sale online

Preface by Marek Bartelik.
Introduction by Jean-Marc Poinsot.
Text by Chung Yeon-shim.


Organised by the Brazilian Association of Art Critics, ABCA, the Brazilian chapter of AICA, the international seminar: Concrete Art and Constructive Dimensions: Theory, Criticism and History of Art and Technique, was held 26-30  June 2018 in partnership with the Conservation Science Laboratory of the Fine Arts School of the University of Minas Gerais – LACICOR. 
The seminar aimed to discuss and to give international recognition to the many approaches and  possibilities of  artistic production in Latin America.

read more

© Fernanda Granato | From left to right: Lisbeth Rebollo Gonçalves (President of Aica International); Yaci-Ara Froner (coordinator of the event); Luiz A.C.Souza (coordinator of LACICOR/UFMG); Maria Amélia Bulhões (President of ABCA/AICA Brazil); (representative of the UFMG post-graduation Provost ); Jeanne-Marie Teutonico (Associate Director of Programs- The Getty Conservation Institute)


The Spanish Association of Art Critics – AICA Spain, in collaboration with the Museu Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, held from 21-23 June 2018 the International Congress Art Criticism: crises and renewal, under the direction of Tomás Paredes, President of AECA. [...]

read more

Closing ceremony | From left to right: Blanca Garcia Vega, Julia Sáez-Angulo, Tomás Paredes and Brane Kovic.


On May 18  at the inauguration of its new Exhibition Space on the 130, Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, the Canadian Cultural Centre in Paris, under the direction of  the Canadian Embassy for Global Affairs, donated 25 years of its visual arts archives to the National Institute of Art History (INHA) to be part of the collections of the Archives of Art Criticism in Rennes. [...]

read more



We encourage you to send us your news (events, publications, etc.) so we share them on our social networks.

And we invite you to follow us!



to the attention of new AICA members

Associated with AICA since their creation in 1989, the Archives de la critique d’art (www.archivesdelacritiquedart.org) aim to promote worldwide the writings and practice of art critics through publishing the magazine CRITIQUE D’ART.

As a welcome gift, the Archives de la critique d’art are pleased to offer you a free subscription to the digital magazine CRITIQUE D’ART: ACTUALITE INTERNATIONALE DE LA LITTERATURE CRITIQUE SUR L’ART CONTEMPORAIN / THE INTERNATIONAL REVIEW OF CONTEMPORARY ART CRITICISM, for a period of one year.

For the latest issue please contact us at sylvie.mokhtari@univ-rennes2.fr and confirm your interest in receiving a free annual subscription to CRITIQUE D’ART. Sylvie Mokhtari, editorial manager, will send you a username and a password which will give you access to the entire website http://critiquedart.revues.org until 31 December 2018.


You will have heard about the new General Data Protection Regulation ("GDPR"), which  came into effect May 25, 2018. If you wish to continue to receive our information, no action is required.
If you would like to unsubscribe or update your subscription preferences, please update your subscription settings.

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AICA Congress 2018: Invitation & Registration

51st AICA Congress in Taipei, Taiwan:
Art Criticism in the Age of  Virtuality and Democracy

We would like to cordially invite you to take part in this year’s 51st AICA International Congress. The Congress is organized by the Taiwan section of AICA (International Association of Art Critics) and will be held on 14-21 November, 2018 in Taiwan.

The Congress Theme Art Criticism in the age of Virtuality and Democracy addresses some key issues concerning the role of art criticism from the perspectives of:

1. Art criticism in the age of virtuality
2. Art discourse facing challenged democracy


Nov. 14-15 | AICA Committees, Board Meeting and General Assembly (in Taipei)
Nov. 16-18 | Symposium (in Taipei)
Nov. 19-21 | Post-Congress Trip (in Tainan, Kaohsiung and Taichung)


• Registration Fee for the Symposium on Nov. 16-18
2200 NTD (≒ 60 EURO, 72 USD)
1800 NTD (≒ 50 EURO, 59 USD) for the Early Bird Price (before Aug. 26, 2018)
All the Speakers/Presenters, The Secretariat, AICA International (ie President, Secretary-General, Treasurer, Administrative Assistant) and Chairs of AICA Committees are exempt from the fee for symposium.
• Travel Fee* for the Post-Congress Trip on Nov. 19-21
9000 NTD (≒ 250 EURO, 294 USD)
*It is a package tour. Transportation, accommodation, dining and tours are all inclusive)
• Early Bird Price (before Aug .26, 2018) for the Symposium + the Post-Congress Trip
9000 NTD (≒ 250 EURO, 294 USD)


1. Please fill out the Registration Form: https://goo.gl/forms/dXvvEh686fgSChv12 (Registration deadline: Oct 21, 2018)
2. Once we have received your form, we will send you an Online Payment Link in 2 days.
3. Secure the payment online by credit card (via the encrypted third-party payment).
4. After the checking process, you will receive the Confirmation Letter.


If you are attending the Symposium days from Nov.16 to 18, we suggest to book through us for discounted price, please check the registration form (No deposit, pay at the hotel desk.)
HOWARD CIVIL SERVICE INTERNATIONAL HOUSE, Taipei (http://www.howard-hotels.com.tw/en/civil-service/home/)
TEL: +886-2-77122323 | Address: No.30, Sec. 3, Sinsheng S. Rd., Da’an Dist., Taipei City
Discounted price for AICA Congress participants | Single Room 1950 NTD (≒ 55 EURO) per night *
Other options:
• SONNIEN HOTEL, Taipei (http://www.sonnien-hotel.com/en/)
TEL: +886-2-2707-0101#1701、1702 | Address: No.8, Sec. 3, Ren’ai Rd., Da’an Dist., Taipei City 106, Taiwan (R.O.C.)
Price per single room: around 3800 NTD (*contact us for a discount)
• OR via http://www.booking.com, searching for “Daan” district in Taipei, metros and buses connect with hotels and our venues.
• Accommodation in Tainan (Nov.19-21):
The PLACE Tainan (https://rsv.ec-hotel.net/webhotel/0315?locale=en)
TEL: +886-6-2361680 | Address: No.368, Sec. 1, Zhonghua E. Rd., East Dist., Tainan City 701
*The price is included in the post-congress trip fee.

For more details, please check: https://aicatw-eng.blogspot.com/
For any inquiries please feel free to contact
aicacongress2018@gmail.com, thank you and we expect for your participation.

download pdf
download doc
download registration form pdf

AICA Spain: International Congress "Art Criticism: crises and renewal"

A Congress on Art Criticism in Madrid

The Spanish Association of Art Critics – AICA Spain, in collaboration with the Museu Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, held from 21-23 June , an International Congress “Art Criticism: crises and renewal”, under the direction of Tomás Paredes, President of AECA.

Delegates were art critics, cultural managers, collectors and professors from several universities and included  Juan Manuel Bonet, Director of the Instituto Cervantes; Pablo Jiménez, cultural Director of La Fundación Mpfre; Javier Martin, José María Juarranz , who presented a new interpretation of “El Guernica”; Maria João Fernandes, Pilar Aumente, Maite Méndez Baiges, Blanca Garcia Vega, Brane Kovic, Carlos Pérez Reyes, Manuel Parralo, Antonio Domínguez Rey, Miguel Ángel Chávez Martín, Julia Sáez-Angulo.  30 papers were presented by professors and critics from Spain, Colombia, Brazil, Italy Portugal, Japan and UAE and United Kingdom.
Congress sessions took place at the Sabatini Auditorium in the Reina Sofia Museum which was represented by the Deputy Director Joao Fernandes. There were also three round tables focused on the influence of criticism on the formation of  public and private collections and on the perpetual necessity of the renewal of art criticism.

Closing ceremony | From left to right: Blanca Garcia Vega, Julia Sáez-Angulo, Tomás Paredes and Brane Kovic.

Closing ceremony | From left to right: Blanca Garcia Vega, Julia Sáez-Angulo, Tomás Paredes and Brane Kovic.

Among the conclusions were the place of criticism in the context of crisis and  social and globalized turmoil, the necessity of permanent renewal and of the defence of the art critic as a mediator between the public and the artist’s work of art. The critic must demand continuous validation in order to compete in new processes of creative reflection and to participate in the new cultural ecology.  And a maxim: the only way for art criticism to have a future is to strengthen its present thinking.

The programme also had visits to the exhibitions of the Reina Sofia and to adjacent art galleries. The Congress closed with a performance “The word, the music and the voice”, in which Tomás Paredes, Romeral, the concretist flamenco guitar player Paulo Garcia Palomo  and the singer Eloy Cortés took the floor, highlighting that art is ennobled by the interaction of different modes of expression.

(original text in Spanish by Tomas Paredes)


An International Seminar in Brazil

From 26-30 June 2018, the Brazilian Association of Art Critics, ABCA, the Brazilian chapter of AICA, held an international seminar: Concrete Art and Constructive Dimensions: Theory, Criticism and History of Art and Technique, in partnership with the Conservation Science Laboratory of the Fine Arts School of the University of Minas Gerais – LACICOR.
This  event aimed to discuss and to bring international recognition to the many singular approaches and possibilities in artistic production in Latin America in the context of modern art in the 20th Century.

We began from the belief that by articulating these histories in one single event we can form a transdisciplinary view that enriches and problematizes  our approach.

The Seminar had the support of the Federal  University Of Minas Gerais, CAPES and the Getty Foundation and gathered researchers from different  regions of Brazil, Argentina, Chile and United States. The coordinators of the event were Luiz A. C. Souza, Yacy-Ara Froner e Alessandra Rosado from LACICOR and Maria Amelia Bulhões, Marilia Andrés Ribeiro and Claudia Fazzolari from ABCA.

Those present included the International President of AICA, Lisbeth Rebollo Gonçalves, Jeanne-Marie Teutonico, Associate Director of the Getty Conservation Institute –GCI, Andrew Perchuk, Deputy Director of the Getty Research Institute – GRI, Cory Rogge from the Houston Museum of Fine Arts, Aleca Le Blanc, from the University of California Riverside, Ana Morales and Fernando Marte, both from the National University of San Martin, Argentina, as well as such  important Brazilian researchers as Aracy Amaral, Anna Maria Belluzzo, Luiz Camilo Osório, Maria Lucia Kern, Marilia Andrés Ribeiro, Tadeu Chiarelli, Yacy-Ara Froner, Luiz Souza, among others.

©Fernanda Granato | From left to right:  Lisbeth Rebollo Gonçalves (President of Aica International); Yaci-Ara Froner (coordinator of the event); Luiz A.C.Souza (coordinator of LACICOR/UFMG); Maria Amélia Bulhões (President of ABCA/AICA Brazil);  (representative of the UFMG post-graduation Provost); Jeanne-Marie Teutonico (Associate Director of Programs- The Getty Conservation Institute)

©Fernanda Granato | From left to right:  Lisbeth Rebollo Gonçalves (President of Aica International); Yaci-Ara Froner (coordinator of the event); Luiz A.C.Souza (coordinator of LACICOR/UFMG); Maria Amélia Bulhões (President of ABCA/AICA Brazil);  (representative of the UFMG post-graduation Provost); Jeanne-Marie Teutonico (Associate Director of Programs- The Getty Conservation Institute)

The conference was opened by Mari Carmen Ramirez, curator of Latin American Art and Director of the International Center for the Arts of Americas, at the Houston Museum of Fine Arts. The texts of the conferences and papers are available on ABCA website (abca.art.br/httpdoc/ebooks-abca), as an e-book published by ABCA, registered with the National System of Libraries.

Throughout five intense and productive days, it was possible to confirm our initial conviction about the importance of these interlocutions, with all the participants expressing how enriching and high level the debate was, because of this more complex approach, in line with contemporary thinking.

The Brazilian chapter of AICA has assumed an important role in national academic debate, holding events which address relevant themes that attract the participation of highly regarded scholars in the visual arts in the country. The international coverage and plurality of approaches of this seminar has raised the bar of these activities.

(Original text in Portuguese by Maria Amélia Bulhões)

aica press: Lee Yil's writing

Lee Yil's writing published in the AICA Series Art Critics of the World

After a particularly exacting work of translation into English, the compilation of texts by the Korean critic Lee Yil was published in March 2018 by les presses du réel, under the title Dynamics of Expansion and Reduction – Selected Writings on Korean Contemporary Art. On the initiative of Marjorie Allthorpe-Guyton and Paul O´Kane, a seminar was organized by AICA and SOAS in London, on March, 23rd, with the participation of Bada Song (translator together with Paul 0'Kane), Henry Meyric Hughes who edited the text in English, Jean-Marc Poinsot who coordinated the publication and Professor Youngsook Pak who contextualized Lee Yil’s texts in Korean modern art and criticism in the second part of the 20th Century.


This Seminar was followed by a reception kindly hosted by the Korean Cultural Centre in London which introduced the book to a wider audience.
On April 20, on the occasion of the festivities of AICA-France’s 2018 Art Criticism Award, whose jury included many members of the International AICA Board, there was a brief presentation of Lee Yil’s book by the Series Editor Jean- Marc Poinsot and by Franck Gautherot who contextualized the critic and the artists whom he defended in the turbulent post-war period.
Soo-Young Leam, a PhD student at the Courtauld Institute of Art, London and present at the seminar in March, is reviewing Lee Yil’s publication for the Critique d’Art magazine.

on sale online

The Archives of Art Criticism: donation

Donation from the Canadian Cultural Centre of Paris to the Archives of Art Criticism

On May 18, to mark the inauguration of its new Exhibition Space on the 130, Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, the Canadian Cultural Centre in Paris, under the direction of the Canadian Embassy for Global Affairs, donated 25 years of its visual arts archive to the National Institute of Art History (INHA) to be part of the collections of the Archives of Art Criticism in Rennes. This was a unique donation, combining cultural diplomacy with a view of Canadian Contemporary Art.

The programme of exhibitions and artistic practice reflected by the archive, was pursued in partnership with French cultural institutions and with the history of art criticism in France.  The archive is a register of the period from 1993 to 2017. The archive also gathers documents regarding the history of the Centre since its foundation in 1970. Its methodological consistency, the diversity of its contents and its cultural sphere constitute an inestimable resource for national and international research. The exchange with artists, curators, critics, authors at the core of this collection preserves, not only a profile of institutional relationships, but of human connections which led to countless projects of great significance in France, under the direction of Catherine Bédard, Associate Director of the Canadian Cultural Centre and member of AICA France.


The first part of the archives was donated last March and is already available for research in Rennes. The second will be at the Archives’ disposal in autumn 2018. The partnership anticipates that transfers will continue, preserving and enhancing the history and the activities of the Canadian Cultural Centre at its new venue in Paris.

The Archives of Art Criticism were greatly enriched by this donation, which will enhance and give new meaning to the individual art critics, galleries and institutional archives already present in the collections.

(original text in French by Nathalie Boulough)


14-21 November 2018

We would like to cordially invite you to take part in the 51st AICA International Congress. The Congress is organized by the Taiwan section of AICA (International Association of Art Critics) and will be held on 14-21 November, 2018 in Taiwan, the draft program as follows:

Nov. 14  Committees (in Taipei)
Nov. 15  General Assembly & Board Meeting (in Taipei)
Nov. 16-18  Symposium (in Taipei)
Nov. 19-21 Post-Congress Trip (in Taichung, Tainan, Kaohsiung)

The Congress Theme Art Criticism in the age of  Virtuality and Democracy addresses some key issues concerning the role of art criticism related to the new tendencies. The congress theme has two sub-themes:

  1. Art criticism in the age of virtuality
  2. Art discourse facing challenged democracy

(A detailed description of the congress theme is given below. *)

The symposium will be held mainly in English, and the papers should be presented in English only. Keynote speakers, covering broad aspects of the main theme will be followed by short papers and working sessions with the participants.

The AICA Congress Committee invites members, as well as non members, of AICA to submit a short text of 15-20 lines (maximum one page) in English, outlining their proposed approach to the themes of the Congress.
Please submit your application online at aicacongress2018@gmail.com together with a short biography (max. 200 words) by 31 May 2018. Proposals will be selected by the AICA committee.

Deadline for final papers will be 15 August 2018.

There will be video/audio equipment available for lectures, we invite all speakers to support their presentation by visuals.

Speakers’ final papers must be submitted by the deadline in English. These papers will be translated by the organizers into Traditional Chinese, if the budget allows, and distributed at the time of the Congress.

The Collection of Papers is estimated to be published by AICA Taiwan in 2019.

You will find all necessary information at https://aicataiwan.blogspot.tw

Contact Person
Tien-Han Chang

Crucial Reminder

Main Theme: Art Criticism in the age of  Virtuality and Democracy
Sub-Themes: a. Art criticism in the age of virtuality
                        b. Art discourse facing challenged democracy

Deadline for call for papers (Abstract): 31 May 2018
Deadline for final papers of selected speakers: 15 August 2018

For any inquiries please feel free to contact us, thank you and we expect for your participation.



51st AICA International Congress in Taiwan,
14-21 November 2018
AICA Taiwan

AICA Congress Taiwan November 2018
Congress theme for Call for Papers:
Art Criticism in the age of  Virtuality and Democracy
Based on observations of important tendencies in the actual world, we would like to address some key issues concerning the role of art criticism related to these new developments.

Firstly, the virtual is not the opposite of reality but rather an increasing part of our reality. Presently, communities, social relations, everyday life, the body, and even biological life are in the processes of mass virtualization. Life itself has been supposed as an algorithm, AI as a brain without body, while space-time’s relationship is virtualized in VR technology. A virtual enterprise need no longer convene its employees onsite, but rather can delegate work to be done remotely, thus re-articulating the time-space relationship of its workers.

Secondly, if we make an observation of a longer duration, there seems to be an unquestionable expansion of democracy which can be confirmed by the democratic transitions beginning in the mid-1970s, which span from Latin America to Taiwan and South Korea, through the end of the cold war, and to following transitions in Eastern Europe, the Color Revolution and the Umbrella Movement in Hong-Kong in the fall of 2014. Nevertheless in more recent years, the phenomenon of the retreat of democracy can also be observed in the uprising of the populism worldwide.

Moreover, these two tendencies may be related. The Congress Theme “Art Criticism in the age of Virtuality and Democracy” has two sub-themes:

  1. Art criticism in the age of virtuality
  2. Art discourse facing challenged democracy

1.“Art criticism in the age of virtuality” will address the situation in which the rapid pace of development in computer and media technologies is creating new working environments and new possibilities for art, each with their own particular problematics. How does this process affect the description, interpretation and evaluation of contemporary art? More precisely, does art criticism develop new methodology and new languages concerning its analysis and new problematics in its debates? What does it mean for art and art criticism that new media reaches crowds of new readers around the world, often “for free”?

2. “Art discourse facing challenged democracy” will discuss the following questions: how is art discourse constitutive of the collective representations and imaginary of democracy? In the situation of democracy under challenge, how are these social-political phenomena reflected in new developments of censorship and self-censorship, or post-truth? For new problems brought out by transitional justice, what kind of function can art discourse play?

Proposals of papers which could articulate the problems within these two sub-themes will also be welcome.

Download Call for paper
Download the programme