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Art World and the Pandemic 1
26 May. 2021 -
17:00 - 18:15
Zoom, SPUI25

Experiencing Art in Pandemic Times: Unfolding 21st Century Scenarios


Nothing is like it used to be in the art world: the Covid-19 pandemic has caused art institutions globally to relocate events and activities to online spaces and social media, or postpone those for which physical presence was deemed essential. Re-openings have often been temporary and subject to local public health measures. The art world has fundamentally existed in and as a physical space: what are the consequences of the major transformation taking place in art institutions as a result of the ongoing public health crisis?

About the programme

Following the Covid-19 pandemic, many museums and other institutions were forced to cancel exhibitions and other events such as art fairs and biennales and managed to relocate some of them online. This talk will map some of the major trends which are emerging in the art world and highlight differences across regional contexts.

Against this backdrop, the talk will reflect on three interlinked themes: the historical trends between art and public health; the digital experience of art exhibitions and other events vis-à-vis experiencing ‘the real thing’; and the interaction between physical and digital art infrastructure.

There are clear indications that the pandemic has influenced the art world significantly and this world’s responses and the ongoing transformation will shape this world for a long time to come. In this NIAS Talk we will dive into emerging broader trends and patterns as these are critical for both the present as for future health crises. Reflecting on this changing landscape are Manuela Ciotti, Bronwyn Lace and Premjish Achari.

About the speakers

Manuela Ciotti is Professor of the Social and Cultural Anthropology of the Global South at the University of Vienna. As NIAS fellow, Ciotti is working on an ethnography of the global spread of modern and contemporary art from India, exploring exhibitions of art from India in Asia, Europe and the USA. Drawing on extensive research and observations on the developments within the global art world as a result of the pandemic, Ciotti will reflect on what this world will look like in the future.

Premjish Achari is a curator and art critic based in Delhi, India. Achari has initiated an independent curatorial platform called Future Collaborations aiming at theoretically and politically informed curation. He is the Co-Curator of Bhubaneswar Art Trail 2018. Achari currently heads the  Programme and Editorial for the exhibition Lokame Tharavadu organised by Kochi Biennale Foundation and teaches art history and theory at Shiv Nadar University.

Bronwyn Lace is a visual artist living and working in South Africa and Austria. Lace works primarily in site specific installation, sculpture and performance. Lace is currently the co-director for The Centre for the Less Good Idea, an interdisciplinary incubator space for the arts based in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Zará Kars (moderator) is program maker & event manager at NIAS.

About the NIAS Talks

During the NIAS Talks, fellows or alumni of the Institute engage with journalists, scholars or cultural practitioners to offer new or interdisciplinary perspectives to the current state of affairs. These talks are specially designed for a non-specialist audience and we very much welcome a dialogue. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic the NIAS Talks are now completely online and streamed via Zoom, hosted by our partner SPUI25