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Can Artistic Practices Negotiate the Demands of Cultural Institutions, Public Space, and Civil Society?

Shumon Basar, Director, Global Art Forum 6
2 May 2012

Can or should or will? Everything is possible, while a lot less is likely. These to me are three discrete topics: the health of institutions; public space (itself a maligned, misused term, most of the time); and civil society. I think if artists – or curators, or any agent involved in the arts – had to take all of this on, I wouldn't blame them for conducting an endless Bed-In (with or without Yoko Ono. Or her authorisation). I'd have to plea for specificity in the question being asked. It is the only way to avoid (glib) overarching answers that at their worst mimic (glib) overarching art produced cynically and opportunistically In the Name of MENA. Has anyone opened an espionage agency called MENA yet? They should! Seriously, though (or, still): my honest answer is, 'I don't know', and I would be worried by – and deeply suspicious of – anyone that claimed they did know the answer to this riddle. With acuity like that, I would swiftly make such a bright spark head of MENA (covertly, of course) and solve some of the more pressing problems in the world. Like Bieber Fever. Or economic polarisation. 

Shumon Basar

is a writer, editor and director of Global Art Forum 6.

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