Coherence; Art Content & Society

Tuesday, July 15, 2014: 6:30 PM
Room: Booth 57
Oral Presentation
Målfrid Irene HAGEN , School of Economy and Social Sciences, Previously affiliated to Buskerud University College, Kolbotn, Norway
Some claim considering the content of art is a task for art critics & historians. However, this may be relevant also for sociologists, to reveal information on society. Contemporary art is dominated by conceptual art with a broad range of art expressions, diverging from traditional art. Many consider this tendency to express democracy and art diversity; others regard it as a breakdown of rules claiming it creates art anomy. Durkheim describes how anomy appears in times of crisis. However, he also describes how anomy may appear in times of sudden wealth, which is the case in Norway, which has grown tremendously rich during the last decades. Simultaneously there has been a breakdown of norms in the society, which obviously has created some features of anomy. Additionally the art interest has increased, as well as governmental support to artists, on principals of democracy and freedom of speech. Today Norwegian artists have great freedom to create whatever they like, including controversial political art, such as a Norwegian artist who creates art performances in North Korea with North Korean artists. Although he is criticized by many, as his performances probably requires some connection with North Korean authorities, others defend his performances. According to Benjamin, art criticism is crucial for art development. Although Norwegian media often provide art articles, art criticism is rather weak and art is seldom criticized in a critical way. Norwegians today seems liberal to controversial art, perhaps more than people outside Norway. My PhD-thesis on corporate art and architecture (2011), also reveal that Norwegian art collectors seem more liberal to controversial art than collectors abroad. This makes me wonder; is it a coherence between art liberalism and features of anomy in a society caused by sudden wealth? May this be reflected in the content of art in the current society?