Discursive practices and their trajectory in contemporary art since the second half of the 1990s can be considered, on the one hand, an expansion of various discussions around contemporary art and its social function. On the other hand, discursivity in art and curatorial practices has gained momentum when dematerialized mediums (i.e. lectures, symposia, discussions, talks, workshops, etc.) were initiated as the projects themselves. That is, discursive events that were in the 1970s and 1980s regarded as supplements to the exhibition, have taken center stage within the exhibition space (~exhibition display ~ curatorial). This is also referred to as the discursive turn in contemporary art.  Discursive practices within contemporary art are built partly on conceptual art traditions, reflecting on the meaning(s) of art, the function and social responsibility of the museums, or the social position and status of the artist (~ interpretation ~performativity). Discursive practices have not only changed the form, content, and presentation mode of artworks (~ exhibition display), but also the function of institutions, their exhibition policy, and even the role of the actors within them (~performativity ~collaboration). At the same time, this discursive shift also indicates the perpetual critical assessment of these very changes.
The terms under which discursive practices may be realized is discourse formed through a series of interpretive relations and meanings. This way, discourse, through the use of language, can be considered a form of knowledge production, in which language is understood as a system of representation. The notion of discursivity within contemporary art (and critical art) practices is the most similar to the use of this concept in political science: active civil participation as well as the constructed character of different social phenomena and social reality (~interpretation). In Post-Fordist society, art has also become a field of knowledge production, a consumer object-like, marketable (intellectual) commodity. The artists’ adequate reaction to the artwork having become a commodity was to create either dematerialized artworks which are difficult to sell, or to “display” themselves in the exhibition space. Marion von Osten, furthermore, understands the tactical use of institutional places (e.g. organizing film screenings, workshops, community projects) as the strategy of leftist, anti-globalist, and feminist art groups, criticizing the art market and the white cube (~white cube) in the service of the bourgeoisie public. 
Discursive practices have also extended to the methods of “new institutionalism” (~performativity), institutional critique, and the broadening practices of curating (~curatorial). This way, an art institution open to new working methods, becomes a multifunctional forum: besides its showroom function, it is also a site for education, research, and it even works as a community center (~performativity).  These educational projects (workshops, discussion, schools, etc.) of the art institution—which are distinct from museum pedagogy—can also be considered in the framework of ‘the educational turn’.  This remodeled institutional profile, in most cases, does not concern museums with already functioning “traditions;” rather, it is the characteristic of new contemporary art institutions that were established precisely to fulfill these tasks (~performativity). The exhibition space has become a public platform where—besides the role and social responsibility of contemporary art—social, political, and economic issues, surpassing the realms of the discourse of art, are likewise examined. With the proliferation of “dematerialized” mediums (i.e. lectures, symposia, discussions, talks), in conjunction with site-specific works, site can now be understood to include also social and institutional frameworks, as well as economic and political influences.  (~curatorial ~collaboration ~performativity ~interpretation). Nevertheless, these shifts within the exhibition space have also drawn criticisms. One of the leading critics of discursive practices is Jens Hoffmann. He believes that curating is exhibition-making, a particular profession, and that any discursive (curatorial) tasks beyond that entails only organizational competencies—for these latter types of projects he coined the term paracuratorial  (~curatorial).
These changes not only indicate a renewed status and role of institutions, but also, and in correlation with this, the repositioning of the relations between the actors of the art world as well as their relation to the public (~collaboration ~participation ~curatorial). Over the same period, the (authorial) position of the curator in shaping critical discourse became more pronounced, and the curatorial voice became equally crucial to that of the artist(~authorship ~interpretation). The curator and the artist use similar working methods: rather than engaging in object-based practices, they prioritize performative and immaterial mediums, which are primarily not verbal means to produce, interpret, and contextualize art works; but are discursive forms with respect to the character of the project (~curatorial ~educational turn ~performativity). The notion of the discursive as a model of production allows for more flexible work, either in collaboration with others, or as a means of an individual working strategy. 
Even if one agrees with the positive outcomes of these institutional modifications, one also has to consider its plausible impact on the configuration of the audience. Discursive practices in contemporary art, which are based on the premises of democratic methods, however, often seem to exclude, rather than include, the audience. Discursive events within the contemporary art world frequently operate with an expert level of discourse that is not accessible to everyone, and also, often alienating forms are used (for example, empty tables, chairs, and time schedules about the talks as display settings in an exhibition space). (~participation ~exhibition display). Furthermore, discursivity can easily reach the end of its effectiveness when the critical approach embedded in it is institutionalized and involved within mainstream practices. For instance, the virtue of biennials is undoubtedly its ability to develop discursive frameworks in which local communities, artists, institutions, as well as the economic and financial sector may be involved. Likewise, the site-specific alternatives of the white cube (~white cube) seem to be the most appropriate within biennials to showcase the art works (“discursive biennials”)  (~performativity). However, all the global factors which the biennial curators criticize at first are, in the end, accepted through adaptation. Finally, in this scenario, discursivity remains only a passive framework, with the purpose to justify the critical standpoint of the biennial (~exhibition display).
Discursive practices in contemporary art can be examined from several perspectives. Its most fundamental element is talking (oral and recorded in writing), which is considered an art form (performative lecture, based on one-way communication). Dialogical practices require active participation, as well as multiple voices around a given theme, during which the communication within the community becomes part of the artwork (new genre public art, littoral art, relational aesthetic, conversational art, dialogue-based public art)  (~collaboration ~participation ~performativity). Dialogical relations “require a common discursive matrix (linguistic, textual, physical, etc.) through which their participants can share insights, and forge a provisional sense of collectivity.”  Discursivity also offers a possibility to effectively discuss the differences in opinions, leading up to a possible consensus or even multiple outcomes.
It now seems that the expanded field of the discursive lies in its political potential (~curatorial). This is where the dominant, authorial voice turns into multi-layered voices, where curatorial and artistic practices can support each other, meet their extended possibilities and share their social responsibilities (~collaboration ~participation ~curatorial). An actor of the contemporary art field, a cultural practitioner as a public intellectual, can become an agent in reformulating the basics of contemporary art, perhaps even as an advocate in the cultural sector or as cultural-policy maker, dealing not only with different issues in contemporary art but also with the broader field of contemporary culture.
Refernces and Further Readings
2006 New Institutionalism and the Exhibition as Situation. In Protections Reader, Kunsthaus Graz, 1-10, Web. 2013. márc. 28. http://www.situations.org.uk/media/files/New_Institutionalism.pdf
2004 What's the Point of Art Centres Anyway? - Possibility, Art and Democratic Deviance. republicart.net. Republicart. 2004. Web. 2013. febr. 4. http://www.republicart.net/disc/institution/esche01_en.htm
Ferguson Bruce, Hoegsberg Milena
2010 Talking and Thinking about Biennials: The Potential of Discursivity. In FILIPOVIC Elena, VAN HAL Marieke, OVSTEBO Solveig eds. The Biennial Reader, Ostfildern, Hatje Kantz, 360 – 375.
2006 The Global White Cube. In Barbara Vanderlinden, Elena Filipovic Eds.The Manifesta Decade: Debates on Contemporary Art Exhibitions and Biennals in Post-Wall Europe,Cambridge/MA, MIT Press.
1972 The Archaeology of Knowledge, ford A. M. Sheridan Smith, New York, Pantheon (magyarul: A tudás archeológiája. Budapest, Atlantisz, 2001)
2009 Maybe It Would be Better if We Worked in Groups of Three? Part 1 of 2: The Discursive, e-flux Journal 2/2009. e-flux.com Web. 2012. dec. 18. http://www.e-flux.com/journal/maybe-it-would-be-better-if-we-worked-in-groups-of-three-part-1-of-2-the-discursive/
1997 Representation: Cultural Representations and Signifying Practices. CA, Sage
Hoffmann, Jens – Maria Lind
2011 To Show or Not To Show. Mousse 31; moussemagazine.it Mousse Magazine, Web. 4 Sep 2012. http://www.moussemagazine.it/articolo.mm?id=759
2004 Conversation Pieces: The Role of Dialogue in Socially Engaged Art. In Zoya Kocur, Simon Leung eds. 2008 Theory in Contemporary Art Since 1985. Oxord: Blackwell, 76-88.
1997 One Place After Another: Notes on Site Specificity. In Zoya Kocur, Simon Leung eds. 2008 Theory in Contemporary Art Since 1985, Oxord: Blackwell, 32-55
O'Neill, Paul, Mik Wilson eds.
2010 Curating and the Educational Turn. London, Amsterdam, Open Editions-de Appel
Osten, Marion von
2005 A Question of an Attitude—Changing Methods, Shifting Discourses, Producing
Public, Organising Exhibitions. In Simon Sheikh ed. 2005 In the Place of the Public Sphere? Berlin: B_Books:142-166.
2008 Talk Value: Cultural Industry and the Knowledge Economy, In: Hlavajova, Maria, Winder, Jill, Choi, Binna, eds. On Knowledge Production: A Critical Reader in Contemporary Art. BAK, Utrecht – Revolver, Frankfurt am Main.
2007 Curatorial Moments and Discursive Turns. In Paul O’Neill ed. 2007 Curating Subjects. London-Amsterdam: Open Editions -de Appel. 2007: 201-216
 Mick Wilson. 2007 Curatorial Moments and Discursive Turns. In Paul O’Neill ed. 2007 Curating Subjects. London-Amsterdam: Open Editions -de Appel. 2007: 201-216
 Marion von Osten 2005 A Question of an Attitude—Changing Methods, Shifting Discourses, Producing Public, Organising Exhibitions. In Simon Sheikh ed. 2005 In the Place of the Public Sphere? Berlin: B_Books:142-166.
 Charles Esche 2004 What's the Point of Art Centres Anyway? - Possibility, Art and Democratic Deviance. republicart.net. Republicart. 2004. Web. Febr. 4. 2013. http://www.republicart.net/disc/institution/esche01_en.htm
 Paul O’Neill, Paul, Mick Wilson. eds. 2010 Curating and the Educational Turn. London, Amsterdam, Open Editions-de Appel
 Miwon Kwon. 1997 One Place After Another: Notes on Site Specificity.” InZoya Kocur, Simon Leung eds. 2008 Theory in Contemporary Art Since 1985. Oxord: Blackwell, 32-55
 Gillick, Liam 2009 Maybe It Would be Better if We Worked in Groups of Three? Part 1 of 2: The Discursive, e-flux Journal 2/2009. e-flux.com Web. Dec. 18. 2012 http://www.e-flux.com/journal/maybe-it-would-be-better-if-we-worked-in-groups-of-three-part-1-of-2-the-discursive/
 Bruce Ferguson Bruce, Milena Hoegsberg 2010 Talking and Thinking about Biennials: The Potential of Discursivity. Elena Filipovic, Marieke, Van Hal Solveig Ovstebo eds. 2010 The Biennial Reader, Ostfildern, Hatje Kantz, 360–375; Elena Filipovic 2006 The Global White Cube. Barbara Vanderlinden, Elena Filipovic Eds. 2006 The Manifesta Decade: Debates on Contemporary Art Exhibitions and Biennals in Post-Wall Europe, Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press. Ferguson and Hoegsberg mention as positive examples, among others, the 2008 Sao Paulo Biennial (curatey by Ivo Mesquita and Ana Paula Cohen), and the INSITE Biennial.
 Grant Kester 2004 Conversation Pieces: The Role of Dialogue in Socially Engaged Art. Zoya Kocur, Simon Leung eds. 2008Theory in Contemporary Art Since 1985, Oxord: Blackwell, 76-88.