Free School for Art Theory and Practice


The Middleman Part II: Dead Authors and Flexible Personalities. Seminar with Lars Bang Larsen and Søren Andreasen

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Curator as Middleman. Søren Andreasen and Lars Bang Larsen Interviewed by Zsuzsa László

 May 18–20, 2007 / KÉK – Hungarian Contemporary Architecture Centre, Budapest

“We use the term ‘middleman’ (or middlewoman) as an overall denominator for productive identity, including the nominal roles of artist, critic, curator. Take the two of us, for example, artist/writer and critic/curator respectively; we are at the same time producers and consumers of art. Middlemen between ourselves.”[i]

For the seminar at the Free School for Art Theory and Practice, our idea is to take representations of productive subjectivities from the 1950s to the 1980s as our starting point. American sociology of the 1950s talked about the organization of man: Herbert Marcuse wrote about the one-dimensional man and Roland Barthes mediated the death of the author, while popular culture of the 1970s developed an obsession with the living dead, the zombie, a convenient, if not very subtle, representation of the consumer. This was a period at the end of modernism and at the beginning of the postmodern era when authorship and subjectivity became blurred or even declared dead; a fate that art itself would later share in the 1980s, as foretold through the discourse on the dematerialization of the art object. With this in mind, we would like to open up a discussion about current modalities of artistic agency. How have the concept of art and the role of the author been vindicated since the 1990s? How do we diagnose and act within them today?

 

Lars Bang Larsen is an art historian, freelance curator, writer, and editor.

Søren Andreasen is a visual artist, writer, and curator based in Copenhagen.

[i] Søren Andreasen and Lars Bang Larsen, “Remarks on Mediation,” A-Desk 3, April 10, 2006, http://www.a-desk.org/03.