Socially engaged art, post-truth and the monumentalising of democracy

Lang, Martin and Grimwood, Tom (2023) Socially engaged art, post-truth and the monumentalising of democracy. Journal of Cultural Management and Cultural Policy . Item availability may be restricted.

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In 2021, for the first time, all the nominees for the Turner Prize were socially engaged art (SEA) collectives. The groups all ‘democratised’ their practices by relinquishing their authorial control to non-artists. Framed by the prestige of the Turner Prize, this relinquishing of control, through collaborative actions with various communities, was lauded as ethically meritorious, because of its egalitarian and non-hierarchical nature. We argue that behind the growing institutional success of SEA lies a tension between its ‘goodness’ as a necessity based on a model of authentic practice, and the context of ‘post-truth’ that informs its rejection of ‘artistic expertise’ in favour of egalitarian processes. However, we contend that it is not the processes themselves, but the monumentalising of democracy and equality that brings SEA into the domain of post-truth. We conclude that SEA must retain a dialectical tension between equality and the production of truth as a cultural value: a dialectic which involves the careful reinstatement of artistic authorship and a sincerer vision of its political ambitions and signification.

Item Type: Article
Journal / Publication Title: Journal of Cultural Management and Cultural Policy
Publisher: De Gruyter
ISSN: 2701-9276
Departments: Health and Society Knowledge Exchange (HASKE)
Depositing User: Tom Grimwood
Date Deposited: 07 Mar 2023 16:35
Last Modified: 07 Mar 2023 16:45
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