press release

On 23 October, in the context of the Perferias Festival, MUSAC, Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León, is to unveil a show by the title of Globalized. Perspectives on Consumer Society in the MUSAC Collection. The multidisciplinary Periferias festival shall devote its 10th anniversary edition to the theme “commercial”, the guiding line that will underpin this ambitious exhibition of works held in the MUSAC Collection.

In modern art, commercialism is often used as a dirty word. For some specialists, being commercial is a shortcoming for a work of art. However, commercial appeal can only be seen as a consideration external to the work itself, an effect of a broader and more complex reality. Works of art always operate within semantic fields that refer to the idea behind the creative act, the process, possible intentions or the artist’s life experience. In any case, when it comes to reflecting upon the complex idea of “commercialism”, we face a number of questions that paradoxically qualify our response: artistically, is “commercialism” connected to the work’s market price? Can being commercial also be measured in terms of “popular” success (driven by the media)?

The exhibition, curated by Antonio Latorre (freelance curator, Huesca) and Tania Pardo (MUSAC curator) will reflect upon popular culture, consumerism and the mass media, using the selected works as a prism to scrutinise cultural and economic globalisation. The exhibition will thus develop along four major axes:

On the one hand, pieces explicitly referencing the mass media –Ignasi Aballí, Muntean & Rosemblum, Daniele Buetti, Joan Fontcuberta and Sean Snyder – and on the other, artists who use icons of contemporary culture –Kaoru Katayama, Martín Sastre, Sandra Gamarra - references to advertising, the everyday and pop – Carles Congost, Azucena Vieites, Immo Klink and Pierre Huyghe – and those who reflect upon the artist’s role in contemporary culture, from perspective connected to consumerism –Fernando Sánchez Castillo or Juan López-.

The exhibition intends to stimulate thinking on art as cultural consumption, on the work of art as a commodity and on the complexities of an art world governed by the intricate rules of the art market, all of which underline the importance of commercial success. Let us not forget that it was after World War II when a second wave of avant-garde movements emerged alongside consumer societies and post-war capitalism, with the ensuing development of art collecting and the commoditisation of art. The late 1950s saw the emergence of Pop Art and the glorification of the values of consumerism, with cultural production underscoring the connection between art and the everyday. By elevating commercial objects to the status of art, Pop irreversibly blended design, retail, industrial production and art itself. The very concept of art shifted with Andy Warhol, becoming broader and more open-ended, since any industrially produced consumer commodity could be elevated to the status of art. The defining elements of 1960’s popular culture were readily embraced by contemporary art trends. Pop Art lives on in many aspects of artistic production today, with its high-impact language and strategies, its exuberant visual codes, graphic and dynamic force, and with its array of striking colours, forms, motifs and groundbreaking materials.

Back in 1965, in his book Apocalyptic and Integrated Intellectuals, Umberto Eco looked into the relationship between popular culture and the media through a set of concepts – the apocalyptic vs. the integrated – that represent society’s varying attitudes to mass culture. It is precisely in the context of our hyperglobalised and intertwined world (via social networks, internet, TV, etc.), with its ever-evolving culture that is no longer the precinct of the elite, that this exhibition invites us to reflect upon popular culture and art.

Antonio Latorre (Coscojuela de Sobrarbe, Huesca) As cultural advisor to Seguros Pelayo, Latorre has curated a number of solo and group contemporary art exhibitions with artists including Marina Núñez, Enrique Marty, Jesús Palomino or Dis Berlin. His national group exhibitions include Aires Bizarros or EsencialEs. Internationally, he coordinated Freak and Chic, The Beauty of Darkness or The Gender Frontiers for different organisations. He has also worked on a number of editions of the Periferias Festival in Huesca. He regularly sits on juries for competitions and scholarships and frequently writes for catalogues and publications. He headed Art Interventions at ExpoZaragoza 2008.

Tania Pardo (Madrid, 1976) Pardo is in-house curator at MUSAC, with shows including Abajo la Inteligencia by Fernando Sánchez Castillo (January - May 2007); 24 horas 10 minutos by Salvador Cidrás (September 2008 – January 2009) or FIN by Marina Núñez (January - July 2009). She also curates the museum’s Laboratorio 987 art space. In the field of art criticism, she is a regular contributor to Exit Express, Exit Books, Revista Internacional Lápiz, Cimal, Arco-noticias, Matador, El Correo de Arco, ¿Qué hago yo aquí?, etc. She was formerly on the editorial team of El Periódico del Arte. She has also published a number of art catalogues, and has extensive experience in the field of communications and media relations with a number of cultural institutions. She has given courses on Contemporary Art and, together with Manuela Villa, directed the Cultural Management Course organised by Carlos III University at the Madrid Fine Arts Circle (2008). She sits on the jury of art competitions including the Caja Madrid Generación Awards, PhotoEspaña’s Descubrimientos Awards or the MUSAC-Casa de América Latin American Video Creation Awards. She was guest curator at DOMÉSTICO’08, where she carried out the Uno más uno, multitud exhibition project (December 2008- January 2009). Alongside Manuela Villa she co-directs Producir, exponer, interpretar. Estrategias y conflictos en la práctica curatorial hoy. She is currently working on Laboratorio 987’s forthcoming exhibitions with Cyprien Gaillard (July - October 2009), A Kassen (October 2009 – January 2010) and Yorgos Sapountzis (January 2010).

only in german

Globalizados / Globalized
Perspectives on Consumer Society in the MUSAC Collection
Kuratoren: Antonio Latorre, Tania Pardo

Künstler: Ignasi Aballi, Daniele Buetti, Carles Congost, Joan Fontcuberta, Sandra Gamarra, Pierre Huyghe, Kaoru Katayama, Immo Klink, Juan Lopez, Muntean / Rosenblum, Fernando Sanchez Castillo, Martin Sastre, Sean Snyder, Azucena Vieites