The growth of contemporary art institutions and markets in a number of cities all over the world has had the effect of reshaping city space. This panel considers how the development of art worlds has transformed artists' and others' understandings and experiences of the cities in which they live.
The growth of contemporary art institutions and markets in a number of cities all over the world in the past twenty years has had the effect of reshaping space. Museums, galleries, and art education centres are often centrally present in urban regeneration projects and cities promote themselves as cultural destinations by highlighting the vibrancy of their 'scenes'. The increased consumption of Chinese, Indian, African, and South American contemporary art has led to altered flows of capital that reshape the spaces of the city where such art is produced and exhibited. This panel considers how the development of art worlds has transformed artists' and others' understandings and experiences of the cities in which they live.
Cities lend themselves to utopian visions. Artists produced and supported by a newly emerged art world infrastructure may offer critical commentaries on these very processes of change, which are regarded as adversely affecting the existing sociality of neighbourhoods or marginalising already marginalised citizens. Or do these new spaces enhance creativity? What kinds of cities do artists desire? Do these desires lead to conflict with local government or art institutions?
We also explore the visibility or invisibility of contemporary art actors in the life of the city. Might the development of a private network of galleries and collectors highlight the marginal status of contemporary art in a city where 'traditional' forms of art are more highly valued by citizens and/or by government?
The panel therefore considers questions at the intersections of anthropology, art, and critical geography.