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Session Overview
RN02_02c_P: The Power of (D)evaluation in the Arts
Wednesday, 30/Aug/2017:
4:00pm - 5:30pm

Session Chair: Dan Eugen Ratiu, Babes-Bolyai University
Location: PA.1.3
PANTEION University of Social & Political Sciences 136 Syggrou Avenue 17671 Athens, Greece Building: A, Level: 1.

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Contextualising evaluations in the arts

Tasos Zembylas

University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna, Austria

Art worlds encompass a variety of evaluative practices, since artworks are valued in different contexts and for different purposes. Appreciation or devaluation result from social negotiations that take place in institutional settings. It is therefore essential that the analysis of evaluation processes explicitly focuses on the structuring role of such practical contexts (see Lamont 2012).

In my presentation I will highlight three typical evaluative situations:

• art criticism, that is to say aesthetic evaluation in public media

• the art market, that is to say (mainly) monetary evaluation within business organisations

• public funding, that is to say aesthetic, monetary and political evaluation in public funding agencies or councils.

These different contexts, purposes and institutional settings form cognitive and practical trajectories that pre-structure evaluating acts (see Thévenot 2007; Heinich 2014). Such structural bonds (e.g. to organisational interests, to cultural political objectives, to business strategy) do not necessarily have to be restrictive; yet they represent guides that cannot easily be ignored. Thus professionals (art critics, art dealers and managers, art administrators etc.) are aware that their own evaluative decisions will be subject to evaluation by their peers and non-peers, who as a rule expect from them to conform to some major evaluative standards shared in their practice community (see Wenger 1998).

do we measure what we treasure?

Andries van den Broek

Netherlands Institute for Social Research SCP, Netherlands, The

Keeping in mind the expression "what is measured is treasured", it is of great importance to reflect on what counts as key indicators of artistic life. To make it concrete: does it include the opera house and prestigious museums only, or also the punk rock scene and the amateur arts?

It seems that, more often than not, what is being measured about artistic life has grown organically, based on (implicitly elitist?) assumptions and on data easily obtainable.

On behalf of the Dutch Ministry of Culture, my project takes a few steps back and in a way asks the question: what is so treasured that it deserves to be measured? The paper will be a kind of mid-term review, and I will very much welcome comments from colleagues

The paper will touch upon how key indicators were identified elsewhere (i.e. in other fields in the Netherlands and with respect to the arts in other cultures), will talk about how I spoke to key figures in the Dutch arts world and will give an update of the key indicators identified and the main issues that arose in doing so.

The impact of film criticism and cultural evaluation on the formation and the emergence of a “Weird Wave” in Greek Cinema

Anastasia Stamou, Eirini Sifaki, Maria Papadopoulou

Hellenic Open University, Greece

“Is it just coincidence that the world’s most messed-up country is making the world’s most messed-up cinema?” The question was raised by film critic Steve Rose at Guardian (2011) concerning contemporary Greek cinema, which has gained great reputation in recent years, including numerous distinctions at festivals, media coverage and an Oscar nomination. First revealed in 2009, Yorgos Lanthimos, with his movie “Dogtooth”, symbolizes the coming of a new generation of filmmakers whose creativity and surrealist tendencies have been stimulated and exacerbated by the social and economic crisis. This presentation examines the way journalists and film critics both in Greece and abroad described, evaluated and labeled the emerged “Greek New Wave”. In line with cultural evaluation theory, we conducted a content analysis of film reviews in order to explore the criteria that professionals deploy to assess these films. By coding the collected texts using high art and popular aesthetic evaluation criteria and pointing out the forms of language (words and phrasings) used within media discourse, we detected critic’s perspectives towards this new phenomenon in order to define their contribution to its formation. We focused on the so-called “weird” aesthetics (a label used by critics to describe a mixture of recurrent elements in both form and content) and the way they were disseminated to the public. Finally, this presentation aims to provide a better understanding of the role that professional media critics play in the evaluation and subsequent legitimization of cultural products and genres. This research project was funded by the European Parliament (MEP G. Grammatikakis).

The Art Scene of Cluj-Napoca and Art Criticism

Roxana Modreanu

Universitatea de Artă și Design Cluj-Napoca, Romania

In the context of a nearly non-existing art criticism movement in the city of Cluj-Napoca, Romania, an anonymously project made by the author took place in the spring of 2016. This paper, based on this empirical action, aims to present the development of this initiative and it's consequnces. The premises of the project revolved around making art criticism visible and facilitating the dialog between art-galleries and their audience. Therefore, the author wrote anonymous fanzines discussing every single gallery's activity for the city of Cluj-Napoca, in an exercise of going back to the beginning of art criticism from the XVIII century, with it's anonymous chronicles. The fanzines were left at the opening to the corresponding gallery, and both the reactions of the audience and of the gallery officials were monitored by the author. The end of the project was marked by a public discussion, accessible to the audience, were all the gallery officials were invited for the disclosure of the author's identity and a discussion about the state of art criticism and the relation between art-galleries and their audience. The discussion successfully revealed the local art scene's elitism. In the same time we consider that the project was a success, given the disponibility of some of the galleries to discuss the art criticism and the role of the audience topics, proving that there is interest for art criticism in Cluj-Napoca's art scene.

Keywords: art criticism, anonymity, Cluj-Napoca, art-world, audience, art-gallery.

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