Art on the supply and demand market

Artists in the 21st century hardly seem to show any interest in formulating a critical attitude towards society. Technological progress and globalisation have done away with the gap between critique and its object. In this so-called depoliticised society, art is in need of a (re)positioning.
The roles of the traditional left and right, of idealism and commerce, seem to have been reversed. The debate on the relation between ‘low’ and ‘high’ culture, the most essential issue in modern art, is once again on the agenda, albeit in a new guise. It is no longer a question of innovation and development within the paradigm of modern art, but of its accessibility and the range of its audience.
The democratic influence of the mass media has conferred enormous power on the public. The existing notions of individual and community, culture and identity, are no longer the same on this supply and demand market. How do artists and designers relate to idealistic, independent art and to the commercial market? Is there still anything like ‘autonomous’ art or an ‘alternative’ subculture? What do artists and designers see as their role in observing the modern world and how do they intervene in it?

Artists, designers, theoreticians and television makers formulated their views on this set of issues in Democratic Design, The Lectures, which took place in Casco in 2001-2002. The texts in the present publication are revised versions of the lectures and audiovisual presentations that were given in that framework.

CASCO is an office for contemporary art. We develop and produce art projects, publish our own magazine Casco-Issues and organise lectures and seminars.

T/F + 31(0)30 2319995Lisette Smits
director Casco, Utrecht