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Institute for Art Criticism

"All theory of art must thus also be a critique of it," Theodor W. Adorno

The Institute for Art Criticism was founded by Isabelle Graw, professor for art theory and art history at Städelschule and by Daniel Birnbaum, former Rector of the Städelschule in summer 2003. It focuses on the practice of criticism and its manifold relationships to other disciplines. The institute regularly invites art historians, philosophers, critics, and artists. It benefits from the discourse produced by the professors of the school and many Frankfurt-based art critics and academics. The complex relationship between criticism and artistic practice is particularly relevant to the Städelschule, well-known for its experimentally inclined students.

Summer semester 2016 - Winter semester 2017:

Do it yourself. Deskilling and Reskilling in the Digital Techno Age.

This lecture-series (conceptualized by Isabelle Graw) revolves around the question of artistic skills in a digital world. What do they actually consist of? While it always mattered how an artist performs herself since the Modern Age, it seems that the „Auftritt des Künstlers“ (Beatrice von Bismarck), namely, her public staging of herself, has become increasingly important in a Media Society. Has the modeling of her „personality“ turned into a skill that is required from her? Or should one rather argue that artistic practices still represent other competences, attitudes and ways of life that question the ideal of an entrepreneurial self? What have traditional skills been replaced by? 

It seems that the deskilling of the arts that is usually associated with the „Duchamp-effect“ and post war practices allowed for a reskilling that is currently quite popular in the art world. Is it a historical necessity that deskilling entails reskilling? Historically speaking, „deskilling“ was a male privilege in the 1950´s and 1960´s. Many male artists opted for anti-subjective aleatory procedures that rejected skills, whereas women artists practiced another form of deskilling in the 1970´s by reintroducing formerly devaluated, „female skills“ into their work. Could one argue, at least in retrospect, that it is precisely these lower or soft skills associated with the sphere of reproduction that are have risen to the status of a valuable resource in our New Economy?

Summer semester 2016

Lucy McKenzie (12. April)  
Benjamin Buchloh (22. Juni)
Beatrice von Bismarck (23. Juni)
Julia Gelshorn (12. Juli)

Winter semester 2016/17

Julia Gelshorn (13. December)
Rachel Haidu (14. December)
Amalia Ulman (17. Januar)
John Roberts (18. Januar)

In the past, the following symposiums were held:

Benjamin H.D. Buchloh, Yves-Alain Bois, Tim Griffin, Helmut Draxler, Jutta Koether, Niklas Maak

UNTER DRUCK – Über Subjektförmige Bilder, Gesellschaftliche Individuen und den neuen Geist des Kapitalismus. Eine Konferenz in drei Sektionen
30.11.2005: W.T.Mitchell und Sabeth Buchmann
15.12.2006: Paolo Virno, Martin Saar, Daniel Birnbaum
15.12.2007: Luc Boltanski, Sighard Neckel, Isabelle Graw

CANVASES AND CAREERS TODAY – Criticism and its markets.
George Baker, Johanna Burton, Isabelle Graw, Tom, Holert, John Kelsey, Branden Joseph, Melanie Gilligan, Merlin Carpenter

Alexander Alberro, Jack Bankowski, Carrie Lambert Beatty

Christoph Menke, Daniel Loick, Isabelle Graw

Ewa Lajer Burcharth: Chardin Material (responses: Isabelle Graw, Daniel Birnbaum)

ART AND SUBJECTHOOD – the return of the human figure in semiocapitalism
Isabelle Graw, Hal Foster, Caroline Busta, Michael Sanchez, Ina Blom

Friday 9. November 2012, 19h, Atrium
Georges Didi-Huberman: Photos, Pathos, Pothos / L'«IMAGE VIVANTE» SELON ROLAND BARTHES

Peter Osbourne: Art of the Contemporary: From Memory to History
Tuesday 10. June 2014, 19h, Aula
Benjamin H.D. Buchloh, Isabelle Graw and Josephine Pryde: Institutional Critique in the digital age.
Monday 20. April 2015, 15h, UDK, Hardenbergstr.33, 10623 Berlin
Sabeth Buchmann: Rehearsing Critique
Tuesday 16. June 2015, 19h, Aula