Curation, Museums, and Art: Thinking through the Art of Monstrous Men

14 August New

Presented by:

  • Tshilumba Jean-Sylvain: Belgian-based researcher and Art Practitioner
  • Courtney Williams: Strategist and Director at Urban Fireworks

In this conversation, we look at the artistic archive as conceptualised by the pre and post European Enlightenment era. With the Rococo (Late Baroque) movement deemed immoral, indecent and indulgent and the Enlightenment moving toward more instructive forms of art creation, the art genius was always conceptualised as male. This delimitation of the category of art genius to the subject of the polis (white, heterosexual, cis-gendered male) meant the framing and portrayal of Womxn as passive and as the object of the male genius and gaze. While Womxn, more generally, have reclaimed their agency through the first, second and third waves of feminism – the characteristics of the art genius birthed by the historical conception of the Rococo and Enlightenment eras continue to haunt us.

The global #MeToo movement highlighted the subtle violence(s) of Monstrous men who produce world class art. In this Webinar we consider art institutions and their role in perpetuating toxic masculinities. To do this, we consider two questions. How have contemporary art spaces (museums and galleries) challenged the historical definition of these spaces as reserved for the man, ‘the art genius’, and his gaze? In the second sense, we consider whether African art institutions have either continued to perpetuate the conceptions predefined by their European counterparts or have these institutions diverged from this historical script, to create inclusive spaces.