• What is the art complex?


    • Solo Exhibition
    • Contemporary
    • Emerging Artists

    Dates and Opening hours

    APR 04, 2013

    Event Location

    Museu d´Art Contemporani de Barcelona - MACBA

    Plaça dels Àngels, 1 08001 Barcelona

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    MACBA Auditorium. Follow this link to pop up the application form.

    Course on Contemporary Art and Culture

    Complex n. a group or system of different things that are linked in a close or complicated way; a network.

    Courses on the Introduction to Contemporary Art are often modelled on Art History courses that present a sequence of styles and movements. MACBA invites you to investigate the new terminology that marks contemporary art debates. We no longer talk of styles but of working lines, and at a time when the economy determines everything, art history also claims a specific, renewed and different narrative.

    The art complex is seen from a new perspective and it includes the uses and interpretations that are added to the work throughout its public life. History, which used to guarantee reasonable explanations, is no longer sufficient to account for an art that creates spectators in the same way that it used to create artefacts. We are in the era of the art complex, a notion that allows us to revisit the conditions constantly imposed by the economy, through the point of view of cultural production.
    Specialists invited to participate in this course must have a didactic commitment to impart basic lessons that will bring us nearer to what will be called the art complex from now on. The exhibitions of the MACBA Collection are designed as an open textbook from which study guides may be deducted. The course is organised in six lectures heading a series of complementary activities, which are optional for those taking part in the course. Therefore, lecturers impart full sessions to expose the more emblematic ideas, and an additional activity, taking place in the exhibition galleries, to discuss the most iconic and polemic works in the MACBA Collection. Participants are entitled to packages of audiovisual and bibliographic material offered by the Museum to all subscribers. A basic kit for everyone!

    Art in a neo-liberal context

    The first part of this pioneering course on the art complex is based on the current presentation of the MACBA Collection. ‘Art of the First Globalisation’, including works from the 1960s and seventies – the so-called decade of the critical paradigm, – will structure the spring edition. With the participation of Michel Feher, Pedro de Llano, Xavier Antich, Peio Aguirre, Beatriz Preciado and Joana Masó.

    The art of the first liberalisation coincides with the era of economic neo-liberalism. The market references at that time were consumer products, with everyone in charge of their work. But for the last thirty years, the system that can best help us to understand the evolution of capitalism is the world of finances, based on credit and reputation. The pursuits of these markets no longer resemble those of the past. Rather than seeking commercial profit to obtain greater satisfaction, the new subjects of these pursuits are concerned with their own self-esteem and with the creation of circles of social and financial recognition. How can art expose the ways in which these markets not only evaluate people, but also drive them toward an appreciation of themselves?


    Wednesday 3 April, 6.30 pm
    Visit to the exhibition. The Art of the First Globalisation
    Commentary on the work by Hans Haacke Shapolsky et al. Manhattan Real Estate Holdings, 1971.

    Thursday 4 April, 7.30 pm
    The Market Subjects and their Critics
    By Michel Feher
    One of the main characteristics of the art of the sixties and early seventies was to show that resources were not shared fairly in the free market. This gave way to a series of artistic and critical manifestations exposing workers’ exploitation and consumers’ fake satisfaction. This session will explore the paradigmatic changes that occurred in relation to subjectivity since the liberal era to the present, a time when the financial world has become the market reference.

    Monday 8 April, 7.30 pm
    Abstract Painting and Absent Bodies: the Visual Arts in North America in the Early Sixties
    By Pedro del Llano

    Coinciding with the triumphal capitalism of the early sixties in North America, the evolution of abstract art provoked a progressive and apparent disappearance of the materiality of painting. The process implied the removal of the viewer’s body and purely visual perception. The abstract was also notable in other languages, whether to define a growing economy or to hide the tragedy of war.

    Wednesday 10 April
    Visit to the exhibition: The Art of the First Globalisation
    Commentary on the work by Robert Rauschenberg Untitled, 1972.

    Monday 15 April, 7.30 pm
    Village Faggots and Migrant Junkies in the Free Market:
    Artistic Practice and Pharmaco-Pornographic Activism
    By Beatriz Preciado
    In the late seventies, the techniques of production of sexual subjectivity in industrial capitalism are replaced by a set of pharmaco-pornographic techniques aiming to create a standard sexual being that would become a satisfied consumer and a docile breeder. In this context, artistic practice has to invent dissident devices for the production of value and subjectivity. On either side of the Atlantic, Ocaña and Hélio Oiticica experiment with new ways of disrupting the normal functioning of the neo-liberal sexual-semiotic machine.

    Wednesday 17 April, 6.30 pm
    Visit to the exhibition: The Art of the First Globalisation
    Commentary on Ocaña’s work and the work by Hélio Oiticica and Neville d’Almeida Cosmococa, 1973.

    On Wednesday 17 April, 7.30 pm, Beatriz Preciado will introduce a lecture by Ana Longoni, as part of the activities of Open PEI. Auditorium, free entry, limited places.

    Monday 22 April, 7.30 pm
    On Art, Action and Cultural Militancy: Tàpies, 1974–80
    By Xavier Antich
    In 1974, the year of the execution of Salvador Puig Antich, the last stages of Franco’s dictatorship were marked with blood. Tàpies published Art Against Aesthetics, a cry in favour of action in artistic practice. Suddenly, in the context of a terminal dictatorship, the idea of cultural militancy appeared. This session questions whether works of art can be read as documents of their time, with its tensions and conflicts, even when this dimension of reality may not appear explicitly on the surface of the work.

    Wednesday 24 April, 6.30 pm
    Visit to the exhibition: The Art of the First Globalisation
    Commentary on the work by Tàpies Llençol amb taca taronja (Sheet with Orange Stain), 1974.

    Monday 6 May, 7.30 pm
    Decisive Moments in a Museum: From Institutional Critique to the Contextualisation of Production
    By Peio Aguirre
    The work by Andrea Fraser Little Frank and his Carp, 2001, falls within Institutional Critique and is a questioning of the cultural industry through the so-called ‘Bilbao effect’ or ‘Guggenheim effect’. The session will analyse the process of gestation of the work, a performance recorded with hidden cameras at the Guggenheim Bilbao, with the artist ‘interacting’ with the architect Frank Gehry. The visit in the gallery space will function as a tour of the architecture of the Guggenheim and will analyse the reasons why the work is included in the MACBA Collection.

    Wednesday 8 May, 6.30 pm
    Visit to the exhibition: The Art of the First Globalisation
    Commentary on the work by Andrea Fraser Little Frank and his Carp, 2001.

    Monday 13 May, 7.30 pm
    Words, Things and the Gold Crisis: The Case of Broodthaers
    By Joana Masó
    Marcel Broodthaers’ artistic trajectory is often seen as a continuous critique of the museum as generator of profit and speculation in the art market. We will attempt to read this critique at the intersection of two crisis: on the one hand, the crisis of the referent in French Modernist literature, inherited by Broodthaers from Mallarmé and Gide; and on the other, the abandonment of the gold standard in the early twentieth century, as a first step toward economic deregulation in today’s financial systems.

    Wednesday 15 May, 6.30 pm
    Visit to the exhibition: The Art of the First Globalisation
    Commentary on the work by Marcel Broodthaers Éloge du sujet, 1974.


    The Museum offers additional material and related bibliography to the people enrolled. This material will be available at the Study Center and through this website.

    Bibliography and related contents by Rosa Lleó


    Michel Feher is a philosopher, founding editor of Zone Books (New York), and president of Cette France-là (Paris), a French organisation analysing immigration policies in France under Sarkozy. He is the author of Powerless by Design: The Age of the International Community (2000) and co-editor of Nongovernmental Politics (2007), with Gaëlle Krikorian and Yates McKee. More recently he has been co-author and editor of Cette France-là 1, 2007-8, and Cette France-là 2, 2008-9.

    Beatriz Preciado holds a doctorate in Philosophy and Theory of Architecture by Princeton University, and a masters degree in Philosophy and Gender Studies by the New School for Social Research, New York. She is the author of numerous essays such as Manifiesto Contra-Sexual (Anagrama), Terror Anal (Melusina), Testo Yonqui (Espasa Calpe) and Pornotopia (Anagrama), which was shortlisted for the Premio Anagrama de Ensayo and won the Prix Sade in France in 2011. She is currently lecturing on the political history of the body and gender theory at the Université Paris VIII and is co-director of the Independent Study Programme at the Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA).

    Xavier Antich is a doctor in philosophy, professor of aesthetics and director of the masters degree in Communication and Art Criticism at the Universitat de Girona. He was ‘Visiting Chair’ at Stanford University and director of MACBA’s Independent Study Programme. Author of the books Introducción a la metafísica de Aristóteles and El rostre de l’altre, and translator of philosophers such as Merleau-Ponty, Emmanuel Lévinas, Franco Rella and Chantal Mouffe. He has published over one hundred articles in specialised magazines and collective publications, on philosophy, aesthetics and contemporary art. He has been awarded prizes such as Joan Fuster for essays and Espais and GAC for art criticism. He is a regular contributor to Cultura/s, La Vanguardia’s cultural supplement, and to this paper’s editorial section. He is President of the Board of the Fundació Antoni Tàpies.

    Rosa Lleó is an independent curator and is currently taking part in the research programme Curatorlab (Konstfack University, Stockholm). While in the UK, she was a founder member of Impress and collaborated as researcher and editorial assistant for Afterall. As an editor for Actar, she coordinated publications such as Entre / Between by Muntadas, co-edited by the Museo Reina Sofía, Madrid.). She has curated numerous exhibitions such as Cas d’estudi (Can Felipa, Barcelona, 2013), 15 piezas en 3 actos (Sant Andreu Contemporani, Barcelona, 2011), Everything is Out There (La Casa Encendida, Madrid, 2010), A Fine Red Line, Live! (176 Project Space, London, 2009) and Aspen 11 (Neue Alte Brücke Galerie, Frankfurt, 2009). Her texts have been published in Cultura/s, La Vanguardia’s cultural supplement, Afterall Online, Art-Agenda, among others.

    Pedro del Llano is an art historian and curator. He is the coordinator of the masters degree on Art, Museology and Contemporary Critique at the Universidad de Santiago de Compostela, and was a lecturer for the masters degree on Artistic Practices by the University of Oporto (MPAC). He has curated the projects El medio es el museo (MARCO, Vigo and Koldo Mitxelena, San Sebastián, 2008, in collaboration with Pablo Fanego), In Search of the Miraculous, treinta años después, on the posthumous project of the Dutch artist Bas Jan Ader (CGAC, 2010), and La ballena negra (MARCO, Vigo, 2012). He has written texts on artists and edited books, and is currently preparing a book on Bas Jan Ader to be published in 2014.

    Peio Aguirre is a critic, independent curator and editor. He has curated various exhibitions such as, Arqueologías del futuro (Sala Rekalde, Bilbao, 2007), Asier Mendizabal (MACBA, 2008), Néstor Basterretxea (Museo de Bellas Artes, Bilbao, 2013). He has published articles and essays in international magazines such as Afterall, A Prior Magazine, e-flux journal, and has written numerous monographic texts on artists. He writes in his blog Crítica y metacomentario: http://peioaguirre.blogspot.com

    Joana Masó is a lecturer on French Studies at the Universitat de Barcelona and a researcher at the UNESCO Chair on Women, Development and Culture at the UB. She has translated French authors from the second half of the twentieth century such as Hélène Cixous, Jacques Derrida, Catherine Malabou and Jean-Luc Nancy, and is interested in their relation to art. She is co-editor of the writings on Jacques Derrida, Artes de lo visible (1979-2004), Ellago Ediciones; Writings on the Arts of Visibility (1979-2004), The University of Chicago Press), and the text by Cixous, Poetas en pintura: de Rembrandt a Nancy Spero, Ellago Ediciones; Poetry in Painting. Writings on Contemporary Arts and Aesthetics, Edinburgh UP.


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