As moderator of this panel discussion, I’d like to explore Weiwei’s smashing of an ancient urn in a performance (and Caminero’s subsequent smashing of Weiwei’s property @ PAMM).
It harks back to Weiwei’s own performativity principle: “... by shattering it we can create a new way to look at what is valuable.” Weiwei is on to something: The Western aesthetic tradition defended by Kant, Schiller, Hegel, the Romantics, and then performance art, allows for “actions” which call attention to broader political issues.
However, Maximo Caminero’s “action” @PAMM wasn’t considered as valid as Weiwei’s. Does ownership supervenes cultural patrimony? Is it public perception? i.e., Weiwei’s entitlement as political “enfant terrible” of Chinese’s contemporary art? Is there not a cultural-patrimony argument to be made against Weiwei? Recently, theorist Boris Groys suggests that art activism is a way out of what he calls “total aesthetization.”
Is Weiwei’s “action” a form of art activism? Is it a blatant form of political anarchism? Or is it a bombastic bluff?
Panelists: Nina Johnson Milewski (Gallery Diet), Babacar M'Bow (director of MOCA), Maximo Caminero (artist).
COME, LET'S MAKE SOME NOISE!