Creative Enterprise: Contemporary Art Between Museum and Marketplace

Buskirk, Martha
The Continuum Int. Publishing Group, NY

Buskirk examines the globalised contemporary art world of the twenty-first century and describes it as a veritable arts industry. The role of the artist and the curator has become professionalised, she suggests. Art production is challenged by its own ‘corrosive success,’ and it is difficult she explains, to distinguish the marketing and promotion, which can establish artists as brands, from the genuinely radical or subversive practices. Despite its commercial success, Buskirk identifies the contradiction when art still claims to be exceptional. Closely scrutinising art institutions reveals their expanded role as entertainer and spectacle-maker that complicates its dedication to education. She describes the generative practice of these institutions as ‘museum production’ as they increasingly encourage artists to create art within the walls of the museum. This may be achieved by a variety of practices; producing exhibitions, re-imagining collection displays, or producing a commissioned artwork for display. Using numerous examples of artworks, installations, exhibitions and spectacles, Buskirk illuminates the blurring lines between established art roles and practices. She not only explores trends of contemporary curating, collecting, and creative practices, but also offers a critical perspective and places it within historical context.

Shelby Lakins