Vanishing into action: Art beyond the contemporary

Suhail Malik, co-director of the Master of Fine Art at Goldsmiths, University of London, argues in a forthcoming book that there is an urgent necessity for “art to exit from Contemporary Art”. This is not a paradox, but a clear differentiation between what he considers the purpose of art to be and the neoliberal system that in his view defines the term Contemporary Art. As such, Contemporary Art describes the dominant system of art and not simply art made in the present time. Malik is not alone. Even key players within the contemporary artworld are despairing of the malaise that has overtaken it. In 2012 the art critic Dave Hickey, a long-term advocate of art in a free market economy, announced he was quitting an artworld he is reported to have described as “calcified, self-reverential and a hostage to rich collectors.” “It’s nasty and it’s stupid,” he said, “Art editors and critics—people like me—have become a courtier class. All we do is wander around the palace and advise very rich people.”

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