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Contemporary art's audiences : specialist accreditation and the myth of inclusion

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Sifakakis, Spyros

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Abstract While postmodernist claims for contemporary art's pluralism, inclusive character and interpenetration with everyday cultures proliferate, little attention is paid to the actual practices, discourses and realities of the art world, its institutions and the interest groups that are involved. Based on findings of the author's recent ethnographic research on a leading contemporary art gallery in Britain and through an analysis of art's audiences as an insider construct, this article argues that a distinction exists between informed and uninformed audiences which is directly associated with two competing types of cultural recognition. These are specialist accreditation and public recognition; the domination of the former in their struggle is presented as decisive in art's socio-cultural legitimization and as manifest in the content and limited range of the audience as an insider discourse.
Keywords Great Britain; art; present; audience; discourse; postmodernism; art criticism; reception; social recognition; expert; layperson
Classification Cultural Sociology, Sociology of Art, Sociology of Literature
Free Keywords art galleries; audiences; contemporary art; discourse; institutionalized artistic production; legitimacy; postmodernism; public recognition; specialist accreditation;
Document language English
Publication Year 2007
Page/Pages p. 203-223
Journal European Journal of Cultural Studies, 10 (2007) 2
Status Postprint; peer reviewed
Licence PEER Licence Agreement (applicable only to documents from PEER project)