(Highlights) Anthony Gardner · Prof. Contemporary Art History, Oxford · Fmr. Head, Ruskin School of Art
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“I think art can engage with the body, the mind, and the imagination in so many different ways that can compliment modes of thinking, other modes of creating, thinking through, working through and devising.
I was thinking about this in relation to the last 18 months and how the sciences have rightly been heralded as the great way of getting ourselves out of this pandemic, but culture is the way and art is the way that we've been getting through the pandemic. So many people have been watching Netflix, reading, singing music, playing music, making images, and making art as a way of getting through very difficult times and reflecting through that process. And in that sense, science compliments the arts, and the arts compliment the sciences because you can't get out of a situation without getting through it. So in order to get to the end of this sort of crisis, we have to be able to work through them.
And so art becomes a very important means and space and time for being able to reflect, but also delve into thinking through and thinking where the situations we have at hand and the situations we find ourselves in.”
Anthony Gardner is Professor of Contemporary Art History at the University of Oxford, where he was the Head of the Ruskin School of Art from 2017 to 2020. He has published widely on subjects including postcolonialism, postsocialism and curatorial histories. His books include Politically Unbecoming: Postsocialist Art against Democracy, and Biennials, Triennials and documenta: The exhibitions that created contemporary art, co-authored with Charles Green.