Natascha Sadr Haghighian
Dirk Fleischmann/Michele Di Menna
Marion von Osten
Erkan Özgen & Sener Özmen
How exactly, and to what extent does class play a role in the production, direction, criticality and dissemination of contemporary art? Lapdogs of the Bourgeoisie is an ambitious, year-long exhibition and research project led by Gasworks and touring to other institutions internationally in 2007. The project investigates the latent issue of class underlying contemporary art. It is an open question, an invitation to a discussion long overdue, and offers no foregone conclusions other than the relevance of class itself.
Curated by Nav Haq and Tirdad Zolghadr, Lapdogs of the Bourgeoisie will present a series of exhibitions and events, as well as concurrently commissioning research into the subject. The projects will involve a number of newly commissioned works specifically produced for the context of each location.
Lapdogs of the Bourgeoisie aims to investigate the manner in which socioeconomic background still defines one’s career – and to what point this career might reflect or consolidate the very hierarchies in question. Lapdogs of the Bourgeoisie will also ask whether the traditional analytical tools at our disposal are helpful in such an examination of the art world today.
What tendencies and antagonisms would an analysis of the backgrounds, patrons and ideological partialities of those within contemporary art reveal? Would this perhaps tell us why the issue of class has been so easily overlooked in the production and presentation of contemporary art? The participating artists have not necessarily been chosen for a specific engagement with issues of class within their work; rather they have been selected for their particular methodologies, their ability to analyse the politics involved and for having the background knowledge and tact to tread a fine line between provocation and hard-hitting pertinence.
Lapdogs of the Bourgeoisie will be presented at Gasworks, November 10, 2006 – January 14, 2007. It will be followed by new presentations at Platform Garanti, Istanbul; and will then move to venues in Stockholm and Cairo.
Tirdad Zolghadr is a curator, critic and film-maker based in Zurich. Recent curatorial projects include Ethnic Marketing, at the Kunsthalle Geneva, and the 7th International Sharjah Biennial. He is further active as a member of the Shahrzad Art & Design Collective, and is a contributing editor of Bidoun magazine.
Nav Haq is curator at Gasworks. He is presently a guest editor at Book Works, and has also recently been appointed curator of the 3rd Contour Biennial for Video Art, Belgium. He has also contributed to magazines such as Art Review, Bidoun and Yishu: Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art.
Lapdogs of the Bourgeoisie launched in July with a special broadcast by Dirk Fleischmann as part of Radio Gallery on Resonance FM. Radio Gallery was curated by Anna Colin.
Saturday 11 November, 2pm
Talk by Nav Haq and Tirdad Zolghadr: an introduction to the exhibition by the curators followed by a screening as part of the Lapdogs of the Bourgeoisie project.
René Vienet, Can Dialectics Break Bricks?, 1973
Hito Steyerl, November, 2004
Sunday 14 January, 2pm
Performance of Solo Show by Natascha Sadr Haghighian followed by Robert Loder, founder of Gasworks and Triangle Arts Trust, in discussion with artist Joy Gregory about his unique model of patronage for contemporary art around the world. The afternoon concludes with a discussion led by members of the PoCA (Political Currency of Art) group of artists, academics and critics based at Goldsmiths College.
Year 9 pupils from Archbishop Tenisons School made a series of audio guides in response to the exhibition and its themes. For more information click here.