This special issue of the Brooklyn Rail introduces AICA (the International Association of Art Critics), founded in Paris as a non-governmental organization affiliated with UNESCO in 1949, to a broader audience in the United States and elsewhere.
As the Iron Curtain was coming down, Krzysztof Kieślowski’s Double Life of Véronique (1991) not only elegantly captured the emotional impact of Europe’s post-war division but also conveyed a brooding angst about the promised “European Union.”
A large white envelope addressed to the headquarters of AICA International at 32 rue Yves Toudic, 75010 Paris, stamped Documents only, was mailed from New York on April 27, 2010. Last March, during my visit to the French capital to attend our annual administrative meeting, I found that envelope on a bookshelf in our office, stuck between two exhibition catalogues.
Art criticism and the making of art are inextricably intertwined. The whole system depends upon a set of relations that link art materials to artistic production to art promotion to art criticism to the market.
The International Association of Art Critics (AICA) was conjured into being, like a rib from its parent body, UNESCO, which had been established in 1945, in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War.
For starters, I have to confess that as a European art professional I am ashamed of how little I know about European art criticism, and even European contemporary art at large.
A Story about a Culturally Relocated Person
Speech by Ilya Kabakov at the 28th IAAC/AICA Congress in Stockholm, Sweden (22 September 1994) (Extracts)
The circumstances of my appearance at this podium are fairly remarkable. Not thinking or even contemplating such a thing, I unexpectedly receive the news that I am supposed to speak at this Congress and that I have been chosen to do so.
Distinguished Polish art historian, professor Juliusz Starzyński, one of the five founders of the Polish section of AICA in 1955, came up with the subject and the program of the 1975 AICA Congress in Poland.
This was the summer before the Velvet Revolution: Vaclav Havel was in jail, Jan Urban was riding around on a bicycle in disguise, men in trench coats were threatening to shut down the exhibition. My first trip behind the Iron Curtain was surreal and fascinating.
Art is the most intense mode of individualism that the world has known, (Oscar Wilde). AICA is about individuals, who happen to practice art criticism.
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Message from the Editor
- from the Guest Editor by Marek Bartelik
- AICA into the Age of Globalization: from Gentlemens Club to Universal Fellowship by Henry Meyric Hughes
- Unfolding the Archives of James Johnson Sweeney by Marek Bartelik
- Reaching For Our Revolvers: How a United Europe Defused its Culture and Divided its People by Yanis Varoufakis
- A Story about a Culturally Relocated Person Speech by Ilya Kabakov at the 28th IAAC/AICA Congress in Stockholm, Sweden (22 September 1994) (Extracts)
- Peripheral Gaze in the Middle of Everything by Leena-Maija Rossi
- Art Criticism in Europe Today Libia Castro & Ólafur Ólafsson ask Nina Power
AICA in Pictures
Reports and Interviews From:
- Report from Portugal by Lígia Afonso
- Susana Gaudêncio interviews Lígia Afonso
- Report from Ireland by Ciarán Bennett
- Questions by Alan Phelan to Ciarán Bennett
- Criticism: a U.K. perspective by Sarah Kent
- 10 Questions From Phyllida Barlow for Sarah Kent
- Contemporary Art Criticism in Spain: A Recent History Survey by Javier Montes
- Catalonia: Art and Thought in Difficult Times by Joan M. Minguet
- A Conversation between Núria Güell and Joan M. Minguet on Art, Thought, and Commitment
- The Art Scene and the Art Critic in France: A Birds Eye View by Raphael Cuir
- Raphael Cuir Interview by Tania Mouraud translated from the French by Nick Irvin
- Cross-over for the Luxembourgish Art Scene by Lucien Kayser, translated from the French by Claude Colomer
- On Criticism Sophie Jung with Lucien Kayser
- The Swiss Art Scene and the Role of the Art Critic by Patrick Schaefer
- In Conversation: Philippe Fretz with Patrick Schaefer
- Report from Italy by Anselmo Villata
- Jorrit Tornquist interviews Anselmo Villata
- Artist Katya Gardea Browne Interviews Critic Ludwig Seyfarth
- Where Art is Always Starting Anew Czech Artists Between the Local and International Art Scene by Thomá Pospiszyl
- Criticism Continues to Lag Behind Art Czech Artist Dominik Lang with Critic Tomá Pospiszyl
- On the Danish Contemporary Art Scene and Art Criticism by Lisbeth Bonde
- Questions to the Danish Art Critic Lisbeth Bonde Posed by the Danish Artist Mikkel Carl
- Art Criticism in Norway by Dag Solhjell
- Between Lotte Konow Lund (artist) and Kjetil Røed (critic)
- Report from Sweden by Ulrika Stahre
- Annica Karlsson Rixon interviews Ulrika Stahre
- Looking at the Vivid Local Art Scene through the Huge Change of the Media by Marja-Terttu Kivirinta
- Photographer Jaakko Heikkilä with Marja-Terttu Kivirinta
- The Current State of Art Criticism in Poland by Dorota Jarecka
- Katarzyna Kozyra with Dorota Jarecka
- When We Idolize Art by Richard Gregor
- Juraj Čarný with Stano Masár
- HungaryA Post-Socialist Conflict Zone by Edit András
- Artist Szabolcs KissPál in conversation with art critic Edit András
- Report from Croatia by Branko Franceschi
- Kata Mijatović with Branko Franceschi
- Report from Macedonia On a City between two spectacles by Mira Gakina
- Velimir Zernovski interviews Mira Gakina
- Polyna Kosmadaki with Danae Stratou
- At the End of The Longest Decade by Svetlana Kuyumdzhieva
- Luchezar Boyadjiev interviews Svetlana Kuyumdzhieva
- The Art Scene and Art Criticism in Romania by Adrian Guta
- Artist Iosif Kiraly Interviews Critic Adrian Guta
- Kiev, April 29, 2014 by Larissa Babij
- Artist Anna Zvyagintseva Interviews Art Critic and Curator Arina Radionova
- The Contemporary Art Scene in Turkey by Burcu Pelvanoğlu
- The Actual Art Scene in Russia by Andrei Tolstoi
Portraits of Critics by Artists
- January 6, 2004 by Martin Gayford
- LONDON Angus Stewart on The First Georgians: Art and Monarchy Exhibition in the Queens Gallery, Buckingham Palace by Angus Stewart