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25 Sep 2008

9 - 11 Oct, Rotterdam Dialogues: the Critics

Rotterdam Dialogues: the Critics


9 - 11 October
Program starts daily at 1.30 p.m.
Registration from 12.30 p.m.

0031 10 411 01 44
0031 10 411 79 24

Witte de Withstraat 50
3012 BR Rotterdam
the Netherlands

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Over the course of several months, Witte de With presents a program of three symposia, titled 'Rotterdam Dialogues: Critics, Curators, Artists'. Structured to establish a lively platform for debate and exchange, these symposia explore the practice of three of the central protagonists of the contemporary art world: the critic, the curator and the artist. Are these still the cultural actors who decide what is made, what is seen, and whether it is any good?

The art critic will be the subject of the first symposium, to be held on 9, 10 & 11 October 2008, titled 'Rotterdam Dialogues: the Critics'. These three days are structured around a series of lectures, conversations, and panel discussions, creating a variety of moments for dialogue between the invited guests and the public.

The speakers include an international spectrum of art critics, from as far afield as Manila, New York, Istanbul and Montreal, along with several voices from closer to home. Together they represent a range of media, from glossy art magazines, to online blogs and daily newspapers. Speakers from the world of academia will also be present, along with several artists who write. 'Rotterdam Dialogues: the Critics' will reveal the people behind contemporary written art discourse, giving the public a chance to question their editorial decisions on what is offered to the reader, what is omitted and why.

The speakers include: Jennifer Allen (Artforum), Andrew Berardini (The Expanded Field), Achille Bonito Oliva (art historian); Martijn Boven (8weekly), Matthew Collings (artist, BBC), Ingrid Commandeur (Metropolis M), Diedrich Diederichsen (Prof.), Edo Dijksterhuis (Het Financieele Dagblad), Richard Dyer (Contemporary), Dominic Eichler (frieze), Isabelle Graw (Texte zur Kunst), Tim Griffin (Artforum), Melissa Gronlund (Afterall), Eva Karcher (Vogue), Koen Kleijn (De Groene Amsterdammer), Sven Lütticken (Prof.), Niklas Maak (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung), Sina Najafi (Cabinet), Ho Tzu Nyen (Art Asia Pacific), Chantal Pontbriand (Parachute), Dirk Pültau (De Witte Raaf), Mark Rappolt (ArtReview), Dieter Roelstraete (Afterall), Margriet Schavemaker (Prof.), Edgar Schmitz (Kunstforum International), Simon Sheikh (Prof.), Judy Freya Sibayan (Ctrl+P), Nick Stillman (Bomb), Richard Streitmatter-Tran (, Jordan Strom (The Fillip Review), Pelin Tan (Muhtelif), Eric Troncy (Frog), Jan Verwoert (frieze), Michał Woliński (Piktogram). [All names tbc.]

Each day has an overarching theme, which is then subdivided into more precise topics and questions:

·Thursday – Expectations, looking at questions such as editorial authority - who decides what we read about whom? Can criticism be taught? What does the public expect from art criticism, and what of artists' expectations?

·Friday – Positions, exploring the critic's role in relation to the artist, to the audience, and to the art market, questioning the possibilities for criticality and independence in a field increasingly dominated by advertising.

·Saturday – Contexts, examining the conditions that are necessary for art criticism to flourish – what is the key to an enduring art magazine? What possibilities can be created by DIY criticism, and how are new media changing the audience for art criticism?

In addition to the three days of the symposium, Witte de With Education is organizing a masterclass that is open to students and young professionals, given by Tim Griffin (editor in chief of Artforum International). There is also a closed workshop run by Melissa Gronlund (editor of Afterall) with students from several Dutch universities.

Elements of each symposia comprising 'Rotterdam Dialogues: Critics, Curators, Artists' will be compiled in a publication to appear in mid 2009. It will feature contributions by many of the speakers, but also by invited observers and by participants in the workshop and masterclass.

Parallel to 'Rotterdam Dialogues: the Critics', three special events are scheduled, which are also open to people not attending the symposium:

·Thursday 9 October, 6 p.m. Award ceremony for the 'Prize for Young Dutch Art Criticism', an initiative of Witte de With, The Netherlands Foundation for Visual Arts, Design and Architecture (Fonds BKVB) and de Appel. Location: Zaal de Unie, Mauritsweg 34, Rotterdam (Language: Dutch),, free entry.

·Friday 10 October, 7:30 p.m. Book launch of Diedrich Diederichsen's book 'On (Surplus) Value in Art', the first of the Reflections series published by Witte de With and Sternberg Press. Reception at Witte de With in the presence of the author, free entry.

·Saturday 11 October, 8:30 p.m. 'OFF the PAGE' performance program and party at DSPS / DE PLAYER, Tolhuisstraat 107, Rotterdam. Entrance 6€, free entry to symposium ticket holders. Performers to be announced.

Practical information

Time: Registration daily from 12:30 p.m. Program starts daily at 1:30 p.m.

Tickets: 1 day ticket: €15 (€10*), 3 day ticket: € 40 (€25*), * reduction for <18, >65, students, Friends


Language: English

Location: Witte de With, 3rd floor

'Rotterdam Dialogues: Critics, Curators, Artists' is conceived and co-ordinated by Zoë Gray, Nicolaus Schafhausen and Ariadne Urlus.

'Rotterdam Dialogues: Critics, Curators, Artists' is generously supported by the Mondriaan Foundation, VSBfonds and SNS REAAL Fonds. Witte de With is funded by the Dutch Ministry of Culture and the City of Rotterdam.