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Week 12 - The theme of the week

The margin


Artists are often thought of as being "on the margins" of society, partly because most of them struggle to have the value of their work recognized in our capitalist societies. Does being an artist automatically place you outside the dominant discourses and systems? The history of art is full of examples of marginal artists, who were not recognized during their lifetime, and who have since been awarded posthumous fame... And what about the propensity of a certain contemporary art scene to fuel on unknown, underground, rebellious practices?


Historically, museums have failed to showcase and collect the work of women artists and artists from a diversity of cultures. Several institutions, including the MAJ, now intend to rectify their approach by exhibiting and acquiring a greater number of works by artists from diverse backgrounds and/or who have historically been under-represented. Today, initiatives of all kinds give more space to the fringes of the arts community (people with mental health problems, people living on the street, the deaf community, the visually impaired community, to name but a few) and to the accessibility issues they raise.


Also, are some artistic genres more marginal than others?

"The genre of performance, associated with Dada, Futurist, and Situationist avant-garde movements, as well as Fluxus and the 1950s happenings, aimed to bring art closer to life by focusing attention on the present moment, the encounter with the body of the other. Immaterial in essence, performance was on the fringes of the art market and its commercial activities. Hence its relative absence from museum collections." (excerpt from Anne-Marie St-Jean Aubre's article on the theme of the margin, to be published on this blog on Sunday, June 7, 2020).


👉For the twelfth week of Quarantined Museum, we invite you to think about the margin. What defines the margin? What defines what is not the margin? Is marginality determined by self-identification or is it done so by the view of others? Does difference automatically mean marginality?


Adam Kinner, Suite canadienne, une démonstration, 2019, performance. Photo: Romain Guilbault

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