What is the liberal form of art

"How free is art?"

Where are the limits of what can be shown and said, and is art allowed to shift them, even where it becomes explicitly political, offensive or insulting? Does the viewer have a right to remain “unmolested”? Are we then only looking for confirmation in art instead of a harsh counterpart? How does art mix with the political opinion of its makers, can the stage of art be "misused" for a political statement?


Recently, numerous cases have shown that, thanks to "clickivism" on social media and a "great irritation" (Bernhard Pörksen), public control can take on a new and powerful form of direct condemnation. This also has consequences for art: the MoMA should hang pictures, in the theater individual words are demonstratively censored with a "beep" or artists who are already engaged are unloaded under public pressure. How can a productive handling of the public problematization of works of art and curatorial concepts look like?

We discuss with:

Barbara Frey, director and general manager at the Schauspielhaus Zürich, considers freedom to be just as important as empathy as an artistic person as well as a host for other artistic people. Indignation for its own sake, culture of suspicion or even censorship in cultural creation cannot be a solution.

Hanno Rauterberg is an art critic and deputy column head of the weekly newspaper DIE ZEIT. Under the title “How free is art? The new culture war and the crisis of liberalism ”wrote Rauterberg about the most important art debate in a long time, which reveals a lot about the crisis of liberalism and the new taboos of a changing society.

Stefanie Carp is the director of the Ruhrtriennale and experienced a public storm of outrage in the summer of 2018 after it became known that the band "Young Fathers", which she had invited, was committed to a boycott of Israel together with the "BDS" movement.

Lukas Bärfuss is the author and regular host of the “Zurich Conversations”.

More Zurich talks ...

... with David Chipperfield and Lukas Bärfuss on March 19th

Architecture in the field of tension between local impact and international charisma

... with Ulrike Guérot and Lukas Bärfuss on May 14th

Discussion about the controversial vision of a European republic

Pop-up magazine on May 22nd

Between virtual reality and deep fake - the experimental live show!

A second panel on “How free is art?” Will take place in April on the occasion of the production “The engagement in St. Domingo”.

> To the overview of the Zurich Talks


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