Protocols of inclusion and exclusion operate at many different levels in the art world and, more broadly, in the knowledge economy. The politics that regulate access to the cultural system, its centres of knowledge production and spaces of value and wealth distribution are mostly unwritten: they are active in the realm where reputation is a coveted currency and the social pressure to be “nice” becomes a strategy for survival. On this slippery slope, the specific occurrence of “blacklisting”, based upon institutional policies, governmental undertaking or merely personal gossip-based recommendations, is a case study worthy of discussion. Every time a blacklist is leaked, it opens up a hole in the fence that divides what can be said from what cannot, revealing the fine line between personal opinion and formalised abuse of power. This opens up the question of which strategies could be developed to fend for autonomy when working in a social realm in which the practice of censorship, self-censorship and the praise of outspokenness co-exist? In addition, which modes of self-expression and ethically-approved critique can be employed as navigational tools for cultural professionals working within new and unfamiliar contexts?

Case Study: The Bucharest Biennale Blacklist (2014)

The case study of the Bucharest Biennale (BB6) blacklist, which was leaked in 2014, was used as a point of departure for the panel of The Art Blacklist, the heart of the first day of Why is Everybody Being So Nice? The appointed curator of the Bucharest Biennale, Nicolaus Schafhausen, received an email from the organisation with a list of artists, spaces, curators and academics that he was advised not to collaborate with for the biennale. What differences and similarities can we draw from a particularly circumscribed event in the art world like the BB6 case and other wider and recent government-related occurrences of blacklisting? Other examples to be touched upon were the case of South Korean Cultural Minister’s arrest over a blacklist of nearly 10,000 cultural practitioners – who were disadvantaged of cultural subsidies for voicing criticism of impeached President Park Geun-Hye, or the instances of artists who were recently denied entry to the United Arab Emirates.

Panel Discussion – The Art Blacklist
Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Introduced by De Appel Curatorial Programme 
With Gergő Horváth, Charlotte Van Buylaere, Apparatus 22 (Dragos Olea), Binna Choi, Jan Verwoert
Moderated by Nat Muller

Why Is Everybody Being So Nice? Day 1: The Art Blacklist - Panel Discussion from De Appel on Vimeo .