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AICA Summer Meeting 2015 President’s Report


AICA Summer Meeting President’s Report, 18 June 2015

Camden Art Centre

Last year we had our Summer meeting during the opening of the Liverpool Biennial, kindly hosted by Bluecoat, where we held a panel discussion on the way critics work and on thematic shows. This year we celebrate Camden’s 50th anniversary and Jenni Lomax’s 25 years as Director. We warmly thank publishers Thames and Hudson for their kind sponsorship of the event. Under Lomax’s leadership Camden has been transformed in to one of the most beautiful gallery spaces in the country. Always much loved by artists, Camden is now a venue which offers a richer social and artistic experience for the local community as well as dedicated followers.

AICA Executive

The Executive has met three times since October (20 January, 3 March, 29 April ) to review new members applications and plan the programme. We are grateful to Ridinghouse and Peer for hosting us gratis and to the Lamb in Conduit Street where we held a very good Bar Aica on 3 March. About fourteen member joined us for a conversation about current exhibitions, fuelled by the Lamb’s hospitality. We would like to repeat this and welcome other members to join the core group. Our members continues to grow steadily and we urge members to actively seek applications from new candidates. Your Executive works to support AICA’s membership, please come forward if you would like to be co-opted to help with the programme.

Annual Lecture

Our fifth AICA Annual lecture was given by the New York Times art critic Roberta Smith at Tate Britain on 3 December. Roberta soon engaged a very responsive audience with her direct and frank account of her own practice as a newspaper critic over thirty years , addressing her relationship with artists, the importance of independence from the market and of critical integrity. She made an informal discussion both entertaining, subtle and thought provoking. It was disappointing that due to college scheduling problems a planned seminar with Roberta and students at the Royal College of Art could not take place. We are grateful to Tate and to the Head of Public Programmes, Nora Razian for hosting us over the last five years. There will be no Annual Lecture 2015 because AICA UK is hosting the AICA International Congress in October, details to follow.

AICA International

I write with two hats : AICAUK and AICA International. As Chair of the AICA Congress Commission 2014 much of my AICA time was taken up with the Congress in Korea to which AICAUK member Paul O’Kane contributed and wrote a report for the website . AICAUK is pleased to have been able to support Paul’s attendance with our first travel award. Our colleagues in AICA Korea must be congratulated on brilliant organization and for raising over $300,000 to host the Congress. The AICA International Award for a distinguished contribution to Art Criticism was awarded posthumously to the Korean critic Lee Yil. AICA’s Publications Commission, chaired by Jean-Marc Poinsot, is in discussion with the family of Lee Yil on an AICA anthology of Lee Yil’s writing. This would be the second in the series of AICA Publications of critics whose work is not widely available in English. Discussions are also ongoing to publish the work of the late Thomas Strauss who was awarded at the AICA Congress in Slovakia in 2013.

AICA International had a presence at the opening of the Venice Biennale where AICA Poland hosted a panel discussion at the Signum Foundation on the case of Central –Eastern Europe, in partnership with the Wroclaw Capital of Culture 2016 and the Zacheta National Gallery of Art.

AICA is actively expanding its representation in non western countries; a new section in Bangladesh will be on the agenda at the next General Assembly . Our relationship with China is developing ; at the March Council in Paris it was agreed that AICA International is formally associated with the major new International Awards for Art Criticism (IAAC) which grew from the John Moores Critics Prize China supported by AICA UK. The IAAC Board is Chaired by AICA International Honorary President Henry Meyric Hughes and the first edition judges included AICAUK Executive members JJCharlesworth and Rachel Withers .

In Korea, the President of AICA International , Marek Bartelik was re-elected for another term and I was elected Secretary General. Our immediate task was to put the AICA office on a firm footing with the appointment of a new Administrative Assistant to succeed Alma Saladin who left to work in New York in March this year. We are delighted that Florence Bequignon has joined us; she is trilingual in English, French and Spanish , AICA’s official languages and has already begun updating the office systems, working with a new accountant. The priorities are a streamlined subscription collection and an updated membership database. Alma Saladin continues to work on improving the AICA International website.

AICA : Archives de la critique d’art , Rennes

The Archives have secured funding for a three year research fellowship to document and analyse the archives of AICA International, of AICA France

and of the archives of individual art critics. This will open transnational and multidisciplinary perspectives on criticism and its wider socio-political context .

A presentation of the project will be given at the Annual AICA Congress in October.

AICA Congress 2015

The AICA Congress, planned to be hosted by Cuba in 2015, has been deferred to 2016; at the March Council is was agreed that AICAUK would host a smaller event. We are pleased that Culture+Conflict , the Royal College of Art will partner us in a one day symposium at the RCA on 27 October. An opening key note will be hosted by the Courtauld Institute on Monday 26th October. The Congress theme and outline schedule will be posted shortly on the website . We are delighted that the National Gallery will host delegates for a breakfast preview of the Goya Exhibition. The Congress will include a tour of East end galleries on 28 October and conclude with the General Assembly on Thursday 29th followed by the AICA Award and a closing reception.


Marjorie Allthorpe-Guyton