Dissertation Abstracts

Art and Public Sphere: the Artist, the Artwork, the Audience, and the Practice of Alternative Venues of Art Display in Post-communist Poland

Author: Grigar, Ewa , egrigar@yahoo.com
Department: Sociology
University: The New School for Social Research, USA
Supervisor: Vera L. Zolberg
Year of completion: 2013
Language of dissertation: English

Keywords: sociology of art , public sphere , Poland , audience
Areas of Research: Arts , Political Sociology , Communication, Knowledge and Culture


My dissertation research examines strategies deployed by Polish contemporary artists who exhibit their works in public spaces, such as: commercial billboards, private apartments converted into temporary exhibition spaces, public announcement boards and window displays. The need for such spaces – existing public spaces and “publicized” private spaces consciously used as spaces for dialogue between both artists and the public – escalated after the fall of communism in 1989, and especially in the mid 1990s when many artworks became subjected to governmental censorship. I look in-depth into the diverse visual art media used in executing various artistic projects to determine their success or failure in evoking a public dialogue. Additionally, I focus my analysis on the role of the artist, the artwork, and the audience in creating a certain form of public dialogue which can evoke changes in the socio-political landscape of the country. Thus, the act of creating alternative art spaces is a step forward towards establishing true democracy in contemporary Polish art.

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