Seriality, Sociability, Silence. Hal Foster on art and lockdown

In 2020, lockdowns around the world have provided a plain illustration of “seriality”, a notion Sartre defined as a “plurality of isolations” characterizing modern societies. For this year’s final edition of Artforum, while U.S. art galleries and museums are still emptied of their visitors, art historian Hal Foster reminisces about the sociability once afforded by art and its institutions. Though reproducing class privileges, museums are also special spaces where different worlds, times and audiences intersect and socialize. Foster reminds of the “mnemotechny” of art and the necessity to extend it to different traditions and audiences. By giving priority to other mnemotechnies (such as anticolonialist and antiracist ones), art and its museums might point to a future that is called for in the present, namely “right now”.

Bild: Barbara Kruger, Untitled (We will no longer be seen and not heard), 1985, silk screen and lithography on paper, nine parts, each 20 3/4 × 20 5/8″.