Contemporary Art, Artists and Research: Definitions, Histories, Methods, Implications, Issues

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A 60 minute presentation/workshop/discussion focusing on the broad question of art, artists and research in recent and contemporary art. Briefly, I have been writing about and teaching courses on the subject of art and research – which I also call aesthetic research - for over a decade. I explore questions ranging from the types of research by artists and arts research in relation to scientific and technological research and research in the humanities and social sciences. My concerns focus, variously, on the artist as researcher; methods and approaches to research by artists; the value and uses of artists’ research in education; artistic research and funding; art, research and knowledge.

After a brief presentation of currents in the field of artists’ research I would provide handouts outlining questions, issues and examples of aesthetic research in different contexts (see below). Attendees will be asked to critique, define, characterize, and assess artistic research and help to generate further inquiries into the topic.

Some of the questions that will guide the session include:

1) What is artistic or aesthetic research and how does it relate to forms of research in the sciences, humanities, and other areas?

3) What can be said of histories and changes in research in the arts (e.g., dance, theatre, performance research or social or technological research, etc.)

2) What can be said about research conducted by artists for work that addresses social and cultural change? Can it have practical or political value?

3) How should artists’ research be considered, evaluated, curated, funded?

4) What is the relationship between art, research and knowledge?

5) Should research by artists be formalized in given areas? Could it be considered as a genre? What are the implications?

6) Does the presence of new technology drive new areas of research in the arts?


Keywords: Arts Research, Aesthetic Research, Art and Knowledge, Contemporary Arts Practice, New Genres
Stream: Arts Theory and Criticism
Presentation Type: Virtual Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


Arthur Sabatini

Associate Professor of Performance Studies, Interdisciplinary Arts and Performance, Arizona State University
Phoenix, Arizona, USA

Arthur J. Sabatini is an Associate Professor of Performance Studies in the Interdisciplinary Arts and Performance Department at Arizona State University. Dr. Sabatini holds a PhD from the Department of Performance Studies, New York University. Courses in his areas of specialization include: Verbal Art and Performance, The Avant-Garde and Experimental Art, 20t/21st Century Theory and Aesthetic Research. Dr. Sabatini has published extensively on the new music, performance, arts research and theater. He has written on John Cage, Robert Ashley, Armand Schwerner and others. His current work focuses on art and epistemology and how contemporary artists pursue research. Relevant papers include: “Approaching knowledge, research, performance, and the arts” Mapping Landscapes in Performance as Research: Scholarly Acts and Creative Cartographies. UK: Palgrave, 2009. (forthcoming); and “Avital Ronell's The Test Drive and Performance" MOFA (2007) http://arts2.tau.ac.il/mofa/article.php?id=162 For more information, his webpage is: http://www.public.asu.edu/~ieajs/Welcome.html

Ref: A09P0512