Art and Society describes an interdisciplinary field of research on art and its social relations. It foregrounds various approaches to contemporary art-public-discursive, academic-reflexive, linguistic-communicative, and aesthetic as well as questions of the social expectations of art in the context of exhibitions. The department is particularly dedicated to those aesthetic practices, as well as curatorial and artistic processes, that reflect social ruptures and continuities. It examines theoretical paradigms and the associated cultural production within their socio-historical and epistemic contexts, calling into question established canons that attest to processes of negotiating the past and present, institutions and politics, societies and knowledge.
Aesthetic forms, formats, and practices are the means by which to examine the relationships between culture as identification and culture as a process of global interdependence. Alongside the documenta archive, the world art exhibitions and their respective processes of reception, circulation, and production, the focus will be on theory formation and the associated terms and concepts of global and local art debates. Concretely, the department deals with the role of art in the demand for human rights, as well as generally with aesthetic dimensions of normative claims. This concerns, for instance, the relationship between art and law as well as art in resistance. Further focal points are the history of the documenta, the theory and history of the present and modernity and their globality, as well as aesthetic ecologies in art and literature.