Art and Society describes an interdisciplinary field of research on art and its social relations. It foregrounds public-discursive, academic-reflexive, linguistic-communicative, and aesthetic issues as well as questions of the social expectations of art in the context of exhibitions. The department is particularly dedicated to those aesthetics as well as curatorial and artistic processes that reflect social fractures and continuities. It takes a look at theoretical paradigms and their associated cultural production within their socio-historical and epistemic contexts, calling into question established canons that attest to the processes of negotiating past and present, institutions and politics, societies and knowledge.
Using the means of aesthetic forms, formats, and practices, the relationships between culture as identification and culture as a process of global interdependence are to be examined. Alongside the documenta archiv, the world art exhibitions, and their respective processes of reception, circulation, and production, the focus will equally be on theory formation and the associated terms and concepts of global and local art debates. The department is concretely concerned with the role of art in calling for human rights, as well as generally with the 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, theory and history of the contemporary and the modern in their global scope, and aesthetic ecologies in art and literature.
The Professorship for Art and Society at the University of Kassel entails a secondary membership at the Kunsthochschule Kassel.