Thesis Info

Thesis Title
La médiation de l'art contemporain
Sylvie Lacerte
2nd Author
3rd Author
Number of Pages
Université du Québec à Montréal
Thesis Supervisor
Raymond Montpetit
Supervisor e-mail
Other Supervisor(s)
Louise Poissant
Language(s) of Thesis
Department / Discipline
Études et pratiques des arts (Art Theory and Practices)
Languages Familiar to Author
French, English and a bit of Spanish
URL where full thesis can be found
Mediation, contemporary art
Abstract: 200-500 words
Through an historical survey, we explore the establishment of the museum from the Renaissance's cabinets of curiosities to the museological institutions (virtual, global and «traditional») and international events of the postindustrial and technological era, with a stopover point during the Enlightenment,which saw the creation of the modern museum.This dissertation assesses how the access to art, but more specifically the access to the meaning of art has been marked with an aura of mystery if not of secrecy, since the very inception of the seminal institution. This problematic relationship between art and its viewers persists to this day so much so that it fuels, on the one hand, passions from the neophyte publics that consider themselves put aside («mis à l'écart» Cauquelin 1992) from art forms they reject (or are indifferent to), and on the other hand, anxiety from those who belong to the «art worlds» and that hold the reins of power granted by the keys that unsfasten the codes of knowledge. This interdisciplinary research encompasses theory and practice by delving into the various corpuses of disciplines such as those included in the humanities, the social sciences, as well as philosophy, esthetics, ethics and theories inspired by the advent of new media and technologies. Empirical observations, in venues devoted to the training and the education of artists and curatorial practioners (cultural mediators), and those dedicated to the presentation of art (in all its forms), have allowed us to circumscribe the complexity of the institutional, discursive, commercial,esthetic, ethical, technological and political issues at stake, in what constitutes the international contemporary art network and of the numerous crises that have shaken its recent history, as well as to study the workings of art mediation in different settings. The metaphor of the cabinets of curiosities embodies our «migratory concept» (concept migratoire in French)that crosses the dissertation from beginning to end. This figure becomes the guiding thread, the revealing factor so to speak, of the difficulties encountered throughout history, in establishing a link between art and the public. The concept of mediation is approached by means of several definitions that help us articulate this hopeful relationship. Various examples of contemporary art mediation are exposed all through the dissertation, from observational residencies carried out at the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal, the Maine College of Art, in Portland Me, the Centre national d'art contemporain Le Magasin in Grenoble, France, and at the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York City. These cases in point gleaned during the research process, have permitted to illustrate why some of the mediation mechanisms, favored by those institutions, have succeded or failed. Qualitative interviews were conducted during and outside the residencies with numerous actors from of the art scene in order to complete the empirical data. Moreover, a «grille d'analyse» was developed following an innumerable amount of visits and explorations, in museums or on the web, to evaluate the quality of the art mediation endorsed by these venues. At the end of the research, means to encourage a significant and durable relationship, through a heuristic approach, between art and the various publics are submitted to the reader. Sylvie Lacerte, Ph.D. (April 2004) Translated from the French by Sylvie Lacerte, March 7, 2005