(DE)GROWTH OF THE 21ST CENTURY
The 2017 Verbier Art Summit was organised in partnership with Beatrix Ruf and her curatorial team at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, the Netherlands. It included influential keynote speakers, such as the architect Rem Koolhaas, the artist Tino Sehgal, HRH Prince Constantijn of the Netherlands, Professor Benjamin Bratton (Professor of Visual Arts at the University of California, San Diego) and philosopher Cissie Fu (Emily Carr University, Vancouver).
The theme of the Summit was curated has been chosen by Beatrix Ruf and was based on her personal experiences with the transformations of institutes she has worked for and their corresponding increase in scale. It addressed issues that every museum is faced with, struggles with, reflects on how to address, and considers in a self-critical way. The Summit was structured around the following set of questions:
• What does ‘Size Matters!’ mean in your field at this moment?
• What helps you think about expansion?
• What is the future of growth in your field?
• What is the function of institutions in the future?
Rather than aiming for conclusions, speakers and participants explored such questions from their own experiences, research, professional practices and institutional contexts. The conclusion of the 2017 Summit is well described by artist Robert Smithson: “Size determines an object, but scale determines art.” Rather than size, it seems that scale is the more powerful concept and experience given its flexible and relational properties. Technological possibilities return us to André Malraux’s Le Musée imaginaire, or museum without walls whose scale and indeed size can offer a museum as city, but so too one that operates with and on the scale of the world and word. The art it might disseminate through technological images, but also images of new technologies, will both lend form to new sentiments and generate new feeling.
This book is the outcome of the 2017 Verbier Art Summit, organised in cooperation with Beatrix Ruf and the curatorial team at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. By transforming the Summit into a publication, the global dialogue continues.