The talk on December 19 took as its point of departure the following passage by Paris art-theoretician Jean-Claude Moineau
"Contrary to what modernity had led us to think, the real enemy of art is neither life, nor the modern world, nor mass-media culture — these hypothetical outside enemies. The enemy of art is art itself, and not just in the sense that art would aspire to its own end.
What modernity sought is less an artistic painting than a pictural painting (...) less an artistic sculpture than a sculptural sculpture which was, actually, quite tinted by picturality (...) not an artistic photography (which the post-modernist Rosalind Krauss continued to reject) but a purely photographic photography that nonetheless aped pictural painting.
Art is that which escapes any assigned limits — be these from without or within, from art or from an artist — to art (limits assigned as much on the term 'art' as via the term 'art'). Art is that which inhibits and transgresses modernist autonomy and that’s the reason, surely, that modernity has, definitely, rejected art. Because it is indeed modernity which has, definitely, rejected art (while mutating the term 'art' itself). When you get down to it, even more than the avant-garde: it has rejected the term art because it was too impure (because it mixed different arts) just as it rejected certain arts (theater, cinema), viewed as impure in their essence, or because of their lack of essence.
'Artless art' is that which interrupts (if only provisionally) artistic judgment."
Jean-Claude Moineau, L’art contre l’art?, 1996
complete text by Jean-Claude Moineau (in French)
An attempt was made to flesh out this thesis, considering not only historical avant-garde figures (Alexander Rodchenko, Karel Teige) but also protagonist of the '60s-70s (Henry Flynt), '80s (Lorraine O'Grady), and of the last decade who, quite unlike the "institutional critique" artists championed by certain faculty members of the University of Lueneburg (among others), actually hit a raw nerve in the institutional art scene with what they do.
Also recent Hamburg events, such as the 'Kunstverein éclat of 2005' and the recent refusal of six artists' collectives to participate in the 'subvision' festival (2009) was examined in light of Moineau's thesis.
The talk wound down with music from Henry Flynt's first record, 'I don't wanna' (1966).