New Art and New Arts of Government: Artistic Form and Authoritarian Liberalisms in the 1970s

Activity: Participating in or organising event(s)Organising a conference, workshop, exhibition, performance, inquiry, course etcResearch


At the outset of the 1970s, the onset of a global economic downturn, breakdown of the Bretton Woods system of fixed exchange rates, and rise of nationalisms among oil-producing Arab states, among other factors, produced a series of crises in the US-led postwar order and its mode of governmentality. The decade erupted into what Grégoire Chamayou, drawing on Michel Foucault, has termed the ‘ungovernable society’ attacking colonial, racial, gendered, class-based, and other forms of domination. At the same time emerged a new mode of governmentality in the form of ‘authoritarian liberalism’, conjoining a strong repressive state and free market economy, evident to varying degrees in countries including Chile, Argentina, and the UK.

Artistic responses to the system shifts and intertwined crises of the 1970s have typically been narrated, from a Euro-American perspective, as a critique of the modernist object and a turn towards participatory, conceptual, performance-based, and other modes of ‘dematerialised’ practices. This panel endeavours to develop a more global view of geo-historically specific yet interconnected practices by asking how artistic form – and practices of form-making more broadly – responded to the crisis of governmentality and new techniques of authoritarian liberalism characterising the 1970s. It invited papers addressing this question through urban, regional, or network-based case studies, critically engaging frameworks including, but not limited to, world systems theory, historical sociology, and international relations in order to do so.
Period13 Apr 2023
Event typeConference
LocationLondonShow on map