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Eitelberger von Edelsberg. Netzwerker der Kunstwelt

28 October 2020

Vienna, MAK 22 October 2019

On the occasion of the book launch of Rudolf Eitelberger von Edelsberg. Netzwerker der Kunstwelt (Wien, Köln, Weimar 2019).

Kitty Zijlmans, Leiden University Centre for the Arts in Society, Universität Leiden (NL)

Copyright © 2019 Kitty Zijlmans All rights reserved.

Against mediocrity. Lessons from Eitelberger: Weaving theory, practice and presentation into the cultural and political fabric of society

It is clichéd to say that someone is ahead of his time, but in the case of Eitelberger it doesn’t seem like an exaggeration. He most certainly had visionary ideas regarding the role of art, art theory and art education in both theory and practice within contemporary society. What was originally centred around this one individual is now a thriving field of countless scholars in as many departments and fields of expertise. Moreover, he had a broad cultural-political vision. In Eitelberger’s time, art history had not yet been defined but was a field open to all possibilities. Looking back, a mere 150 years later, what has become of art history? Do we still have dreams to build a discipline that can make a difference in the world? To be consequential? In combination with art schools or as a separate discipline, art history has taken root almost everywhere in the world in one way or another. Art is everywhere, museums are thriving, cultural heritage is high on the agenda, archaeology has become a vast field adjacent to art history and material culture studies, and technical art history continues to grow in importance. But there is more, art history is needed for sense making. In our overgrown neo-liberal societies, we need the humanities/art history more than ever. Let us follow, then, in Eitelberger’s footsteps and dream a
committed art history. Full text of presentation.

Click here for Open Access copy of this book.

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