Through the lens of the history of Maumaus School of Visual Arts, an art institution in Lisbon dedicated to education, curation, and production, my aim is to come to a greater understanding of how the notion of art and arts education—with its inherent criticisms—has shifted over the last twenty-five years. My research aims to assess the extent to which Maumaus as an institution has been able to counteract the normative structures of an increasingly entrepreneurial art world. A larger, underlying aim is to explore to what extent the history of Maumaus can be considered to mirror developments in the wider art world from the 1990s onwards. The project explores whether Maumaus has been able to provide an alternative to an increasingly accelerated world of “cultural industries,” or whether it might paradoxically be understood as an institution that has enabled the systems it opposes. I take into account the specific socioeconomic and political circumstances under which Maumaus has been able to flourish, and what such circumstances—encountered and recognised or consciously created—have both enabled and disabled in turn. The PhD is based on the development of a reflexive analytical approach with the aim to come to an in-depth understanding of today’s phenomena within what seems to be an increasingly professionalised art world that functions under dictates of performance and productivity based on instrumentalised modes of enquiry and experimentation.
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