MACP faculty-at-large and artistic director of MAXXI Hou Hanru responds to challenges for art commun

"Looking Forward 2018: South Africa and the Mediterranean"

by Sean O'Toole, Hou Hanru, Barbara Casacecchia for Frieze

2018 promises to be a quieter art year than 2017, with some anxieties. There’s uncertainty across the world with Donald Trump’s presidency and Xi Jinping’s leadership: the possibility of a new Intifada with the relocation of the US embassy to Jerusalem and the shameful, ongoing expulsion of Beijing’s migrant workers due to ‘security problems’.

The art community cannot avoid the storm: a new wave of ‘corrections’ of male behaviour is underway. It’s certainly a healthy development, but could also result in a culture of fear. Along with the global increase in surveillance, the question is how not to throw out the baby with the bath water. Intellectual and pragmatic complexity and beauty should be preserved, while minds should continue to be open to the unknown. Art is privileged to operate in a space in which the real and the unreal combine; everyone should have a chance to try out things they don’t know.

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