Art as Gift was an Art and Theory Reading Group project that ran from January to May 2017. The aim of the Art as Gift project was to examine the idea that we experience works of art, in terms of presence – as something given, i.e. as gifts. Two principle theorisations of the gift informed discussions:
- The gift as part of a process of exchange, as set out by the anthropologist Marcel Mauss in: The Gift (1950).
- The impossibility of the gift, as set out by Derrida in his book: Given Time: 1. Counterfeit Money (1991).
Derrida’s text was the main focus of the group’s discussions, for a short overview of Derrida on the gift click here (external site).
Information from the start of the project
The reading group will, over four meetings, employ discussion, exposition and reading to clarify the relationship between the gift and art. Each meeting, led by Derek Hampson, will be informed by a short text, given out in advance. To support the meetings Derek Hampson will publish a series of detailed notes on each chapter of Given Time as a series of blog posts, on this website.
[These blogs are now online, click here to read from the beginning]
Art as Gift will culminate in a public presentation, informed by the thinking developed within the group. Reading group meetings will be held at Wollaton Street Studios, 179 Wollaton Street, Nottingham, NG1 5GE, starting @ 6pm.
Reading Group 1 – January 26
Introductory presentation by Derek Hampson, then discussion
Text: ‘The Time of the King’ in Given Time (1).
Reading Group 2 – February 23
This meeting will focus on reading and discussing chapter 2 of Given Time: The Madness of Economic Reason: A Gift without Present (34-70). Suggested themes for discussion will be posted on this website.
Reading Group 3 – March 30
This meeting will focus on reading and discussing chapter 3 of Given Time: “Counterfeit Money’ 1: Poetics of Tobacco” (71-107). Suggested themes for discussion will be posted on this website.
Reading Group 4 – April 27
Final meeting, dedicated to reading chapter 4 of Given Time: “Counterfeit Money” II:Gift and Countergift, Excuse and Forgiveness (108-172). Suggested themes for discussion will be posted on this website.
Art as Gift Symposium – May 13
11:00am at the Lace Market Gallery, Stoney Street, Nottingham. The artist and critic Peter Suchin (Art Monthly) will address the question: “What is Given in Marcel Duchamp’s Given?”