Art of Welfare Conference

 Type:Culture, Contemporary Art
 Location:England, London

In conjunction with the exhibition ‘The Welfare Show’ at Serpentine Gallery, a conference will take place on 27 January at the Goethe Institute, London, to look at some of the issues addressed in the displayed artwork.

The artists Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset have collaborated since 1995 on the production of ’powerless structures’ - i.e. sculptural installations that perform institutional critique in relation to sexual and other political identities.

'The Welfare Show' initiated by Bergen Kunsthall, Norway and produced in collaboration between Bergen Kunsthall; Bawag Foundation, Vienna; The Power Plant, Toronto and Serpentine Gallery addresses aspects of welfare society, as implemented in the Scandinavian model of a democratic society. This model, engineered and marketed in the 1950s, has steadily deteriorated since the 1970s in response to a globalised economy. ”Art of Welfare” is a one-day conference, in tandem with the opening of 'The Welfare Show', that  will explore artistic and political aspects of the exhibition.


  • Marta Kuzma - Office for Contemporary Art Norway: Introduction
  • Solveig Øvstebø - Bergen Kunsthall, Bergen: The Welfare Show
  • Peter Osborne - Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy, Middlesex University, London:  The Politics of Content and Politics as Form
  • Thomas Hylland Eriksen - Department of Sociology, University of Oslo: Outsourcing the Welfare State
  • Victor D Norman - Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration, Bergen: Crumbling from Within? The Microfoundations of Welfare States
  • Claire Bishop - Curating Contemporary Art Department, Royal College of Art, London: Participation and Social Conscience
  • Andrew Benjamin - Faculty of Design, Architecture and Building, University of Technology, Sydney, Australia: Safety as Density
  • Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset - Artists: Panel Discussion

Art of Welfare is supported by the Office for Contemporary Art Norway and organised by OCA in cooperation with The Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy, Middlesex University, London and the Serpentine Gallery, London. Supported by the Serpentine Gallery, The Royal Norwegian Embassy in London, Goethe Institute Inter Nationes and British Council, Norway.

Entrance fee is £5. Tickets can be bought at TicketWeb 08700 600 100 / or from the Serpentine Gallery lobby.

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Michael Elmgreen & Ingar Dragset The Welfare Show 2005 Aluminium, neon light 57 x 449 cmPhoto: © 2005 Elmgreen & Dragset Photo © Arne Skaug Olsen