Art & Social Justice Working Group
Vera List Center for Art and Politics

Art Commission

A USEFUL OBJECT / A USELESS OBJECT

Gordon Hall

2015

Inspired by discussions of art and activism, 'use' and 'uselessness' Gordon Hall looked to Felix Gonzalez-Torres. His signature candy spills place commonly available candy in continually replenished forms for audiences, totaling an 'ideal weight' representing a person or other context.

This poster series was commissioned by the Vera List Center for Art and Politics and A Blade of Grass in response to the fifth Art and Social Justice Working Group conflict - 'Do-Gooding' and Criticality.

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Gordon Hall is an artist based in New York. Hall has exhibited and performed at SculptureCenter, The Brooklyn Museum, The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Whitney Museum of American Art, Movement Research, EMPAC,  Night Club in Chicago, Kent Fine Art, Foxy Production, The Hessel Museum at Bard College, White Columns, and at Chapter NY, among others. Hall has also organized programs at MoMA PS1, Recess, The Shandaken Project, Alderman Exhibitions, and at the Whitney Museum of American Art, producing a series of lectures and seminars in conjunction with the 2014 Whitney Biennial. Hall's writing and interviews have been featured in a variety of publications including V Magazine, Randy, Bomb, Title Magazine, What About Power? Inquiries Into Contemporary Sculpture (published by SculptureCenter) and in Theorizing Visual Studies (Routledge, 2012). Hall was awarded a Triangle Arts Foundation Residency in 2015, the LMCC Workspace Residency for 2013-14, attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 2013, and the Fire Island Artist Residency in 2012. Hall holds an MFA and an MA in Visual and Critical Studies from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Gordon Hall, A USEFUL OBJECT / A USELESS OBJECT, free color poster (front and back), 11" x 17" 2015
Back

Welcome to the Art & Social Justice Working Group.

ABOUT THE PROJECT

The purpose of the Art + Social Justice Working Group is to examine core conflicts that propel, enrich, and complicate artistic efforts that assume agency to enact social change. In this examination the group expects to foster clarity around both terminology and effective artistic and curatorial practice.

This site is home to the developing dialogue of glossary terms for describing this work and strategies for enacting it.





Core Conflicts

The ASJWG is organized around conflicts central to current conversations and practice in socially and politically engaged art. The six initial conflicts include: Accountability: Artist, Curator, Institution, Funder; Authorship, Collective and Other; Audience, Participation, Spectatorship, Modes of Address; Aesthetics and Usefulness; Local and Global, Specific and General; and Now and Forever: Do Gooding, Criticality, Oppositional.


Case Study

Each conflict is grounded in a case study to provide context about a specific project and artist's practice. For example, the first conflict Accountability: Artist, Curator, Institution, Funder begins with Thomas Hirshhorn's Gramsci Monument as a case study to launch a larger dialogue.


Readings

Writing from artists, scholars, community members, curators, and others augment conversation about each conflict. You are encouraged to add your own favorites to further the conversation.


Glossary Terms

These key terms and concepts evolve out of the conflict and case study. There is no single official definition, rather many perspectives are aggregated here about each glossary term to develop a complex understanding.


Strategy

Following a similar format to the glossary, effective strategies for enacting this work in artistic and curatorial practice are aggregated from many individuals. Together they create a series of suggestions, guidelines, and warnings for all participants in this work.

Your comments, fresh perspectives, and contributions of new strategies and glossary terms are welcome and needed to advance this field and support our work.


Commissioned Artwork

Artists were commissioned to attend the initial six conflict meetings and develop new artwork in response to the ideas and perspective shared. Artists include: Liz Slagus and Norene Leddy, Laura Chipley, Fran Illich, and Nobu Aozaki.


Core Group Members

Thomas Anesta
Sascia Bailer
Beka Economopoulos
Deborah Fisher
Elizabeth Grady
Gordon Hall
Larissa Harris
Kemi Ilesanmi
Jason Jones
Kim Katatani
Grant Kester
Pam Korza
Carin Kuoni
Cynthia Lawson
Laura Raicovich
Paul Ramírez Jonas
Yasmil Raymond
Prerana Reddy
Christopher Robbins
Barbara Schaffer Bacon
Robert Sember
Greg Sholette
Radhika Subramaniam
Johanna Taylor
Niels Van Tomme
Christian Viveros-Fauné
Jennifer Wilson

Plus additional guest participants.

The Art + Social Justice Working Group is launched by the Vera List Center for Art and Politics at The New School and A Blade of Grass, with support from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. The Vera List Center and A Blade of Grass are both dedicated to supporting individuals in pursuit of the intersection of art and social justice, and to developing related programs and scholarship.

Questions? Comments? Contact vlc@newschool.edu.
1. What would you like to contribute?
2. To which conflict does this pertain?
3. What is the definition?
3. What is the link to the reading?
4. Who are you? (We promise we won't share your information.)
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