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

Art Commission

Projects A-E: Celebrating the Art + Social Justice Working Group

June 4, 2016, 12-4pm

The Vera List Center for Art and Politics at The New School co-hosts an afternoon of projects commissioned in response to the Art and Social Justice Working Group. Visual artist Jeanne van Heeswijk, who creates contexts for interaction in public spaces, is our travel companion at the Bronx Museum leading our discussion of the work together. Attendees are invited to spend approximately twenty to thirty minutes with each project as van Heeswijk leads the conversation. The walkthrough culminates in a dialog that underscores the key issues we identify as a group, their impact on the communities and political contexts we're engaged in as well as their relationship to the expanded field recognized as artistic practice today.

The Art and Social Justice Working Group is an informal, fluctuating group of artists, curators and other arts practitioners. The group met periodically over the past 18 months to examine core conflicts that propel, enrich, and complicate artistic efforts that assume agency to enact social change. It was launched by the Vera List Center for Art and Politics and A Blade of Grass, organizations dedicated to supporting individuals in pursuit of the intersection of art and social justice through programs and scholarship. Participating artists were commissioned to develop artworks in response to the ideas and perspectives shared at working group gatherings.

Add your ideas and reflections on this topic to the working group's growing knowledge base online.

Timeline

12:00-12:30 Jeanne van Heeswijk, introductory remarks

12:30-2:30 Projects A-E Walkthrough

2:30-4:00 Culminating discussion led by Jeanne van Heeswijk with participating artists


Project A: Gabriela Ceja & Fran Ilich unites coffee and political discourse through the Diego de la Vega Coffee Co-op. The event also launches a new rebel coffee CSA in New York City.

Project B: Nobutaka Aozaki installs a horizontal city landscape made from found advertisements that reveals subtle arrangements in the social landscape, both the geographic composition of communities in the city.

Project C: The Rare Breed Collective invites children of all ages to touch, rearrange, demolish or rebuild a series of multimedia sculptures. Children four and under must be accompanied by their parents, five and older are welcome to participate on their own throughout the afternoon.

Project D: Gordon Hall offers a diptych of posters, free for the taking. Resonant of Felix Gonzalez-Torres' work, they raise the question of "usefulness" and "uselessness" and the risks entailed in assigning either quality to art.

Project E: Liz Slagus & Norene Leddy lead the SocialSocial, a discussion of social issues and socially engaged art open to all. The goal is to bring fresh perspectives to the SocialSocial, an ongoing series of discussions to model a format "for artists to work with people who actively engage with the public, but not in an art context, to bring a fresh perspective to socially engaged art." Conversations will be held at 12:30 and 1:30, to RSVP call or text (646) 543-8244 or email info@thesocialsocial.com.

Lunch and refreshments provided. Family friendly and accessible.

The Art and Social Justice Working Group was launched with support from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. This event is co-hosted by the Vera List Center for Art and Politics at The New School, A Blade of Grass, and the Bronx Museum of the Arts.

Laura Chipley / Rare Breed Collective, Generations (2015), video still. Courtesy of the artist.
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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