The Fear of Art

Conference Thu 12 Feb 2015 12.00PM - Fri 13 Feb 2015 6.00PM The New School, 12th Street Auditorium
66 West 12th Street
New York City
Free Admission, Please reserve a ticket here.
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The Center for Public Scholarship is pleased to present the 32nd Social Research conference, "The Fear of Art," on Thursday and Friday, February 12 and 13, 2015, at The New School.
Keynote by Ai Weiwei, via video commissioned for the conference, entitled "Censorship of Artists: Artists in Prison, Artists in Exile."

Feedom of expression remains under threat in both totalitarian and democratic states. Artists continue to be imprisoned and exiled and art continues to be banned and destroyed, all of which gives evidence of the power of images to unsettle, to speak truth to power, to question cherished cultural norms and what is held "sacred."

The conference examines how art can threaten, terrify, and provoke the wrath of political, religious, and cultural regimes. Speakers examine the history of art censorship, the role of artists as collaborators and rebels, and the self-censorship of gallery and museum directors. The agenda also pairs artists and scholars to discuss activist art, the threat posed by art, the potency of art, artists at risk, and artists in exile. Museum and gallery directors discuss the role of self-censorship.

The conference is co-sponsored by the Vera List Center for Art and Politics, PEN American Center, and the India China Institute at The New School. The conference is made possible with generous support from Agnes Gund, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Larry Warsh, the Ford Foundation, and ArteEast.
    • Attack on Charlie Hebdo: "Fear of Art" Enacted
    • Reflections on Art Censorship and Banning
    • Activist Art
    • The Potency of Art
    • Keynote: Ai Weiwei - The Censorship of Artists: Artists in Prison, Artists in Exile
    • Artists at Risk/Artists in Exile
    • Censorship and Self-Exile
    • Who Does the Policing? What is the Role of Self-Censorship?
Thursday, February 12th

Session 1: Attack on Charlie Hebdo: "Fear of Art" Enacted
10:00–11:30 a.m.

Ben Katchor, Associate Professor at Parsons, The New School for Design; contributes picture-stories to Metropolis magazine; author, Hand-Drying in America and other stories (2013)
Nikahang Kowsar, Iranian-Canadian cartoonist, journalist, and blogger
Alexandra Zsigmond, Deputy Art Director for the Opinion Section, the New York Times
(Additional panelists will be announced soon.)
Moderator: Victor S. Navasky, editor, publisher, and publisher emeritus of The Nation; George Delacorte Professor of Magazine Journalism; Director of Delacorte Center of Magazines; Chair of the Columbia Journalism Review, Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism; author, The Art of Controversy: Political Cartoons and Their Evolutionary Power (2013)

Session 2: Reflections on Art Censorship and Banning
12:00 –2:00 p.m.

"Degenerate Art" in Nazi Germany
Olaf Peters, Professor of Modern Art History and Art Theory, Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg; curator, "Degenerate Art: The Attack on Modern Art in Nazi Germany, 1937," The Neue Galerie, New York, March 13–June 30, 2014

Artist as Collaborator with Totalitarian Regimes
Emily Braun, Distinguished Professor, Director of the Art History Program, Deputy Chair of the Department of Art and Art History, Hunter College and the Graduate Center

Banning, Censorship, Defamation, and Destruction
David Freedberg, Pierre Matisse Professor of the History of Art and Director of the Italian Academy for Advanced Studies in America, Columbia University

Moderator: Agnes Gund, philanthropist, art patron, and collector; founding trustee, Agnes Gund Foundation; President Emerita, Museum of Modern Art (MoMA); Chairman, MoMA PS1

Session 3: Activist Art
2:15-3:45 p.m.

Ricardo Dominguez, artist, co-founder, the Electronic Disturbance Theater (EDT); Associate Professor of Visual Arts, University of California San Diego
Stephen Duncombe, Associate Professor, Gallatin School of Individualized Study, New York University; co-founder, School for Creative Activism; Co-director, Center for Artistic Activism
Moderator: Suzanne Nossel, Executive Director, PEN American Center

Session 4: The Potency of Art
4:00-5:30 p.m.

Holland Cotter, Pulitzer Prize-winning art critic, the New York Times
Paul Chan, artist
Moderator: Carin Kuoni, Director/Curator, Vera List Center for Art and Politics, The New School

Session 5: Ai Weiwei, "Censorship of Artists: Artists in Prison, Artists in Exile"
6:00-7:30 p.m.

Ai Weiwei, Chinese contemporary artist and political activist
(via a video made for the conference funded by Agnes Gund and Larry Warsh)

Followed by a panel discussion with
Melissa Chiu, Director, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.
Ethan Cohen, founder, Ethan Cohen Fine Arts, specializing in Chinese contemporary art
Minky Worden, Director of Global Initiatives, Human Rights Watch

Friday, February 13, 2015

Tour of Site-Specific Works from the New School Art Collection
10:30–11:30 a.m.

Begins in the Orozco Room at 66 West 12th Street, 7th floor
Works include José Clemente Orozco's historic 1931 New School mural cycle, "A Call to Revolution and Table of Universal Brotherhood" as well as other installations throughout the university's public spaces by Camilo Egas, Alfredo Jaar, Sol LeWitt, Dave Muller, Martin Puryear, Michael van Valkenburgh, Brian Tolle, and Kara Walker.
Silvia Rocciolo, Curator, The New School Art Collection

Session 6: Artists at Risk/Artists in Exile
11:30-1:00 p.m.

Chaw Ei Thein, Burmese multimedia artist
Naila Al Atrash, Syrian director, human rights activist
Moderator: TBA

Session 7: Censorship and Self-Exile
2:00-3:30 p.m.

Shirin Neshat, Iranian visual artist and filmmaker
Jack Persekian, Director and Head Curator, The Palestine Museum; former Director, Sharjah Art Foundation
Moderator: László Jakab Orsós, World Voices Festival and Public Programs Director, PEN America

Session 8: Who Does the Policing? What Is the Role of Self-Censorship?
4:00-6:00 p.m.

Jeffrey Deitch, American art dealer and curator; director of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (MoCA), 2010 - 2013
Boris Groys, Global Distinguished Professor of Russian and Slavic Studies, Department of Russian and Slavic Studies, New York University
Jack Persekian, Director and Head Curator, The Palestine Museum; former Director, Sharjah Art Foundation
Lisa Phillips, Director, The New Museum
Moderator: Svetlana Mintcheva, Director of Programs, National Coalition Against Censorship; co-editor, Censoring Culture: Contemporary Threats to Free Expression (The New Press, 2006)

Click here for bios and registration.