From "Sustaining Democracy" to the State of the Civic

Friday 17 May, 2013
10am - 5:30pm, $0

New School, Kaplan Hall
66 West 12 Street, Tishman Auditorium

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On its twentieth anniversary, the Vera List Center for Art and Politics at The New School presents From “Sustaining Democracy” to the State of the Civic, a daylong series of panels exploring the unique role art plays at the intersection of politics and civic life. Panels will draw on an international group of artists, activists, and scholars, including Kwame Anthony Appiah, Princeton; Simon Critchley, The New School; Wendy T. EwaldDavid Joselit, Yale; Julie MehretuKobena Mercer, Yale; Helen Molesworth, ICA Boston; Martha Rosler; and Nato Thompson, Creative Time.

While the last twenty years have been marked by an interest in the convergence of art and politics, the current moment is marked by the construction of new systems and networks for imagining, discussing, and ultimately creating new cultural and political realities. In the wake of upheaval and creativity, generated by the Arab Spring and Occupy movements, this phenomenon has been referred to as the return of the civic. This contemporary shift directly affects how artists consider their practice today, for whom they make their work, and how they relate to society at large.  

The conference is organized as a series of roundtable call-and-responses from some of the most astute and insightful individuals analyzing these issues today. The aim of this conference, as with all of the center’s programs, is to take a critical look at relationships between art, politics, and civic engagement in relation to their representation, their own histories, and the present moment.


10:15–11:45 a.m. 
Call & Response I: Art and Activism
Wendy T. Ewald, photographer, 2000 Vera List Center Fellow, New York; Andrea Geyer, artist, 2006–07 Vera List Center Fellow, New York; Robert Sember, artist, 2009–11 Vera List Center Fellow, New York; David Scobey, Executive Dean, The New School for Public Engagement, New York. Moderated by Nato Thompson, Chief Curator, Creative Time, Vera List Center Advisory Committee member, New York. 

12:00–1:30 p.m.
Call & Response II: Identity Politics Revisited
Kwame Anthony Appiah, Laurance S. Rockefeller University Professor of Philosophy, Princeton University; Firelei Baez, artist, New York; Kobena Mercer, Professor, Art History, Yale University, 1999 Vera List Center Fellow; Helen Molesworth, Barbara Lee Chief Curator, ICA Boston. Moderated by Jens Hoffman, Deputy Director and Head of Exhibitions and Public Programs, The Jewish Museum, New York. 

1:30–2:30 p.m.
Interlude by artist Reena Katz

2:30–4:00 p.m.
Call & Response III: The Political Aesthetic

Simon Critchley, Professor of Philosophy, The New School; Julie Mehretu, artist, New York; Joao Ribas, Curator, MIT List Center; Martha Rosler, artist, Vera List Center Advisory Committee member, New York. Moderated by David Joselit, Professor, Art History, Yale University. 

4:15–5:30 p.m.
Call & Response IV: The People’s Panel

The People's Panel has been curated in collaboration with Paul Chan, artist, New York. Participants to be announced. 

5:30–6:30 p.m.

Vera List Courtyard 

For more details, visit the event page on the Vera List Center website.

From “Sustaining Democracy” to the State of the Civic: 20 Years of the Vera List Center for Art and Politics has been curated and organized by Carin Kuoni, Director and Curator of the Vera List Center, with Curatorial Associate Chelsea Haines. The conference has been made possible, in part, by the support of the Vera List Center Advisory Committee, in particular Frances Beatty and Allen Adler.

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