Lecture and Book Launch
Mapping Community Arts: Subversion, Repressive
Tolerance and Pastoral Power
8 November 2011, 6.30 PM
79 Walker Street, New York, NY 10013
In recent years there has been increased attention to so-called ‘socially engaged art practices’. Equipped with a sense of urgency and intent, artists and curators develop work with the support of communities or groups to tackle political and social issues. While the success of these projects are not easily measurable, they often reiterate the role of artist/curator as protagonists of specific forms of social change, which posits a direct contrast to recent activism which carefully distances itself from any leader-based political organizational categories.
Pascal Gielen, co-editor of the recently published volume Community Art, will draw out a critical cartography of community art and will speak about the power and impotencies of this phenomenon. Since modernity, art and community, artist and social work have had an ambivalent relationship. Can art have a role in building communities? What is the political potency of forms of art that strive to integrate individuals and social groups?
In the book Community Art: The Politics of Trespassing (Paul De Bruyne, Pascal Gielen, eds.; Valiz, 2011) the Italian philosopher Antonio Negri states ‘Every kind of change belongs to a form of community art'. This is the inverse of the premise that community art can be an integral component of desired social changes. Negri confronts community art, its supporters and critics with a challenging responsibility, and extends this to include everyone who wants to bring about change in social, political, economic, technological or ecological arenas. Communal and artistic go hand in hand.
In Community Art, visual and performing artists and theorists employ diverse modes of thinking and writing to explore the practices and concepts of the phenomenon of community art in western and non-western societies. The book does not offer a cut-and-dried theoretical model, but presents a new critical reformulation of community art in society.
The event is organized and moderated by artist Hakan Topal with a response by artist Alex Villar.
Community Art is part of the Arts in Society series / Antennae by Valiz
Editors: Paul De Bruyne, Pascal Gielen; Authors: Tilde Björfors, Bertus Borgers, Paul De Bruyne, Luigi Coppola, An De bisschop, Miguel Escobar, Varela, Jan Fabre, Alison M., Friedman, Pascal Gielen, Sonja Lavaert, Carol Martin, Antonio Negri, Alida Neslo, Tessa Overbeek, Lionel Popkin, Richard Schechner, Hein Schoer, Ricky Seabra, Jonas Staal, Klaas Tindemans, Luk Van den Dries, Quirijn Lennert van den Hoogen, Hans van Maanen, Bart van Nuffelen, Karel Vanhaesebrouck, Zhang Changcheng; Design: Metahaven; 374 pages, sewn paperback, 21 x 13,5 (hxw), Eng; Supported by Fontys College for the Arts; ISBN 978-90-78088-50-9, $ 28,95, published by Valiz Amsterdam, distributed in the US by D.A.P. New York
Pascal Gielen is professor of sociology of the arts and director of the research centre Arts in Society at Groningen University (NL), and also director of the research group and book series ‘Arts in Society’, Fontys College for the Arts, Tilburg (NL).
Publications series Arts in Society:
Gielen, De Bruyne (eds.), Being an Artist in Post-Fordist Times (NAi Publishers, Rotterdam 2009)
Gielen, The Murmuring of the Artistic Multitude: Global Art, Memory and Post-Fordism (Valiz, Amsterdam 2009)
De Bruyne, Gielen (eds.), Community Art (Valiz, Amsterdam 2010)
Forthcoming spring 2012: Gielen, De Bruyne (eds.), Teaching Art in the Neoliberal Realm: Realism versus Cynicism (Valiz, Amsterdam 2012).
Thanks to Anne Barlow, Executive Director, Art in General and Vera Zolberg, Professor of Sociology, New School for Social Research.