The Aesthetics of Answerability: Tactical Autonomy in Contemporary Socially Engaged Art.
In this talk I will examine some of the ways in which contemporary socially engaged art has transformed existing conventions of artistic and aesthetic autonomy, associated with the historical avant-garde. Through a series of examples, I'll outline the unique forms of insight that these projects can generate, through the synthesis of both tactical and prefigurative elements in the act of resistance.
Grant Kester, professor of art history in the Visual Arts department at the University of California, San Diego, is one of the leading figures in the critical dialogue around socially engaged art practice. He is founding editor of FIELD: A Journal of Socially Engaged Art Criticism. His publications include Art, Activism and Oppositionality: Essays from Afterimage (Duke University Press, 1998), Conversation Pieces: Community and Communication in Modern Art(University of California Press, 2004), The One and the Many: Contemporary Collaborative Art in a Global Context(Duke University Press, 2011) and Collective Situations: Readings in Contemporary Latin American Art 1995-2010, co-edited with Bill Kelley (Duke University Press, 2017). He has recently completed a two-volume study of the politics of aesthetic autonomy (The Sovereign Self: Aesthetic Autonomy from the Enlightenment to the Avant-Garde and Beyond the Sovereign Self: Aesthetic Autonomy from the Avant-Garde to Socially Engaged Art).
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