When art is made or used as a tool of social or political activism, is it still best described as “art”? Critic and curator Saul Ostrow moderates a discussion on the topic with artist Maureen Connor, academic and activist Stephen Duncombe, curator and Percent for Art Director Sara Reisman and artist and urban designer Damon Rich. Presented by the BFA Visual & Critical Studies Department.
Saul Ostrow is an independent critic and curator and art editor at large for Bomb magazine. Since 1987, he has curated over 70 exhibitions in the United States and abroad. From 2002–12, he was chair of Visual Arts and Technologies at the Cleveland Institute of Art. He currently serves on the board of directors of the College Art Association. http://www.collegeart.org/
Maureen Connor’s work combines installation, video, interior design, ethnography, human resources, feminism and social justice. Her exhibition venues include the Akbank Sanat, Austrian Cultural Forum New York, International Artists Studio Program (IASPIS), Momenta Art, Antoni Tàpies Foundation, Queens Museum of Art and Wyspa Art Institute. http://www.maureenconnor.net, http://theiwt.com
Stephen Duncombe is an associate professor at the Gallatin School and the Department of Media, Culture and Communications of New York University, where he teaches the history and politics of media. A lifelong political activist, he co-founded a community-based advocacy group in the Lower East Side and works as an organizer for the New York City chapter of Reclaim the Streets, an international direct action group. http://www.stephenduncombe.com
Sara Reisman is the director of New York City's Percent for Art program, which commissions permanent public artworks for newly constructed and renovated city-owned spaces. She has curated more than 40 exhibitions and projects for institutions, nonprofits and art spaces including The Cooper Union, Kunsthalle Exnergasse, Museum of Contemporary Art Republic of Srpska and Smack Mellon. She was the 2011 critic-in-residence at Art Omi, an international visual artist residency in upstate New York. http://www.nyc.gov/html/dcla/html/panyc/panyc.shtml
Damon Rich is a designer, artist and the urban designer and waterfront planner for Newark, New Jersey. His work represented the United States at the 2008 Venice Architecture Biennale and has been exhibited at the Canadian Centre for Architecture, MoMA PS1, the Netherlands Architecture Institute and the Storefront for Art and Architecture. He founded the Center for Urban Pedagogy, a nonprofit that uses design and art to improve civic engagement, in 1997.