Conference Program

Thursday, February 12, 2015 


12:00 –2:00 p.m.
Session 1: Reflections on Art Censorship and Banning

A. “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” exhibition at the Neue Galerie, March 13–June 30, 2014

B. 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

C. 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

2:15-3:45 p.m. 
Session 2: Activist Art
Ricardo Dominguez, artist, co-founder, the Electronic Disturbance Theater (EDT); Associate Professor of Visual Arts, University of California San Diego

Since the 1980s, gestures that came to be named "tactical media" have now blossomed into multiple practices: from artivism to tactical poetries; from hacktivism(s) to border disturbance tools; from augmented realities to speculative cartographies; from queer technologies to transnational feminisms and code; from locative media to dislocative media; from data bodies flooding the streets to real bodies flooding the networks; from digital Zapatistismo to peer-to-peer intergalactic performance. Each of these gestures manifests a core aesthetic of disturbance.

Stephen Duncombe, Associate Professor, Gallatin School of Individualized Study, New York University; co-founder, School for Creative Activism; Co-director, Center for Artistic Activism

Does activist art work? Does it work aesthetically? Does it work politically? Most important, what do we mean when we say it "works"? I will be discussing the different ways artists, activists, and theorists have thought about this question and how their responses might help those of us interested in the affective effect (or effective affect) of activist art."

Moderator: Suzanne Nossel, Executive Director, PEN American Center

4:00-5:30 p.m.
Session 3: The Potency of Art
Holland Cotter, Pulitzer Prize-winning art critic, the New York Times
Paul Chan, artist
Moderator: Carin Kuoni, Director, Vera List Center for Art and Politics, The New School for Public Engagement

6:00-7:30 p.m. 
Session 4: 
The Censorship of Artists: Artists in Prison, Artists in Exile

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:
Melissa Chiu, Director, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden 
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

10:00–11:30 a.m. 
Tour of Site-Specific Works from the New School Art Collection
Begins in the Orozco Room at 66 West 12th Street, 7th floor
Works include Jose 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 Le Witt, Dave Muller, Martin Puryear, Michael van Valkenburgh, Brian Tolle, and Kara Walker.
Guide: Silvia Rocciolo, Curator, The New School Art Collection

11:30-1:00 p.m. 
Session 5: Artists at Risk/Artists in Exile
Chaw Ei Thein, Burmese multimedia artist
Naila Al Atrash, Syrian director, human rights activist
Moderator: TBA 

2:00-3:30 p.m.
Session 6: Censorship and Self-Exile

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

4:00-6:00 p.m. 
Session 7: Who Does the Policing? What Is the Role of Self-Censorship?
Jeffrey Deitch, American art dealer and curator who served as director of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (MOCA) between 2010 and 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)

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