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Art, Activism, and Beyond

Semester and Year SP 2017
Course Number ARTS-UG1644
Section 001
Instructor Amin Husain
Days MW
Time 2:00 PM - 3:15 PM
Units 4
Level U



This workshop interrogates the relationship between art and activism by focusing on (1) the Occupy Wall Street movement; (2) the Gulf Labor Coalition and Global Ultra Luxury Faction (G.U.L.F.), the direct action wing of Gulf Labor Coalition; (3) the Direct Action Front for Palestine in NYC; and (4) the Black Lives Matter movement. These case studies, alongside course readings and discussions, will help us to situate contemporary art in a historical and political context—a moment of rupture that is informed by ongoing histories of racism, colonialism, and debt. We will then move on to question how this moment might inform our own art practice, interrogating how, as contemporary artists, we might produce art that does not simply add flair to political work, but that engages in a dialectical practice--moving between theory and research, as well as action and aesthetics--and that considers how practice and process might become the work itself. A major component of the course will be a project that students plan and execute during the semester. Choice of practice and medium will be open, but possibilities might include work that is performative, visual, or conceptual, employing photography and/or digital media, text, film, painting, or sculpture. Readings will include: Berardi,  After the Future ; Breton,  What is Surrealism? ; Caws,  Manifesto: A Century of Isms ; Cesaire and Kelly,  Discourse on Colonialism ; Hardt and Negri,  Declaration , and McKee,  Strike Art! Contemporary Art and the Post-Occupy Condition .


All Syllabi

Course Type

Arts Workshops (ARTS-UG)