Past event

Saints Talk: Dr Jeffrey Murer Art and Politics: How works of imagination communicate the established order, become acts of resistance, and inspire action

We are delighted to welcome you to the next instalment in our Saints Talk series from Dr Jeffrey Murer, ‘Art and Politics: How works of imagination communicate the established order, become acts of resistance, and inspire action'.

In 1986 Gerard Jan van Bladeren walked into Amsterdam's Stedelijk Museum and with a knife attacked Barnett Newman's painting Who is Afraid of Red, Blue, and Yellow 3, slashing it repeatedly. How is it that a painting can be so powerful as to inspire such violence?

This talk explores the social aspects of images that create common collective imaginaries, which can act both to unite and to divide. Art asks the audience to consider the placement of objects into an order, a system of concepts and ideas organised as good and bad, desirable and reprehensible. Some art reinforces the status quo of hegemonic power, others challenge the established orders, expressing resistance against exertions of power or the concept of the normal.

The talk will examine how images and other art forms, from music to dance, and sculpture to performance, create common reference points, often demanding shared emotional responses, and at times inspiring members of a community to commit violent acts of repudiation and exclusion of others. We will explore the possibilities of art as transformative and revolutionary objects, and the limits of art as social provocation.

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