Calendar of Events

past events

Friday, November 13: Ariella Azoulay: Kill Me If You Wish To: Imperial Violence and the Common
Professor, curator, and documentary filmmaker Ariella Azoulay will present a paper that discusses three moments when someone steps forward and cries "kill me if you wish to” - Pende rebellion 1931, Stephane Charbonier (Charlie Hebdo) and Zakary Zubeide (in 2001).

Friday, October 13: Gregory Sholette: Precarious Workers of the (Art) World Unite!
Artist, writer and activist Gregory Sholette discusses the varied tactics associated with Gulf Labor Coalition as they seek to call attention to the plight of precarious migrant workers in Abu Dhabi where a new Guggenheim Museum is in the works, followed by an examination of Marina Naprushkina's sustainable art project in the Moabit section of Berlin where she is developing an "artificial institution" whose mission is to service the needs of her "new neighbors": political refugees fleeing military and economic conflict in Syria, Iraq and Northern Africa.

Saturday, October 4:  Half-day Colloquium held in the Logan Center Penthouse. Participants included a wide range of figures in the Chicago art world, including curators, artists, and activists from major institutions across the city and at the University of Chicago. Statements written by Christine Mehring, UChicago Chair of Art History; Mary Jane Jacob, Art Institute of Chicago; Lisa Corrin, Director of Northwestern’s Block Gallery;  and William Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, community activists.  

Monday, October 13:  Public Lecture with political philosopher, Jodi Dean. Dean has written extensively and influentially on the concept of the public sphere, and worked with the Brooklyn-based artist’s collective, No-Space.  

Humanities Day October 18, 2014
W.J.T. Mitchell
Arts and Public Life

From John Dewey through Hannah Arendt and Jurgen Habermas, the notion of the public has remained central to a wide variety of debates in the humanities and social sciences. What is a public? How are publics constituted? And, most centrally for our purposes, what role can and do the arts play in the emergence of various kinds of publics? Central to this investigation is the emergence of new concepts of art as “social practice” and new modes of thinking about the public sphere not merely as a kind of space, but as the site of practices and actions. Over the course of the year, Arts and Public Life will also bring visiting artists, critics, and scholars to the University of Chicago campus to give a series of public lectures on the topic that will be considered for publication in a special issue of Critical Inquiry. WJT Mitchell, co-leader of the Arts and Public Life seminar and Neubauer Collegium project, led a discussion on these themes for Humanities Day.

Monday, October 20:  UChicago Professor Patrick Jagoda (English Department) returned from his residency at Rice University to teach a class and deliver a public lecture on the topic of “Virtual Publics in the Age of New Media.”  

ARTV 37911 (Autumn 14) Taught by W. J. T. Mitchell and Theaster Gates
Ideas about the nature and purpose of public art have changed drastically in the last twenty years. The emergence of social networks has produced new “virtual publics”; new social and theoretical movements have reconfigured the idea of a “general public” in relation to “partial,” “affective,” and “intimate” publics; postcolonial theory and history have revived non-Eurocentric notions of the “commons”; experiments with “art as a social practice” and “relational aesthetics” have transformed the relation of the arts to concerns with urban design and the concepts of public and private space. This project aims to explore these developments and advance our understanding of what John Dewey long ago called “the public and its problems.” We will convene a seminar and colloquium that will gather artists, scholars, curators, entrepreneurs, and designers of public and private spaces to explore both the practical and theoretical dimensions of public life. Centered on the existing “Art and Public Life” program of the University of Chicago headed by Theaster Gates, we will bring experts both from within and beyond the University to reflect on these issues, and attempt to formulate new understandings of public art in the twenty-first century.

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