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Statues of Limitations
In art as in government, representation and abstraction serve as two modes of the same linguistic operation, rather than two sides of a radical break. This sense of continuity offers up abstraction as a premise for rethinking the notion of US representative democracy, directing attention to its separating, reducing, isolating, and extracting projects. This talk-in-progress takes up this continuity in considering contentious monuments in public spaces, future ruins that provocatively suspend the regulation of subject and object. Such deregulation also animates “monumental” contemporary art works, including large-scale objects by Kara Walker, Fred Wilson, and Pope.L., offering a politics of unstable representation.
Malik Gaines is the author of Black Performance on the Outskirts of the Left: A History of the Impossible (NYU Press, 2017) and many essays and articles about art and performance. He performs with the group My Barbarian and elsewhere, and is Associate Professor of Performance Studies at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.
This lecture series is made possible by a generous grant from Fred Weintz and Rosemary Weintz.
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