Gulf Labor Coalition at the 56th Venice Biennial
A New Wave of Arts Activism?
August 5th 2015
--Greg Sholette, Mariam Ghani, Amin Husain, Noah Fischer, Doris Bittar
No longer content to merely represent social transformation, artists are increasingly intervening directly in the sphere of day-to-day life, seeking to spark radical change. From the Occupy Movement to Tahrir Square, from Syria to Maidan to Black Lives Matter, as well as here in Venice with AB-Strike, an immediate and vibrant cultural agency appears to have awakened in such a way that it is often inseparable from street protests, strikes, political rallies, or other forms of mass resistance. Despite important similarities to past moments of resolute cultural opposition in the 1920s/1930s and the 1960s/1970s, the current activist art is self-organized and often unapologetically carnivalesque in spirit. The aim of this panel will be to explore these and other dimensions of what appears to be a new wave of art activism today.