Contesting the City: Experiments in Transnational Public Art

IAWIS sponsored special session at 2010 College Art Association conference (Chicago, Feb. 11-13, 2010)

This session considers the city street as the site for artistic intervention, a contested space where identity is under constant renegotiation. Session participants will explore how artists reinvent accepted uses of the urban space, particularly the unfamiliar street, so as to make visible the condition of geographic displacement, transnational citizenship, or exile. What are the institutional practices that govern our behavior in the familiar versus the foreign city? How can visual and performing arts jar us out of these routines? How does visual art ‘translate’ public experience? What is the role of language in these practices? By analyzing the work of contemporary artists critically engaged in public space, particularly the foreign city, such as Jenny Holzer, Barbara Kruger, Shimon Attie, Doris Salcedo, and Robin Rhoade, we will determine to what extent language can work to draw attention to marginalized identity, reconstituting a new kind of citizenship in foreign public space.

Selected speakers and titles:
1. Steven L. Bridges (School of the Art Institute of Chicago): “Making the Invisible Visible: Jens Haaning Tells a Few Colorful Jokes”
2. Jo Novelli (New York University): “Seven Walks: Francis Alys Reads London”
3. Richard Tipping (Artist): “Streetscape — Sign Inerventions in Public Space”