New Book “An Incomplete Archive of Activist Art” Now Available for Purchase

Visual Arts

An Incomplete Archive of Activist Art
Published by the Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation

On stands February 15, 2022
Available for purchase on Amazon February 24, 2022

In this enlightening and empowering book, the Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation underscores its commitment to social justice issues, global equity, and its history in promoting art’s role in the formation of both community empowerment and justice.

Reflecting on the Rubin Foundation’s art and social justice initiatives over the last six years, An Incomplete Archive of Activist Art includes thematic essays, roundtable discussions, newly commissioned artworks and documentation of visual art exhibitions organized by the Foundation.

Consisting of two volumes, the publication highlights the emergence of a cultural shift, addressing art’s role in the formation of community and advocacy for justice. ‘Discourse’ features essays, thematic roundtables with cultural producers, and newly commissioned text based projects. ‘Art’ documents exhibitions at The 8th Floor, the Foundation’s gallery and event space, as well as selections from the Rubins’ private collection. This compendium is conceived to be a critical resource for education and those interested in socially-engaged art, and includes contributions from leading artists, scholars, critics and activists.

The first volume features essays by André Lepecki and Lucy Lippard; newly commissioned artwork by Hock E Aye I Vi Edgar Heap of BirdsKameelah Janan RasheedDread Scott, and Mierle Laderman Ukeles; and roundtables on accessibility in the cultural sector, visibility in the digital age, and the role of art in this current moment. The second features newly commissioned poems by Mel Chin and Claudia Rankine, and documents exhibitions at The 8th Floor such as In the Power of Your CareEnacting StillnessThe Intersectional Self, and the exhibition series Revolutionary Cycles.

Social justice and ideas surrounding art’s ability to be an instrument for change has shifted considerably in relation to the cannon of contemporary art. This publication highlights and centers artist/activists who are at the vanguard of this movement. As Martha Wilson said “The big difference in my view between art making in the last 100 years and art making in the last couple of decades is that artists are now engaged in both the protest and the solution.” Collectively artists need to see art as a democratic tool, and their process is addressed throughout the documentation of their activities by this artist-centered organization, as Sean Leonardo put it “…artists have become more attuned to the inherent power dynamics at play in works that involve cooperation versus participation forwarding a particular agenda meant to be fulfilled by “actors,” rather than a framework that allows for co-design and co-authorship.”

An Incomplete Archive of Activist Art is available for pre-order on The University of Chicago Press and will be available for purchase on Amazon February 24, 2022.

About the Authors
Writer and editor Anjuli Nanda Diamond is Artistic Director of the Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation.
Sara Reisman is a curator, writer, and former Executive and Artistic Director of the Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation.

An Incomplete Archive of Activist Art is edited by Anjuli Nanda Diamond, with Sara Reisman and George Bolster.

224 pages with 250 color illustrations
Hardcover | 23.5 x 26 cm.
ISBN: 978-3-7774-3756-9
Publication Date: February 2022
Cover images

Andrea Bowers in collaboration with Ada Tinnell
Throwing Bricks (Johanna Wallace), 2016
Archival pigment print
Courtesy of the artist and Andrew Kreps Gallery, New York.

Firelei Baéz
Zafa Fukú (April 30th, 2012), 2015
Acrylic and ink on paper
Courtesy of the artist and James Cohan, New York.

About the Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation
The Foundation believes in art as a cornerstone of cohesive, sustainable communities and greater participation in civic life. In its mission to make art available to the broader public, in particular to underserved communities, the Foundation provides direct support to, and facilitates partnerships between, cultural organizations and advocates of social justice across the public and private sectors. Through grantmaking, the Foundation supported cross-disciplinary work connecting art with social justice via experimental collaborations, as well as extending cultural resources to organizations and areas of New York City in need.

About The 8th Floor
The 8th Floor is an independent exhibition and event space established in 2010 by Shelley and Donald Rubin to promote artistic and cultural initiatives. Inspired by the Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation, the gallery is committed to broadening the access and availability of art to New York audiences. Seeking further cultural exchange, The 8th Floor explores the potential of art as an instrument for social change in the 21st century, through an annual program of innovative contemporary art exhibitions and an events program comprised of performances, salon-style discussions, and those organized by external partners.

Follow the Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation

Facebook: @SDRubinFoundation
Twitter: @rubinfoundation
Instagram: @rubinfoundation

For media inquiries, please contact
Andrea Bruce
Blue Medium