|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 Ay Vi Edgar Heap of Birds, Kameelah Janan Rasheed, Dread 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 Care, Enacting Stillness, The 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.”
Now available to order from The University of Chicago Press and Amazon.
An Incomplete Archive of Activist Art is edited by Anjuli Nanda Diamond, with Sara Reisman and George Bolster.