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Academy Lectures: Fred Dewey

Academy Lectures: Fred Dewey

Fred Dewey is an activist, public art curator, editor, writer and artist He investigates, amongst other topics, what sustains democracy in art works, culture, critique, and learning. Dewey is the last guest at Academy Lectures this semester.

Thursday 18 May 2017 6pm, KhiO’s Main Auditorium, Fossveien 24

Academy Lectures: Action, Critique, and the Crisis of Democracy in Culture

The notion the people and actuality matter, and that artists and culture need to engage the people, event, and fact - as artists are fully amidst the people, event, and fact - has become strangely taboo in the art context. This reflects a crisis of democracy and representation as serious as that in official political forms. How do the art world and art education approach democracy, and what does this teach, negatively and positively? What lessons can be gained from council democracy, a crucial subject for Hannah Arendt in her late work, vs. the rule of bureaucratic, anonymous discourse and structure? What is the place of responsibility, courage, action, and access?

Starting with Walter Benjamin’s distinction between critique and commentary, the talk will apply the lens of council democracy to art and criticism ranging from Manet to Christopher Williams and Martha Rosler, filmmakers Straub-Huillet and Cassavetes, and recent museum representations of the legendary Black Mountain College. What sustains democracy in art works, culture, critique, and learning? What fosters public space and the full life of the people, and what negates them? Old left debates will be examined anew to imagine a truly democratic-republican art appropriate for new conditions.

Fred Dewey is an activist, public art curator, editor, writer, & artist. He ran Beyond Baroque Arts/Literary Center in Los Angeles 1995-2010, has conducted working groups on Hannah Arendt internationally since 2011, & has written for newspapers, magazines, monographs, & anthologies. His works include the book The School of Public Life (errant bodies, Berlin-LA 2015) & from an apparent contradiction in Arendt to a working group method (re:public, Berlin 2016). He has shown with artists Jeremiah Day & Simone Forti, is on the Graduate Faculty of ArtCenter College in Pasadena, CA, & his Berlin-wide “Portable Polis” this summer is sponsored by ZK/U Berlin.