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A New Podcast Series Asks: Can Art Change the World?

¶ Vid Simoniti’s podcast “Art Against the World” explores ways in which contemporary art is socially relevant. Subscribe on Spotify, Apple, or wherever you get your podcasts. ¶ What follows is a guest post by Vid Simoniti (University of Liverpool). ¶ Contemporary exhibition-based art embodies a certain paradox. On the one hand, it is the most politically engaged of all the arts. From feminist performance to anti-racist conceptual art, from social art projects to ecological earth works, the whole identity of contemporary art is structured around a refusal of the social status quo. On the other hand, contemporary art is also the most incomprehensible of the arts. It’s easy enough to find yourself in a gallery, staring at a pile of unrecognizable objects, which are supposed to be about the excesses of capitalism, though you are at a loss to say what the connection is. ¶ So we have two claims: contemporary art is political; contemporary art is hard to understand. You may wish to deny one or both of them, but they are the reason I find thinking about contemporary art so philosophically thrilling. How could something seemingly so obscure have an impact on society?  ¶ Many philosophers have inquired into art’s socio-political relevance—from Mozi to Plato, from W.E.B. Du Bois to Martin Heidegger, all the way to contemporary work by Paul C. Taylor, Sherri Irvin, or Santiago Zabala. But in academic philosophy we rarely get the opportunity to think through these questions with artists, to really immerse... -

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A New Podcast Series Asks: Can Art Change the World? Vid Simoniti’s podcast “Art Against the World” explores ways in which contemporary art is socially relevant. Subscribe on Spotify, Apple, or wherever you get your podcasts. What follows is a guest post by Vid Simoniti (University of Liverpool). Contemporary exhibition-based art embodies a certain paradox. On the one hand, it is the most politically engaged of all the arts. From feminist performance to anti-racist conceptual art, from social art projects to ecological earth works, the... Aesthetics for Birds -


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