July 8, 12PM

Extra Credit | Radical Aesthetics: Art in Social Movements


EXTRA CREDIT is an education series that aims to provide a general overview of contemporary art and to demystify the field for those outside of the art world. It is ideal for anyone interested in learning more and for those looking to further engage with exhibitions and museums.

Through an examination of contemporary visual and performance art from different parts of the Americas, we will consider ways in which art has contributed to, and has been shaped by, grass-roots movements for social justice. As anti-systemic movements aim to change the way social life is organized, a crucial part of this labor is changing the way people perceive, understand and inhabit the world. We will look at key instances when art’s unique capacities for reconfiguring our perceptual interface with the world have been directed towards collective movements for social transformation, including art practices embedded in antiracist movements, human rights struggles, and uprisings that are part of the international anti-globalization movement. We will consider the political importance of artists’ experimental and omnivorous approaches to aesthetic form, as well as their forging of alternative, extra-institutional modes of producing and circulating their work.

This event is free and open to the public; register here.

DR. JENNIFER PONCE DE LEÓN is assistant professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania, where her research and teaching is situated at the intersection of literary studies, studies of contemporary visual arts and aesthetics, and the study of left social movements. She is currently completing Another Aesthetics is Possible: Radical Politics across the Arts of the Americas, which theorizes aesthetics as a potentially radicalizing force in contemporary political and social struggles. It is an interdisciplinary study of transdisciplinary visual art, literature and performance produced in the past two decades by art collectives in Buenos Aires and Chicana/o and Mexican artists and writers working in and beyond the U.S. She has recently published essays in American Quarterly, ASAP/Journal, and Social Text, and in the edited volume Talking to Action: Art, Pedagogy & Activism in the Americas. She has also worked as a curator and in 2017 curated Resurgent Pasts, Insurgent Futures for the Slought Foundation.

Public Engagement is supported by the Bernstein Public Engagement Fund.

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