Selective Histories: Memory, Aesthetics, & Urban Art

Friday August 31: 7:00PM 8:00PM

Event Admission  

Debates surrounding ‘public art’ or ‘urban art’ can be endless. Most often they focus on form rather than function. Is graffiti art? What about monuments? What kind of art is allowed to be erected, removed, or sold? These debates become even more detailed when we introduce what mediums of art we value over others: painting, music, dance, poetry.

Though several disciplines discuss the value of public art and engage in the above debates, urban geographers are interested in how art forms can at once elide, reproduce, or challenge their urban political contexts. Like everything else in our city, urban art informs our experience. The question then becomes not what ‘counts as art’, but what is art’s purpose. What is urban art supposed to do?

This Olio will focus on the many conflicting intents of urban art, from its use as state propaganda to its many forms of resistance to oppression. We will discuss the politics of aesthetics, memory, and representation and how such politics attempt to create (with varying success), what urban geographer Karen Till defines as “selective and coherent histories”.

Teacher: Lauren Hudson is currently a doctoral candidate in Earth and Environmental Sciences at the CUNY Graduate Center where she writes about anti-capitalist organizing among women in NYC. Her research interests concern how economic subjectivities are created between and among those who perform labor based on solidarity, how their narratives of their work cohere and diverge from dominant discourses.

Complimentary beer by our presenting partner Sixpoint Brewery.

Sixpoint’s motto is “Beer is Culture,” to highlight the human trajectory—the earliest human civilizations were founded upon the cultivation of cereal grains for making beer. Sixpoint aims to perpetually inspire the art, creativity, and collaboration generated through beer by acknowledging the history of the craft, while forging ahead to inspire culture in a modern setting.