Speaking at Does Art Have Users?

SFMOMA, Sep 2017

Panel: What Does a Useful Museum Look Like?
Time: 6-7:30 p.m.
Location: SFMOMA, Phyllis Wattis Theater
Participants: Jeanne van Heeswijk, Alistair Hudson, Laura Raicovich; moderated by Dominic Willsdon

This panel will explore new approaches to the role and value of art institutions, looking in particular at ways that museums might borrow an idea of usership from libraries, to become more of a resource than an attraction. Speakers will discuss how art museums can build coalitions of different organizations with a public mission to serve a wider range of constituents, and how museums can adapt to accommodate and support artists who want to work in the context of civic engagement.

Panel: How Do Artists Create More Inclusive Systems of Power?
Time: 10:30 a.m.–noon
Location: SFMOMA, Phyllis Wattis Theater
Participants: Jeanne van Heeswijk, Tania Bruguera, Brett Cook; moderated by Shannon Jackson

How do artists act as instigators of more inclusive systems? How do they build a power base? What is the impact of artists’ work in the communities where they are working? Speakers will discuss how constituencies become the cocreators of their projects, and how such collaborations can help to drive social change. How does the concept of users apply if members of the public are not simply the audience for this work but also the cocreators?

Does Art Have Users? is a symposium exploring art in terms of its use value — that is, whether and how art can be used as a tool — focusing on the roles that individuals and constituencies play in socially engaged artistic practices. From the platforms needed to support community-created artwork to the role of documentation and archives, participants will discuss the varied ways in which artists work with individuals and organizations at the intersection of art and activism to imagine new contributions to social, civic, and political life.

Bringing together the leading voices of the Arte Útil (Useful Art) movement, along with participants from related fields, the event incorporates the second international Arte Útil Summit. Focusing on specific needs and urgent questions animating Bay Area neighborhoods, the symposium includes panel discussions, presentations, and workshops that explore art and its potential usership from a wide variety of viewpoints. Topics include immigration, youth development policy, and civic knowledge sharing.

Part of SFMOMA’s Phyllis Wattis Distinguished Lecture Series, as well as our Public Knowledge initiative, Does Art Have Users? is presented in partnership with the Asociación de Arte Útil and the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and its exhibition Tania Bruguera: Talking to Power / Hablándole al Poder.

related project
Philadelphia Assembled