This is an archive of the ArtCat Zine, 2007-2009. Please visit our new project, IDIOM.

Art and Power at The Drawing Center

João Maria Gusmão + Pedro Paiva, Colombo's Column, 2006, still from silent 16mm film, 3:02 min.
João Maria Gusmão + Pedro Paiva, Colombo's Column, 2006, still from silent 16mm film, 3:02 min. Via CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts.

Artist Warren Neidich has organized a day-long panel discussion taking place tomorrow afternoon at The Drawing Center. Present will be a diverse group of artists and writers including Keller Easterling, Boris Groys, David Joselit, Jonatan Habib Engqvist and others. The topic at the center for the convergence will be art and power, or, to risk begging the same question the event's title suggests, the power of art. It's something of a perennial concern for culture workers in a country where contemporary art -- and the liminal conversations that recede from its limits into neighboring disciplines -- remains steadfastly excluded from the national discourse. In a cultural field as comparatively cash rich, media enabled and internationally dispersed, it's no small wonder why it remains sequestered from the more fluid stream of popular culture. To creatively illustrate the point we may cite a myriad of quotidian metrics, from relatively low museum attendance rates in relation to other Western countries, to the phantom readership of the ever expanding realm of arts journalism, as deftly outlined by James Elkins in his 2003 book What Happened to Art Criticism?. But power, of course, as living thinkers from Rancière to Groys remind us, does not necessarily equate visibility or even the consolidation of bodies and wills in time and space -- even though the popular imaginings of its resistance remain fixed on these models. With a gentle insistence, then, our editors suggest tomorrow's panel to readers interested in these questions.