University of Pennsylvania, Fall 2014
Our most recent class sessions have found us discussing the relationship between art, literature and politics, and the potential for art to bring about political and social change. These issues are always important, but for many living here in the US, their significance has been recently highlighted by events in Ferguson, Missouri and elsewhere. This has reinvigorated conversations about the role of politics in art (and vice versa), with many prominent artists, writers, performers and critics weighing in.
One conversation that may be of interest to readers is that between J. Cole, Ken Burns, Justin Simien, David Simon, Eddie Huang, Patricia Lockwood, Debra Granik, and Justin Torres in the New York Times. A related piece is the editorial by A.O. Scott, “Is our Art Equal to the Changing Times?”
Some artists are already responding to events in Ferguson, as we see in an article by Brian Boucher in the magazine Art in America. Such projects suggest comparison with artistic responses to violence against women, caste oppression, and economic exploitation.