Art Activism And Oppositionality Essays From After Images Movie

There is a common perception in the arts today that overtly activist art—often seen to sacrifice an aesthetic pleasure for a subversive one—is no longer in fashion. In bringing together sixteen of the most important essays on activist and community-based art from the pages of Afterimage—one of the most influential journals in the media and visual arts fields for more than twenty-five years—Grant H. Kester demonstrates that activist art, far from being antithetical to the true meaning of the aesthetic, can be its most legitimate expression.

Forging a style of criticism where aesthetic, critical, theoretical, and activist concerns converge, Afterimage has shaped American debates around the politics of visual production and arts education while offering a voice to politically involved artists and scholars. Art, Activism, and Oppositionality insists not only on the continuing relevance of an activist stance to contemporary art practice and criticism, but also on the significance of an engaged art practice that is aligned with social or political activism. With essays that span fifteen years—roughly from Ronald Reagan’s 1980 presidential win to the 1994 Republican victories in Congress, a period marked by waning public support for the arts and growing antagonism toward activist art—Art, Activism, and Oppositionality confronts issues ranging from arts patronage, pedagogy, and the very definitions of art and activism to struggles involving AIDS, reproductive rights, sexuality, and racial identity.

Contributors. Maurice Berger, Richard Bolton, Ann Cvetkovich, Coco Fusco, Brian Goldfarb, Mable Haddock, Grant H. Kester, Ioannis Mookas, Chiquita Mullins Lee, Darrell Moore, Lorraine O’Grady, Michael Renov, Martha Rosler, Patricia Thomson, David Trend, Charles A. Wright Jr., Patricia R. Zimmerman

About The Author(s)

Grant H. Kester is Assistant Professor of Art History at Washington State University and was the editor of Afterimage from 1990 to 1995.

Painter and sculptor Ernest Silva died on February 24, 2014. He was 65. Silva joined the faculty in 1979 and retired in July of 2013. Silva joined the faculty of the Visual Arts Department in 1979. Silva studied at the University of Rhode Island where he received a BFA and obtained an MFA from Tyler School of Art of Temple University in 1974. Within the Department he taught painting, drawing, sculpture, Introduction to Art-Making and graduate classes. Silva exhibited his paintings and sculptures since 1972. His work was concerned with the use of vernacular references to construct a visual language. He has been included in over 45 one-person exhibitions that include New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Diego and Europe, as well as numerous group shows. Reviews of his work have appeared in Arts Magazine, Art News, the Los Angeles Times, the San Diego Union-Tribune, Artweek, The Publication, the Providence Journal, Images and Issues, La Stampa, Il Centro and Art in America. He received a NEA Fellowship in Painting in 1989 90 and an Excellence in the Arts Award from the University of Rhode Island in 2001. Silva's work appeared in Made in California: Art, Image and Identity, 1900-2000 at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Along with his work as an artist, Silva was co-creator and co-curator of a bi-national project called InSite 92. He has been a member of the curatorial committee for Design World, a project for the San Diego Children's Museum of San Diego, CA (1999). He was also part of the planning team funded by the National Endowment for the Arts to foster "artistically excellent, high-visibility projects that encourage innovative thinking about the future of the arts," called the New Millennium Grant Award. Selected One-Person Exhibitions: Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, MA (1972); Artist's Space, New York, NY (1975); Anyart Contemporary Art Center, Providence, RI (1976); Lenore Gray Gallery, Providence, RI (1978); Roy Boyd Gallery, Los Angeles, CA (1982); Roy Boyd Gallery, Chicago, IL (1984); Vanderwoude Tananbaum Gallery, New York, NY (1984); Quint Gallery, San Diego, CA (1986); Jan Baum Gallery, Los Angeles, CA (1989); Dietrich Jenny Gallery, San Diego, CA (1989); Jan Baum Gallery, Los Angeles, CA (1991); Lenore Gray Gallery, Providence, RI (1992); Porter Randall Gallery, La Jolla, CA (1994); Museet for Samtidskunst (Museum of Contemporary Art), Roskilde, Denmark (1995); Children's Museum of San Diego, CA (1995), permanent installation; Casa de la Cultura, Tijuana, Mexico (1995), permanent installation; Lenore Gray Gallery, Providence, RI (1996); Simayspace Gallery, San Diego, CA (1997); Athenaeum, Arts and Music Library, La Jolla, CA (1997); Art Resources Transfer, New York, NY (1998); Glendale College Gallery, Oceanside, CA (1998); Arts College International Art Gallery, San Diego, CA (1999); Art Resources Transfer, New York (2001); University Gallery, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI (2001); Ninapi Gallery, Ravenna, Italy (2003); Fenarolli Center, Lanciano, Italy (2003) and Art Resources Transfer Inc, New York, NY (2003). Selected Group Exhibitions: Moore College of Art, Philadelphia, PA; Pratt Graphic Center, New York, NY; Corcoran Art Gallery, Washington, D.C.; Fort Worth Art Museum, Fort Worth, TX; Newspace Gallery, Los Angeles, CA; Heckscher Museum of Art, Huntington, NY; Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis, IN; University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA; Roy Boyd Gallery, Los Angeles, CA; San Francisco Airport Museum, San Francisco, CA; Sordoni Art Gallery, Wilkes College, Wilkes-Barre, PA; Sonrisa Gallery, Los Angeles, CA; Janet Steinberg Gallery, San Francisco, CA; Palo Alto Cultural Center, Palo Alto, CA; Visual Arts Center of Alaska, Anchorage, AK; Fairbanks Art Association, Fairbanks, AK; Alaska State Museum, Juneau, AK; Dietrich Jenny Gallery, San Diego, CA; De Saisset Museum, University of Santa Clara, Santa Clara, CA; Nancy Lurie Gallery, Chicago, IL; Mia Gallery, Seattle, WA; Bill Bace Gallery, New York, NY; San Jose Museum of Art, San Jose, CA; Art in Embassies Program, United States Embassy, Switzerland, Merging One Gallery, Santa Monica, CA; Steinbaum Krauss Gallery, New York, NY; Oceanside Museum of Art, Oceanside, CA; Gregg Flynt Gallery, Auckland, New Zealand, San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego, CA; Pilchuck Gallery, Pilchuck Glass School, Stanwood, WA. Selected Public Collections: Rhode Island School of Design Museum of Art, Berkeley Museum; Newport Harbor Art Museum; Fogg Art Museum at Harvard; Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego; Oakland Museum; San Jose Museum; San Diego Museum of Art; De Saisset Museum; Orange County Museum of Art; Grand Rapids Art Museum; Laguna Museum of Art and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Take a look at It includes recent paintings and installation photos from Ernest Silva: Windows of War, Fire on Tranquil Seas on exhibit till May 8 at the Athenaeum Music and Arts Library in La Jolla, CA.


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