Boxing Philosophical: Can Art Change the World?

The question of art's impact on the world often places too much pressure on art. Sociologist Pierre Bourdieu's acknowledgement of "the shift from an art which imitated nature to an art which imitates art" has two art-historical implications. The first is that over the ages, art has transcended the limitations of mimicry and figuration to become richer and more interesting. The second, however, is that art has gradually removed itself from the world and has all but disappeared in a self-referential cocoon—a refuge from pragmatics, politics, and other coordinates of the real. If art is indeed separable and separate from everything else, we should be able to account for its special status and for the consequences of its remove. This is especially needed in a time when issues of social injustice, ecological disaster, and geopolitical entropy loom so large in artworks and the conversations they engender.

Can art change the world, or does it survey the downfalls of civilization from afar? Is social practice socially relevant? Are symbolic gestures political? Does the imaginative become transformative?

ICA LA’s Boxing Philosophical series invites independent scholar and artist Kandis Williams and curator Bill Kelley Jr. to consider these important questions with philosopher Rossen Ventzislavov, who returns to the series as moderator/instigator.

This timely debate is presented with the context of the museum’s current exhibitions Nina Chanel Abney: Royal Flush; B. Wurtz: This Has No Name; and Adrian Piper: What It’s Like, What It Is, #3.


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November 08, 2018 at 6:00pm - 9pm
Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
1717 E 7th St
Los Angeles, CA 90021
United States
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