The Provocation of Art: From Mapplethorpe to Now
Art does not just sit there looking pretty. It has the power to spark strong responses in viewers and to move them (both literally and metaphorically) to take action in the world. In this presentation, Stanford Professor Richard Meyer and Director at the Institute for Diversity in the Arts at Stanford University, A-Ian Holt will consider the role of art in provoking political conflict and social change in contemporary America. In conjunction with the West Coast premiere of Triptych, we will look at the controversial work of Robert Mapplethorpe in relation to queer, interracial desire and the culture wars over homoerotic art and federal funding in the late 1980s and early 90s. The talk will then turn to more recent conflicts over visual art and race by discussing the public protest against Dana Schutz’s painting of Emmett Till and the current controversy over the murals at George Washington High School in San Francisco that include depictions of Washington’s slaves and dead Native Americans. Join us for a provocative evening on the limits of art and freedom of expression.
Richard Meyer, Robert and Ruth Halperin Professor of Art History, is the author of Outlaw Representation: Censorship and Homosexuality in Twentieth-Century American Art and co-author, with Catherine Lord, of Art and Queer Culture.
A-Ian Holt is a 2018 Sundance Fellow, a 2018 SF Film Screenwriting Fellow, and a frequent contributor on-air at KQED Arts. A-lan has over ten years of experience considering questions of identity, diversity, culture and aesthetics and holds a degree with honors in Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity from Stanford University.