After Ferguson, A New Protest Culture's Challenge To Art

December 18, 2014 3:23 PM

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After Ferguson, A New Protest Culture's Challenge To Art

Walter Benjamin has a line about the Angel of History who sees the past as “one single catastrophe, which unceasingly piles rubble on top of rubble and hurls it before his feet." At times this year, it has felt that this could actually describe the unfolding present, piling outrage on top of outrage without end. And just as Benjamin was using this image to raise the question of how you adequately narrate the past, for me this sense of imminent turmoil raises the big question about how you capture the present: How should art relate to this moment? Can it even?

In the week before the frenetic chaos of Art Basel dumped down on Miami, this question is exactly what New York Times film scribe A.O. Scott asked, in the latest in his series of art-and-politics think pieces for the paper: “Is Our Art Equal to the Challenges of Our Times?" The answer he gave was “i...

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