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Aesthetics, Relevancy, and Social Context

Tricia Khutoretsky (Session Host)
Chaka Mkali
Complex Movements
Rosten Woo

While the commercial art market in America is riding an incomparable high, an alternative art world is growing just as substantially, perhaps in reaction to the distorted appreciation of art by wealth-based standards. Artists and organizers working in this alternative cultural realm are increasingly making a case that social practices not only activate communities but should be valued along with paintings, sculpture and other more tangible works. However, when it comes to art practice that is socially engaged, there exists the long held notion that aesthetics are not a significant priority. This session begins with the assumption that aesthetic and social provocations are in fact, happening together. We’ll look towards a deeper understanding of what is fueling new shifts and trends in art as a vehicle for social change today. How can artists and arts organizers think about the way in which they create, share and categorize their work in response to a changing landscape for art and social practice? Panelists will illustrate and explore the emergence of new hybrid identities for artists, arts organizers and organizations a result of interaction between audiences, social systems, and artists. The session will circle around topics of collaboration, aesthetics and social context in relation to work in this field, but also to this unique, present moment in history.