4.22 / From the Archives: Political Now

July 23 2013


Michele Carlson

July 23, 2013. Each day, it seems, some  “Fill-in-the-blank” collapse captures space as a front-and-center headline in daily papers. It is not surprising that during this time, artists are working to incorporate local, global and personal politics into their work. There is a potently political spirit running through the Bay Area arts constellation—significantly embodied in performance art, social practice, institutional critique, and other forms. This issue of Art Practical collects a wide-range of writing as a chance to observe how artists and writers are responding to and creating calls to action.

In this issue, many voices weigh in on the interaction between art and the social and political fields. Hou Hanru poignantly calls out the rampant state of “political exoticism” in contemporary art practices, demanding more “critical engagement” with the social and political world; Dorothy Santos considers the value and limitations of using the raced body to question race itself; and John Zarobell looks at the work of Hasan Elahi, made in response to being detained and questioned by the US government.

Highlighting works that are not often seen in galleries or bought by collectors in traditional ways, the writing by these and the other authors included here embodies a spirit of criticality and creative thinking. -Michele Carlson

Art Practical has invited its regular writers to guest edit thematic issues of content from our archive this summer as we prepare for the launch of our new website in September. These issues highlight the breadth of subjects we've covered over the past four years and some of the notable interests that catalyze artistic practice in the Bay Area. And here's a sneak peak of what is coming up for Art Practical. 



The Forbidden Body: Notes on the Latin American Live Art Scene

The Forbidden Body: Notes on the Latin American Live Art Scene

By Gabriela Salgado, Guillermo Gómez-Peña

This is the ultimate challenge for us: to relay in a symbolic body language capable of holding up the semiotic breakdown, or at least of putting it in evidence. If we don’t embrace this challenge, we are at risk of being exoticized and misunderstood.

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By Hou Hanru

It has been a time of so many interesting events and exciting subjects upon which to reflect. However, I have preferred to wait until the chaos has calmed a bit and the swirl settled. This is not necessarily a sign of wisdom, and may only be a sign of coming age. At least, it points to the necessity of leaving space for things to fully play out; time is actually the very condition for the urgency of such a space.

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