The Artist as Petit Criminal

September 28, 2017
6:00 PM


In partnership with the Ohio State University Humanities Institute, join Professor Joan Kee from the Department of History of Art, University of Michigan for a discussion of the artist as rebel. Often characterized as rebels and renegades, artists have long been associated with criminality, if not outright portrayed as criminals themselves. From the notorious Dada Fair of 1920 featuring a uniformed body with a pig's head to Takis brazenly removing his own sculpture from the Museum of Modern Art in 1969, intentional violations of the law have often been used to underscore the force of artistic radicalism. But in 1971, American artist Barry Le Va pointedly observed how most infractions were in fact "little crimes," an emphasis that implied a different set of motivations than those underpinning more notorious gestures of willful illegality. Ranging from petty theft to casual acts of vandalism, these "little crimes" illuminated how law was produced through the mediation of legislated regulation and social norms. As the works of artists such as Ann Messner, David Hammons, X+Y, and Dennis Oppenheim demonstrate, the law is also determined by how certain kinds of spaces - shopping malls, public parks, and prisons - are used and perceived. This program is free and open to the public. No registration requested.