Shouting from the studio-top: the artist as activist
Throughout history, artists have been active participants in key social and political debates. Pablo Picasso’s Guernica is one of the greatest paintings to protest the brutality of war. David McDiarmid’s practice maintained a sustained engagement with gay male identity and HIV issues. Barbara Kruger’s iconic images address issues of power, identity and sexuality, while more recently artists as diverse as Amy Balkin and Lauren Berkowitz have created works which respond to current thinking, debates and often in-action on climate change. In this lecture, Dr Vincent Alessi will discuss the role of the artist as activist. Referencing artists represented in the NGV Triennial, the lecture will argue for the presence of the artistic voice to help us better understand and meet the challenges of contemporary social and political issues.
Dr Vincent Alessi
Senior Lecturer, La Trobe University, Department of Creative Arts and English
Dr Vincent Alessi is a Senior Lecturer in Visual Arts at La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia. His research interests include the life and work of Vincent van Gogh, mid-late nineteenth century European art, nineteenth century popular graphic illustration and Australian contemporary visual art and curatorial practice. Dr Alessi has held numerous positions within cultural institutions including Curatorial Manager at the Ian Potter Museum of Art, University of Melbourne and Artistic Director of LUMA | La Trobe University Museum of Art. He has curated exhibitions both nationally and internationally on artists as diverse as Mike Brown, Philip Hunter, Brook Andrew, Julie Rrap and Bernard Boles and on topics varying from abstraction in Australian landscape painting to notions of place and identity in contemporary practice.
PHOTO CREDIT: RICHARD MOSSE STILL FROM INCOMING 2015–16 (DETAIL) CO-COMMISSIONED BY THE NATIONAL GALLERY OF VICTORIA, MELBOURNE AND THE BARBICAN ART GALLERY, LONDON. NATIONAL GALLERY OF VICTORIA, MELBOURNE. PURCHASED WITH FUNDS DONATED BY CHRISTOPHER THOMAS AM AND CHERYL THOMAS, JANE AND STEPHEN HAINS, VIVIEN AND GRAHAM KNOWLES, MICHAEL AND EMILY TONG AND 2016 NGV CURATORIAL TOUR DONORS, 2017 © RICHARD MOSSE COURTESY JACK SHAINMAN GALLERY, NEW YORK AND CARLIER | GEBAUER, BERLIN.