It’s almost impossible to avoid talking politics during an election year, especially when you spend a lot of time near a university. But the latest place politics is popping up might come as a surprise.
Political discussion is coming to the university-owned Fort Worth Contemporary Arts gallery in the form of “Electioneering,” an exhibition focusing on the politics of persuasion.
“When I was looking at the program for planning for the future, I noticed that this slot would coincide with the election,” said Gavin Morrison, the gallery curator. “It seemed that that would be a useful and obvious date to relate to.”
Even though the election helped inspire the show, “Electioneering” steers clear of typical red versus blue politics. In fact, Morrison said he made a point of including a more international perspective on political art.
“I didn’t want to be didactic, so it’s much more about the ways in which we get other people to believe other points of view,” he said.
Works on display range from a wall painting that Argentinean-born Milwaukee resident Santiago Cucullu made by popping paint-filled balloons to a flash animation piece by Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries, a Korean art company. Morrison said both pieces were specifically commissioned for “Electioneering.”
“Within certain states, there’s been a very long history of using art in a very overt way to convince the populace of the benefits of some regime,” Morrison said. “In the contemporary world, there is quite often overt and covert relationships to the political ideas and political ideologies. So rather than the art being there as an isolated or perfect object, it’s a means to certain ideas.”
To further emphasize art’s role in the world at large, Morrison has invited three TCU professors to give “lunchtime talks” on the ways in which their fields of study intersect with politics and the art of persuasion.
“I think that kind of reflects the idea of art existing outside of just the gallery,” Morrison said. “There’s a real interplay with the ideas within culture and society and contemporary art.”
Claudia Camp, a religion professor, will discuss how people are persuaded to submit to religious authority on Dec. 2.
“I’m going to talk some about religious symbols and rituals, and how they help to communicate and shape identity and create authority,” Camp said.
Political science professor Donald Jackson said he plans to contrast the ideal of the informed voter with the reality of voting in contemporary elections during his lunchtime talk on Nov. 11.
Philosophy professor Blake Hestir is scheduled to speak as well, in addition to several artists.
Morrison said he hopes students will take full advantage of the Fort Worth Contemporary Arts gallery, especially by coming the exhibition’s opening at 6 p.m. tonight.
“I think one of the more exciting ways to look at art is to actually get a chance to talk to people about the things that you’re looking at in sort of a sociable setting,” Morrison said.
He said students can visit the gallery Thursday through Sunday from 1 to 6 p.m.
Friday, 6 – 9 p.m.: Opening Reception
Monday, 7 p.m.: Artist and author Michael Corris, “Ad Reinhardt”
Nov. 11, 12:30 p.m.: Political science professor Donald Jackson, “What Has Happened to Popular Democracy?”
Nov. 13, 6:30 p.m.: Artist Gary Rough on his work in relation to “Electioneering”
Nov. 18, 12:30 p.m.: Philosophy professor Blake Hestir, “Artistic Protest v. Protest Art”
Dec. 2, 12:30 p.m.: Religion professor Claudia Camp, “Grabbed by God: How Religion Gets to Your Body, You Mind, and Maybe Your Soul