Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Artist Alfredo Jaar Gives JUNCTURE Initiative Talk on Feb. 3

Alfredo Jaar, a Chilean-born artist, architect, and filmmaker based in New York, will give a lecture titled “It Is Difficult” on February 3, 2016, at 6:10 pm in Room 129 of the Law School. The event is part of JUNCTURE: Explorations in Art and Human Rights, an initiative of the Law School’s Orville H. Schell, Jr. Center for International Human Rights.  Jaar’s work engages key themes of the initiative: the ethical and political complexities of memory and memorial, the limitations of art in representing human suffering, and the role of the artist as activist. In his art, Jaar has addressed topics such as state violence in Chile, the environmental and human costs of toxic waste, and genocide in Rwanda.

Jaar’s work has shown extensively around the world, including in four Venice Biennales, and he has staged more than sixty public interventions. His work can be found in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art and the Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in Los Angeles, the Tate in London, the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, and the Centro Reina Sofia in Madrid.

JUNCTURE engages artists, curators, critics, scholars, students, and human rights practitioners in a yearlong exploration of the rich intersections between art and artistic practices and international human rights. The initiative encompasses collaborations with professional artists and writers, MFA fellowships, a multidisciplinary graduate seminar, publications, public lectures, and a symposium.

As part of JUNCTURE, several sessions of the Spring Semester’s Human Rights Workshop: Current Issues and Events will be devoted to themes of art, literature, and human rights. These include Thomas Keenan, Associate Professor, Comparative Literature, and Director, Human Rights Project, Bard College, speaking on “Counter-Forensics and the Arts of Evidence” (February 11); Robert Barsky, Professor of English and French Literatures and Professor of Law, Vanderbilt University, on “Dirt, Filth, Infection, and Border Crossings: Rendering Human Beings 'illegal' and 'foreign' (February 25); Meredith Gamer, Postdoctoral Associate, Institute of Sacred Music, Yale University, on “The Sheriff's Picture Frame: The Art of Execution in Eighteenth-Century Britain” (March 3); and Adam Michnik, Founder and Editor-in-Chief, Gazeta Wyborcza, the leading Polish newspaper, and Tom and Andi Bernstein Human Rights Fellow, Yale Law School, on “Human Rights and Dissident Movements in East and Central Europe.”

The Schell Center’s annual Robert L. Bernstein International Human Rights Symposium on April 7 and 8 at the Law School will also address the connections between art and international human rights. Sessions will include discussions with each of JUNCTURE’s visiting artists; videoconferences with artists, gallery directors, and activists abroad who address such issues as the destruction of cultural property and the repression of artists; and panels addressing the efficacy of art as a means of human rights activism.

Read more about Jaar and JUNCTURE on the Initiative’s website.