Arts, sciences and humanities build healthier, more livable, vital communities. They are essential to a strong education system. They contribute enormously to our economy.
For most of the Twentieth Century, there have been artists and works of art that have confronted us with cruelty, either in their subject matter, attitude or methodology. Artists like Francis Bacon (shown here); Antonin Artaud; Santiago Sierra; Otto Muel; Chris Burden; Sylvia Plath; Kara Walker and Jenny Holzer. Some of these works are violent and repugnant, but time and again artists and writers have asked us to look at or read these works. Works that seem to cross a line of our basic sense of humanity and decency. But will contemplation of these cruel works also make us cruel? What are we to make of these works? Do we need them? What about artwork that appears to exploit their subject or audience? These very difficult and complex questions are the subject for tonight’s interview with writer, teacher and critic MAGGIE NELSON who will be discussing her new book THE ART OF CRUELTY: A RECKONING. Nota bene: some of the works discussed in tonight’s show are violent or graphic