UNFORGIVING ART? UNFORGIVABLE NATION? — Paul Chan — Robert Hullot-Kentor — New School

Topic(s): In Conversation | No Comments

Date/Time: 26/01/2006 12:00 am

Artist Paul Chan in a conversation
with philosopher Robert Hullot-Kentor
Thursday, January 26, 2006, 6:30 PM
The New School, Wollman Hall, 66 West 12th Street, 5th floor
Admission: $10, free for students with valid ID
Information: 212.229.2436
PDF flyer link: http://www.nationalphilistine.com/press/Unforgiving_art.pdf
Philosopher Theodor Adorno, responding in his time to the horrors of fascism and
world war, described art as holding the promise of happiness, but only if it
ruthlessly exposes politics as a language devoid of utopian potential.
Artist Paul Chan and philosopher Robert Hullot-Kentor address the problem of what
art can be in our time. The idea of forgiveness is central to such a discussion.
Given the horrors of new wars and environmental destruction, can art help reconcile
differences and mitigate conflicts? Or is art, in its formal beauty, a cruel
reminder of how difficult true reconciliation is? Is the aesthetics of Adorno the
key to unlocking this dialectic of an unforgiving art and an unforgivable nation?
Paul Chan
Robert Hullot-Kentor
Paul Chan’s installation and video work have been featured at the Museum of Modern
Art in New York, the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, and the Institute of Contemporary
Art in Boston. He was included in The 54th Carnegie International in Pittsburgh, the
2005 Lyon Biennale in France, and the 2005 Guangzhou Triennial in China. His work
has also been selected for the forthcoming Whitney Biennial 2006.
Chan has worked with the Teamsters, Indymedia, and most recently, the Nobel peace
prized nominated group Voices in the Wilderness and their campaign against the war
(and now occupation) in Iraq. In December 2002 he traveled to Baghdad as a member of
Voices. More recently, Chan collaborated with the collective Friends of William
Blake to produce The People’s Guide to the Republican National Convention, a free
foldout map detailing everything a protester needed to get in or out of the way
during the RNC in New York.
Robert Hullot-Kentor has taught philosophy, literature and the arts at Boston
University, Harvard, Stanford and-currently-at Long Island University. He is the
translator of several of T. W. Adorno’s major works including Aesthetic Theory. He
has written extensively on Adorno and has been a contributing editor to Adorno’s
Collected Writings. He writes occasionally on the visual arts.
Three new books are appearing this spring and fall: a new translation of Adorno’s
Philosophy of New Music (University of Minnesota Press), a reconstruction of
Adorno’s Current of Music (Suhrkamp Verlag and Polity Press)-the study of the
transformation of music in radio broadcast on which Adorno worked while he lived in
New York City in the late 1930’s-and a collection of Hullot-Kentor’s own essays,
Origin is the Goal: Collected Essays on T. W. Adorno (Columbia University Press).
Presented by the Vera List Center for Art and Politics at The New School as part of
its year-long program, “Considering Forgiveness.”

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