PRESS Harn Museum of Art
View Fashioning Kimono: Art Deco and Modernism in Japan before it closes May 17

Back to press releases

March 26, 2010

Bookmark and Share

Harn Museum of Art to Host Symposium Exploring the Intersection of Art and Democracy

Eminent Scholars from Around the World to Gather at the Harn

GAINESVILLE, Fla. —International scholars will convene at the Harn Museum of Art at the University of Florida this April to discuss the dynamic interchange between art and politics. The symposium, free and open to the public, will be held on April 9 and 10 and will include presentations by intellectual historian François Cusset, Claire Bishop and Tim Griffin, among others. “Art and Democracy,” presented in conjunction with Project Europa: Imagining the (Im)Possible, will address the relationship of art and artists to democracy, and the ways that artists mediate the vital and critical political issues of their time.

“This symposium brings together eight eminent scholars who will explore the nuanced and complex juncture of art and politics,” said Kerry Oliver-Smith, curator of contemporary art. “The event will provide an exciting forum for the exchange of ideas, questions and proposals relevant to art, politics and everyday life.”

The symposium will begin with a speech by keynote speaker François Cusset at 6 p.m. on April 9. Cusset is a professor of American studies at the University of Paris. He is an intellectual historian whose body of work includes the critically acclaimed "French Theory: How Foucault, Derrida, Deleuze, & Co. Transformed the Intellectual Life of the United States" (University of Minnesota Press, 2008).

“Art and Democracy” will continue on April 10 with lectures by numerous scholars from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Featured speakers include Alex Alberro, Virginia Bloedel Wright Associate Professor of Art History at Barnard College at Columbia University; Nora Alter, professor of film and media studies at the University of Florida; Claire Bishop, associate professor of art history in the Graduate Center at the City University of New York; T.J. Demos, lecturer in the Department of History of Art at University College London; Tim Griffin, editor–in-chief of the magazine Artforum; Maria Hlavajova, curator and artistic director of basis voor actuele kunst (BAK) in the Netherlands; and Shepherd Steiner, visiting assistant professor in modern and contemporary art at the University of Florida.

The symposium, organized by Kerry Oliver-Smith and Alex Alberro, will offer a deeper understanding of the works on display in Project Europa: Imagining the (Im)Possible. The exhibition questions the promise and potential of Europe’s democratic dream 20 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall. The exhibition features large-scale wall paintings, photography and video by artists such as Francis Alÿs, Fikret Atay, Kader Attia, Maja Bajevic, Yto Barrada, Tacita Dean, Beate Gütschow, Jens Haaning, Susan Hefuna, Eva Leitolf, Aernout Mik, Marcel Odenbach, Dan Perjovschi, Marjetica Potrč, Andrea Robbins and Max Becher, Bruno Serralongue, Superflex and Lidwien Van de Ven. The exhibition will be on view at the Harn Museum until May 9.

The symposium is co-sponsored by the following University of Florida entities: Harn Eminent Scholar Chair in Art History, School of Art + Art History, Center for European Studies, Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere, France-Florida Research Institute and the International Center.

For more information, visit or call 352-392-9826.

Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art
Founded in 1990, the Harn Museum of Art is an integral part of the University of Florida. The Harn contributes to an interconnected, international community by integrating the arts and culture into curricula throughout the university’s system of colleges and centers. Its holdings include nearly 7,000 works in five main collecting areas: Asian art, African art, photography, modern art of the Americas and Europe, and contemporary art. In addition to rotating installations drawn from its permanent collection, the Harn organizes traveling exhibitions, public lectures, panel discussions, academic symposia and educational programs for adults, students and children. In 2011, the Harn will open the 26,000-square-foot David A. Cofrin Asian Art Wing, which will feature two levels of galleries, curatorial and conservation space, and a series of outdoor Asian gardens.

The Harn Museum, at Southwest 34th Street and Hull Road in Gainesville, Fla., is part of the University of Florida’s Cultural Plaza, which is also home to the Florida Museum of Natural History and the Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. Admission is free. Hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday. The museum is open until 9 p.m. the second Thursday of every month for Museum Nights. The Camellia Court Café is open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information call 352-392-9826 or visit

Media contact :
Tami Wroath
Harn Museum of Art
(352) 392-9826 x2116

E-NEWS University of Florida
OPEN Tues - Fri, 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. | Sat, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. | Sun, 1 - 5 p.m.
VISIT 3259 Hull Road • Gainesville, Florida 32611-2700 MAP IT
PHONE 352.392.9826
site map

All Rights Reserved © 2008 Harn Museum of Art
site created by Big Media Studios