Tania Bruguera “Every Gesture is a Political Act”

29.02.2016 / 7:00 p.m.
Cubberley Auditorium
485 Lasuen Mall. Stanford, United States.


Art and Social Criticism Lecture Series: Tania Bruguera “Every Gesture is a Political Act”

For over 25 years world-renowned artist Tania Bruguera has created socially-engaged performances and installations that examine the nature of political power structures and their effect on the lives of society’s most vulnerable individuals and groups. Her politically provocative works have tackled global issues of power, migration, censorship and repression through participatory works that turn “viewers” into “citizens.” For Bruguera art is a vehicle for questioning privilege and implementing dreams. She writes: “Art becomes political when it achieves actual results.”

Determined to take advantage of President Obama’s Dec. 17th, 2014 momentous announcement that Cuba and the U.S. would resume full relations, Bruguera soon left New York for Cuba. She had planned to restage her work on freedom of speech, Tatlin’s Whisper #5, at Plaza de la Revolución on December 30th, (originally performed in 2009 at the Havana Biennial). What happened next is a lesson in the consequences of this personal risk: her performance led to a series of arrests and detainments, inspiring museums and arts organizations around the world to stage there own versions of this compelling work.

From 2010-2015 Bruguera blurred the line between art and activism through her project Immigrant Movement International, (IMI), a conceptual artwork on immigrant rights which took the form of a community agency providing actual social services to immigrants and other transnational residents in Queens, New York. It was also the headquarters for the art project as global political movement, which was fueled by a global network of immigration rights activists. Bruguera has just begun her tenure as artist in residence for New York City in the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs. She lives and works in New York, New Haven and Havana.

Sponsored by:

The Program in American Studies, with co-sponsorship from the Stanford Arts Institute, the Department of Art & Art History, and the Cantor Arts Center.