Thomas Mann House: Arts in Times of Crises & The Role of Artists in Weakened Democracies

Thomas Mann House: Arts in Times of Crises & The Role of Artists in Weakened Democracies

Nicola L., Nous Voulons Entendre installed at Thomas Mann House Los Angeles for ‘Frieze Projects: Against the Edge’, curated by Jay Ezra for Frieze Los Angeles 2023. Photo by Paul Salveson. Courtesy of Frieze; Nicola L. Collection and Archive; and Alison Jacques, London.

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Stream: Saturday, 1:30PM (PT)

The Thomas Mann House Los Angeles, Zócalo Public Square, and Los Angeles Review of Books convene a program to discuss the role of artists and art in times of political and social crises in the United States and Germany. Through this international conference, which includes artistic interventions, performances, and conversations at REDCAT, experts, activists, cultural organizers, and artists explore how the arts can make a difference in a time of international crises, and how they can contribute to the functioning of democracies on a local and global level. 

The freedom of art and artistic expression is one of the imperatives of every democracy. What is the role of artists and art institutions when democracies come under pressure? Is it legitimate to speak about a political mandate of the arts? Today, against the backdrop of global geopolitical tensions, wars, and societal divisions in many Western democracies, art shows again its transformational power to connect, heal, subvert, and bring together. From the consumption of art to its production, from local debates on arts and community engagement to the recent revival of “artivism” — current debates around the world prove it necessary to ask what difference the arts can make in a time of social and political crisis. In what ways can artistic media, objects and projects, as well as the artists and cultural workers involved in their emergence, offer new ideas that address such crises?

The full schedule, list of speakers and panels will be announced soon.