Flash Points

Call for Writers: New Flash Points Topic

Hans Haacke, "Cowboy with Cigarette," 1990. Pasted paper, charcoal, ink, and frame, 37 x 31 x 2 3/8" (94 x 80 x 6 cm). Collection Joseph Lebon. Photo: courtesy John Weber Gallery, New York

Our new Flash Points topic, The Ethics of Art, will be launching soon and we’re inviting you to participate.  Intrigued?  Want to know more?  Keep reading!

This theme will look at the relationship between ethics and contemporary art.  Ethics are defined as “a system of moral principles” which constantly factor into the choices we make.  This can include something as personal as the creation of art, or as public as a museum’s mission statement.  These decisions can also become confused, especially when competing priorities are at work.  With the ever-shrinking gap between commerce and culture, the prioritization of good business over public service creates an increasingly blurry set of ethical guidelines for the art world. A few of the questions we’ll be exploring will include:

  • How does ethics factor into institutional practice?
  • How do artists address ethical issues in their work?
  • What kind of ethical decisions are made during the artistic process?
  • Are ethics emphasized in art education today?
  • Must art be ethical?

We are eager to hear from a range of perspectives, including those of you who work as artists, arts professionals, students, art educators, funders, organizers, and academics. Propose a Flash Points blog post related to the above topic and have a chance to be featured on this site. Email ideas and pitches to blog [at] art21 [dot] org.  Deadline is January 31st.


  1. David Yanez says:

    Dear Art:21,

    I would like to propose a Flash Points blog post entitled:

    You Are What You Read: When the Ethics of Art blurs the lines of Reason, Hypocrisy, and Mass Manipulation.

    I wrote this blog last year in response to Guillermo ‘Habacuc’ Vargas’s ‘Exposición No.1’ that took place in Galería Códice in Managua Nicaragua. The Costa Rican artist supposedly exhibited a tied up emaciated street dog in the gallery and starved it to death.
    The Internet was flooded with blogs of outraged people seeking to condemn the artist, and a petition was generated as well that called for the artist to be banned from exhibiting his work in an upcoming Central American Biennial. This petition had over 4 million signatures from people all over the world. The exhibit had enormous ethical implications on art and in my point of view is the most important and controversial art exhibit dealing with the topic of ethics in art.

    The present form of the blog can be shortened into more of a commentary format rather than the research format it is in now. Please take a look at my blog at:


    Thank you for your consideration,

    David Yanez

  2. Pingback: Writers Wanted (New York, Berlin, Flash Points) | Art21 Blog

Leave a Comment