Flash Points

Call for Flash Points Writers | The New Culture Wars: What’s at Stake?


David Wojnarowicz, "Fire," 1987. Synthetic polymer paint and pasted paper on plywood, two panels, 6 x 8 feet (182.9 x 243.8 cm). Gift of Agnes Gund and Barbara Jakobson Fund. © 2011 Estate of David Wojnarowicz. Courtesy the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

In connection with Ideas, a new section of Art21’s website that will explore a single theme in depth over a period of several months, the Art21 Blog is calling for essays for our latest Flash Points series. The inaugural edition of Ideas looks at The Culture Wars, Redux in the context of the seemingly endless number of controversies that have engulfed the art world over the past several years–from Ai Wei Wei’s April 2011 detention by Chinese authorities, the National Portrait Gallery’s removal of David Wojnarowicz’s video A Fire in My Belly, and MoCA Los Angeles’s whitewashing of a mural by the artist Blu, to the United States House of Representative’s Spending Reduction Act of 2011, a bill which proposed to end the National Endowments for the Arts and for the Humanities (fortunately the crisis was averted, though both agencies experienced budget cuts of 7.5% each). The October, 2011 print edition of Art in America also pointed to the rise of art censorship and vandalism across the world in an article titled “The Global Culture War” written by Eleanor Heartney.

In many ways, the questions asked in The Culture Wars, Redux circle back to the blog’s very first Flash Points question “What’s so shocking about contemporary art?” We’d like to continue the discussion, while re-contextualizing it within our current cultural climate, by asking “What’s at stake in the new culture wars?”  We encourage you to explore the essays, images, and video materials that are collected in Ideas, and to respond by proposing a Flash Points essay sparked by an idea of your own.

We are eager to hear from a range of perspectives from those of you who work as artists, arts professionals, students, art educators, funders, organizers, and academics. If you’d like to write a piece for Flash Points, please email your ideas and pitches to blog [at] art21 [dot] org with the subject heading FLASH POINTS PROPOSAL. We look forward to hearing from you!