Among Foreign Policy’s 100 Global Thinkers are 21 artists “bound by the belief that art serves a higher purpose,” including Cuban artists Tania Bruguera and María Magdalena Campos-Pons, playwright Suzan-Lori Parks, and Nigerian-American sculptor Adejoke Tugbiyele. Highlighted artists tackle issues from environmental pollution to the shortcomings of western culture. For her part, Bruguera tested the waters of free speech in Cuba by setting up a lectern in Havana’s Revolution Square and inviting members of the public to speak on any topic for one minute.
- “Be a newspaper photographer for the day.” For his art assignment, photographer Alec Soth asks viewers to go after a story not covered by the news media, through images and words—“the goal being getting access, because once you’re in there you can look for something unusual.”
- San Bernardino. Paris. Beirut. Charleston. What is art’s role in the face of unspeakable violence? Contributing to the Walker’s Artist Op-Eds series, Jack Whitten links his experiences growing up as “a product of American apartheid” to the deaths of so many, including Eric Garner, Aylan Kurdi, and Darren Goforth. “My art,” he writes, “is an antidote used to counteract this poison.”
- In a long-awaited shift in the curatorial habits of art institutions, “American museums are rewriting the history of 20th-century art to include black artists in a more visible and meaningful way than ever before, playing historical catch-up at full tilt,” writes the New York Times’ Randy Kennedy.
- “The most vibrant and vital images of the week… will be out of Paris,” writes Ben Davis. With the Paris climate talks concluding this week, a fair amount of protest has highlighted the gravity of the decisions being made. Much of this protest comes in the form of art. The UK collective Brandalism “tear[s] a page from the Situationist handbook,” hijacking some 600 outdoor ad spaces to run their own critically satirical ads. Meanwhile, activists barred from protesting due to security concerns following the recent terrorist attack, have left some 10,000 empty shoes in their place to bear witness to a changing climate.
- “This is how the young African furniture designers turn chaos and desolation into high-quality objects, which in their engaging aesthetic invite for a dialogue.” Italian designer Enzo Mari has given a refugee organization, Berlin’s CUCULA, rights to recreate and sell his Autoprogettazione furniture–a DIY collection from 1974 designed to be built using basic tools and materials–to raise funds for its refugee support program.