Aruna D’Souza, Writing in the Reparative Mode
Monday, November 26, 2018
6:30 to 8pm
Aruna D’Souza delivered the twelfth annual AICA-USA Distinguished Critic Lecture in partnership with the Vera List Center for Art and Politics. When she returned to art writing two years ago, after a five-year absence, Aruna D’Souza decided she would like her approach to the task to atone for past failures—failures of politics, of style, of generosity. She had just read Ta-Nehisi Coates’ “A Case for Reparations” and began to wonder what, in the era of Black Lives Matter and #SayHerName, a reparative mode of criticism might look like. Her talk explored some of her thinking—and set out some further questions about what art criticism might offer in our urgent political moment.
The AICA-USA Distinguished Critic Lecture at The New School is an annual celebration of an exemplary writer whose lecture addresses seminal issues in contemporary art criticism. Previous lecturers have been Michael Brenson, Linda Nochlin, Roberta Smith, Holland Cotter, Peter Schjeldahl, Michelle Kuo, Lucy Lippard, Carolyn Christoph-Bakargiev, Naomi Beckwith, Negar Azimi and, most recently, Paul Chaat Smith.
The lecture is organized by the U.S. chapter of the International Association of Art Critics in partnership with the Vera List Center for Art and Politics. The collaboration fuses AICA-USA’s dedication to art criticism as a rigorous discipline with the Vera List Center’s commitment to discourse on how the visual and performing arts respond to some of the most pressing social and political issues of our time. The organizations’ robust partnership is amplified through the Vera List New School Art Collection Writing Awards, an educational program that supports the creative and critical thinking of New School students, inviting them to write about any of the 2,000 works in the university’s art collection with the editorial oversight of a member of the AICA community.