Walker Art Center

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The Spectacle of Death: The Role of Disaster and Tragedy in Shaping Community



What does a 1963 silkscreen covered with repeated images of a gruesome car wreck have to tell us during times when we see enough suffering and tragedyfrom prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib to the victims of tsunamis, hurricanes, and terrorist attacksto fill a 24-hour news cycle? Using Andy Warhols work as a springboard, this forum explore ways that man-made and natural disasters shape culture. Addressing the ethical questions related to the use of images of calamity and death, panelists will ask: Are endlessly multiplied pictures of tragedy robbed of their power to haunt, or do they remain potent enough to generate empathy and moral outrage despite their ubiquity? Moderated by Timothy Mennel, former managing editor of Artforum magazine and an urban studies instructor at the University of Minnesota.

This program, part of the Walker Art Centers Civic Engagement Initiative to encourage dialogue around topics of importance to the community, is made possible in part by generous support from the Bush Foundation.