Walker Art Center

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Lowercase P: Artists & Politics

In a campaign year, the media’s focus is mainly on Politics with a capital P and all it entails during the horse race of an election. This series is interested in another kind of politics—the lowercase p concerns about power, inequality, and participation—and ways that artists’ personal values interface with it. At the heart of this project is the firm belief that artists’ voices are vital in the conversation about creating a better society.

In This Series

VA

Paul Schmelzer

What Can Saddam Teach Us About Democracy?

Paul Chan is fully aware how strange it might seem to publish a book on Saddam Hussein’s 1970s speeches about democracy. But as an artist and publisher, Chan found the publication of On Democracy by Saddam Hussein “perversely… More

VA

Paul Schmelzer

JoAnn Verburg on Newspapers as Portals to the Political

JoAnn Verburg has featured newspapers in her photos since 1990, piercing idyllic scenes of her napping or lounging husband with news about poverty, war, and—in a work on view in the exhibition The… More

VA

Paul Schmelzer

Orbital Geography: Trevor Paglen’s Cave Painting for Space

If all goes as planned, the communications satellite EchoStar XVI will launch from Kazakhstan in October and reach a final orbit some 24,000 miles above the equator. On board will be a disk etched… More

EC

Yesomi Umolu

Eyal Weizman and Architecture as Political Intervention

Interested in a subjective, confrontational approach to architecture, Israeli writer-architect Eyal Weizman seeks to expand discourse in his field and put it in dialogue with disciplines like… More


FV

Dean Otto & Paul Schmelzer

A Bulwark Against Erasure: Jem Cohen’s Occupy Wall Street Newsreels

On September 17, 2011—the day the Occupy movement was born—Jem Cohen was there filming what would become his Gravity Hill Newsreels: Occupy Wall Street, which screened at New York’s IFC Center. A… More

VA

Brooke Kellaway

Homeland Security: Erik van Lieshout Searches for the Iraq War

Four years after the Iraq War started, Dutch artist Erik van Lieshout and a friend set out on a mission of their own: to track down evidence of the war. In LA, New Mexico, and, ultimately, Israel, the… More

PA

Philip Bither

Laurie Anderson: Stories from the Never-Ending War

Amid the clamor of Super PAC–powered politicians duking it out on a whole new level this election season, Laurie Anderson’s Dirtday! offers a timely, quietly powerful rejoinder. An artist who… More

EC

Paul Schmelzer

Gardening Between Hope and Doom: Fritz Haeg on Edible Estates

Confronting a symbol of the American Dream, Fritz Haeg will visit Minnesota in May to plant a garden in an unlikely place. Situated between “simultaneous, equally valid points of doom and hope,” his … More


VA

Brooke Kellaway

Letters to the Army of Three: Andrea Bowers on Abortion, Then and Now

In the years before Roe v. Wade passed in 1973, a trio of activists received a flood of letters from people seeking a list of doctors who provided safe abortions. Recognizing the continuing… More

PA

Paul Schmelzer

Forecasting Change: A Meteorologist and an Artist on the Climate Crisis

Paul Douglas considers himself an “albino unicorn.” A moderate Republican, he’s also a meteorologist who believes climate change is real. Music-theater artist Cynthia Hopkins decided to make art… More

PA

Paul Schmelzer

Visualizing American Power

Examining US energy production and use for five years, photographer Mitch Epstein became fascinated by a pun: “electrical power came from political power, which came from corporate power—and civic power met up against all that… More