Tactical Irrelevance: Art and Politics at Play


  • Sarah Kanouse


Questions about the relation of art and politics often become more urgent in moments of political turmoil and crisis. The present-day context of neoliberal globalization and militaristic neoconservativism has prompted many artists to abandon representational politics and the fostering of dialog in favor of intervening more directly in social relations. In this paper, an artist discusses her own work through the lens of Jacques Ranciere's philosophical writings on aesthetics and politics. The question of artistic autonomy-long considered antithetical to radical or committed art-s-is reframed as a privileged position from which foundational assumptions about what the political field is can be challenged and reformulated.

Author Biography

Sarah Kanouse

Sarah Kanouse is an interdisciplinary artist examining citizenship, public space, landscape, and historical memory through arts practice, writing, and occasional curatorial work. In the last few years, her work has appeared in exhibitions mounted by Artlink (Belgrade, Serbia); Institute for Quotidian Arts and Letters(Milwaukee); Columbia College (Chicago); Women's Caucus for Art (Barnard College, New York); SOFA Gallery (Indiana University), Kupfer Center (University of Wisconsin Madison), Centro Cultural Rosa Luxemburg (Buenos Aires, Argentina), among others. Sarah's writing have been published in the Journal of Aesthetics and Protest, Acme, Critical Planning and Art Journal.