9-17-2009 Fred Evans

Center for Interpretive and Qualitative Research (CIQR -- "seeker")*

Date: Sept. 17 (Thurs.), 2009, 4:30-6:00PM, 240 Rangos School of Health Science (RSHS), Duquesne University.

Presenter: Professor Fred Evans, Dept. of Philosophy, Duquesne University.

Bio: Fred Evans is Professor of Philosophy and Coordinator for the Center of Interpretive and Qualitative Research at Duquesne University. He is the author of The Multi-Voiced Body: A Philosophy of Society and Communication in the Age of Diversity* (New York: Columbia University Press, 2009) Psychology and Nihilism: A Genealogical Critique of the Computational Model of Mind (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1993), and co-editor of Chiasms: Merleau-Ponty's Notion of Flesh (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 2000). He has also published numerous articles and book chapters on various continental thinkers in relation to issues concerning psychology, politics, and technology. He is currently working on a new book, provisionally entitled Voices of Democracy: Citizenship and Public Art and focusing on Chicago's Millennium Park and New York's 9/11/01 memorial.

Title: "Citizenship and Public Art: Chicago's Millennium Park"

Abstract: In the United States, government supported public art is traditionally assumed to be an act of citizenship, that is, supportive of values associated with democracy. However, many pieces of public art that trumpet democratic values also serve autocratic forces. For example, critics contend that Chicago's heavily corporate-sponsored Millennium Park "naturalizes" the interests of capital and reduces art to the status of "spectacle" or "wow aesthetics." Although this criticism is compelling, I argue that a close analysis of Millennium Park suggests that we should see the Park as sharing a structure similar to that of society itself - what I call a multivoiced body - and its art works as examples of relational aesthetics, of an aesthetics that prioritizes the mutual effects of viewers and art objects upon each other. This approach permits us to clarify more precisely the sense in which Millennium Park supports capital and wow art. But it also allows us to see that at least some of the Park's art objects, particularly Anish Kapoor's Cloud Gate, resist these totalizing oracles and embody a novel sense of democracy. I argue, in other words, that Millennium Park suggests a notion of democracy for judging the Park and other public art as both aesthetic objects and acts of citizenship.

All interested faculty, graduate students, and other parties are invited. Refreshments will be served.

For inquiries concerning CIQR, please contact the Center Coordinator, Fred Evans, Dept. of Philosophy, evansf@duq.edu, 396-6507, or access the CIQR website, www.ciqr.duq.edu .

*The Center has been officially approved by the Dean of the College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts, The Graduate Council of the College, and the Council of Deans for the University. It is based in the College but open to members of all the schools of the University. It includes interpretive and qualitative research in both the humanities and the social and behavioral sciences (including the practice of the latter in Nursing, Education, Occupational Therapy and other professional schools).