September 8, 2008 - Vera List Center for Art and Politics, Parsons The New School for Design - Branding Democracy
September 8, 2008

Branding Democracy

Parsons The New School for Design,
in collaboration with The Vera List Center
for Art and Politics, presents

Branding Democracy

www.newschool.edu/events

www.newschool.edu/johnsondesigncenter

“Ours: Democracy in the Age of Branding”
October 16, 2008 – February 1, 2009
The Sheila C. Johnson Design Center
Parsons The New School for Design

66 Fifth Avenue at 13th Street, New York City

Simon Critchley, Inaugural Lecture on Branding Democracy
“Barack Obama and the American Void”

Thursday, September 18, 6:30 p.m.
The New School, Theresa Lang Community and Student Center
55 West 13th Street, 2nd floor, New York City

On the eve of the U.S. presidential elections, Parsons The New School for Design, in collaboration with the Vera List Center for Art and Politics at The New School, presents an international, interdisciplinary exhibition investigating democracy as a global brand. Ours: Democracy in the Age of Branding inaugurates the first fall season at The Sheila C. Johnson Design Center, Parsons’ new venue for art and design programming. The exhibition is curated by Carin Kuoni, director of the Vera List Center, and features an international roster of over forty emerging and established contemporary artists, including Yael Bartana, Erick Beltran, Paul Chan, Aleksandra Domanovic, Liam Gillick, and Judi Werthein, and an extensive array of performances, workshops, and new commissions.

Ours: Democracy in the Age of Branding examines the desires generated and promoted by democracy as a brand—such as choice, participation, freedom of expression, a sense of belonging, and the promise of individual success, all embodied in the notion of “liberty”—and looks at how and where these desires find fulfillment or are displaced. The exhibition also investigates both aesthetic and political systems of representation developed in response to these desires, as well as those power structures that run parallel to a democratic government. The online component for the exhibition has been curated by Marisa Olson.

Inaugural Lecture: Barack Obama and the American Void
In conjunction with the exhibition, the Vera List Center for Art and Politics is dedicating its annual programming to the theme of Branding Democracy. The inaugural lecture is delivered by Simon Critchley, professor of philosophy at The New School for Social Research and at University of Essex, Colchester, United Kingdom. His research focuses on the history of philosophy, literature, ethics, and politics.

In keeping with this political moment, Critchley will approach the subject of democracy through the current presidential elections and focus on one of the candidates: entitled “Barack Obama and the American Void,” Critchley’s lecture will examine Obama’s subjectivity, the existential detachment that seems to haunt him, and its relation to democracy. Obama as the ultimate brand.

For more information on the lecture, visit www.newschool.edu/events

For more information on the exhibition, visit www.newschool.edu/johnsondesigncenter

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