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Curatorial Counterspeech: how to manage dangerous art

Tuesday, February 2, 2021, 3:30 pm – 5:10 pm

In June 2020, Bristol City Council retrieved the statue of Edward
Colston from the depths of Bristol Harbour, after it was toppled into
the water by Black Lives Matter protestors. The council now plan to
install the statue in the city’s museum collection. The decision to
house the statue in a museum, and the widespread uncertainty about the
many remaining statues of figures who benefited from the slave trade,
raises questions about dangerous art and ethical curation. How should we
manage such harmful works? Ought they be censored, or is there a more
creative way to deal with them? In this talk I will explore how artworks
might be a form of ‘hate speech’, and how certain curatorial strategies
might function as a form of visual ‘counterspeech’, which disarms the
power of sexist and racist artworks.