“Is Politics Art?” Revisited

In 1975, Robert Walker, a photographer and member of l’Insurrection Art Company, created Is Politics Art?. The work is a series of 15 black and white photographs, displayed in a grid format. Each one features Walker, shaking hands with various museum directors, curators, artists, critics, funders and other key art world figures at a vernissage. The paparazzi style photography, and the overlaid titles that emphasize who’s who, are reminiscent of scandal sheets published in newspapers of the time. As the basis of my MA thesis work in Art Education at Concordia University, I will explore the continuing resonance of the thematics of Walker’s piece in contemporary visual practice and the arts community, the degree to which 'politics' may still be 'art', and the extent to which visual art may convey knowledge - or not. To do so, I will remake Is Politics Art? from a contemporary position, using video in place of still photography. My methodological approach combines two phases of qualitative interviews, ethnography, historical analysis and research-creation. This Tumblr will act as a repository for the media files associated with the project, a research journal, and a way to share my process with my thesis committee, project participants, family, and friends. Thank you to Robert Walker for graciously allowing me to revivify his work.

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