Who decides what is publicly memorialized?
What happens when our collective thinking about a person, event, or issue changes? How do we “undo” a past memorialization and decide what may come in its place? What happens when the physical existence of a place or event is lost? How can we make visible these hidden or unspoken histories?
Keynote lecturer Dread Scott is a visual artist whose work is exhibited across the US and internationally. In 1989, while he was a student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, his art became the center of national controversy for its transgressive use of the American flag. President George H. W. Bush called his art “disgraceful,” and the entire US Senate denounced and outlawed the work. Dread became part of a landmark Supreme Court case when he and others defied the federal law outlawing his art by burning flags on the steps of the US Capitol. In 2019, he presented Slave Rebellion Reenactment, a community-engaged project that reenacted the largest rebellion of enslaved people in US history.
Cohosted by the Cleveland Museum of Art (CMA) and Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) through their joint program in art history, the Keithley Symposium is a biennial event that brings together artists, scholars, thought leaders, and community members to explore the role of visual arts in contemporary society.