Aesthetics, Social Equity, and Modern-Day Vigilantes: An Interview w/ Ken Gonzales-Day.


Grabarczyk-Turner, Jen. Aesthetics, Social Equity, and Modern-Day Vigilantes:An Interview w/ Ken Gonzales-Day., 26 Oct. 2015, Seattle.

— Excerpt:

“The Other Journal interviews internationally recognized artist Ken Gonzales-Day about his recent project Run Up, his perspective on historically constructed systems of race and representation, and his posture of bearing witness to traumatic cultural realities through his work.

The Other Journal (TOJ): Your work has a reputation for addressing controversial and challenging subject matter, both through image and through word. What has been your impulse, or perhaps your influence, to make work in this direction?

Ken Gonzales-Day (KGD): That’s a great question because there are so many different ways to answer it. In hindsight, even though I have always tried to create works that critically engage with history, art history, and Western assumptions about human difference, I also have to admit that the many years I spent working on the history of lynching in California have probably changed me forever.

As a practicing artist, I am interested in aesthetics and social equity, and I often produce projects that question the construction of race, notions of beauty, and the interdependence of whiteness and modernity (or the avant-garde) in the twentieth century. Like many artists, research is a big part of my studio practice, as well as my teaching, lectures, articles, and other published works. So it is not uncommon for my work to be related to a specific historic, conceptual, or aesthetic question. That is not to say the work is didactic; rather, that like formalist, conceptual, or relational aesthetic models, there are visual or cultural cues from which to enter a given work or body of work. Acknowledging the work of Dr. Juli Carson at the University of California in Irvine, my work often takes the form of a “proposition,” which invites the viewer to engage, to question a priori assumptions, and to encourage a shared or potentially sharable experience…”

Click to read full interview: The Other Jounal









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