A Feather or Two

Tania BrugueraTania Bruguera; photo by Tony Martin © Wales News Service and with a tip of the hat to Hyperallergic

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This news just arrived in the e-mail box: “The Museum of Modern Art has acquired Tania Bruguera’s Untitled (Havana 2000), a major performance and video installation that was conceived for and shown at the VII Bienal de La Habana in 2000.”

This is a feather in the cap for (pace MOMA) “one of the foremost figures in contemporary art”. Actually, make that the second feather: Bruguera has been selected as the first artist-in-residence for the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs.

Come again? Even the Times blinked at this “unusual” appointment, one that entails “recruit[ing] undocumented immigrants for the city’s highly popular new municipal identification-card program, IDNYC.”

Forget aesthetics–how politically efficacious is it to appoint an artist who has previously exhibited an alarming lack of empathy for her constituency? Here are some thoughts on one artist’s self-involvement and the delusions it can foster.

© 2015 Mario Naves

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