Alfredo Jaar is one the most compelling and innovative voices of his generation. Since the 1980s, Jaar has staged politicized interventions in public spaces that invite the Western world to consider the grave consequences of its frequent indifference toward suffering in the developing world. Subjects for his installations and performances have included the international response to the Rwandan genocide and the fraught nature of the Mexico-US border, among others.
Jaar’s talk at The New School will address the artist’s many public interventions, including one of his most iconic artworks, “A Logo For America,” which the artist premiered in 1987 as part of Public Art Fund’s Messages to the Public series. This early digital artwork transposed a series of texts over images, among them the declaration “THIS IS NOT AMERICA’S FLAG” over an image of the United States’ flag on a billboard in the heart of Times Square. His criticism of American domination of South America stirred controversy, yet his activation of public space with this moving artwork was a powerful form of social action that grappled with the implication of boundaries. Accordingly, this topic and Jaar’s subsequent artwork are more relevant in today’s political climate than ever before.