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Why Contemporary Art Matters: Politics and Aesthetics Today

Thurs, Feb 18, 2016
1–2:30 pm

Floor Three, Seminar Room, Laurie M. Tisch Education Center

This four-week course will contextualize and make sense of two seemingly disparate strands of contemporary art: on the one hand, work that speaks to urgent political and social realities and on the other, conceptually-driven practices that seem detached from current events. Looking at the Whitney’s exhibitions of Laura Poitras and Andrea Fraser alongside Flatlands, a group show of five emerging painters, and Collected by Thea Westreich Wagner and Ethan Wagner, this course will explore the intersections of these apparently divergent concerns and consider the ways that contemporary art truly can and does matter. This course will include a special session with an exhibiting artist.

Instructor: Meredith Mowder, a Joan Tisch Teaching Fellow at the Whitney Museum since 2013, is currently a PhD candidate in art history at The Graduate Center, CUNY, where she is writing her dissertation on performance art’s migration into the sphere of entertainment in New York City during the 1980s. She has published essays on the intersections between art and music in the postwar period and has taught courses on contemporary art and sound art at Hunter College and Parsons, The New School.

Registration is now closed. For general inquiries and information related to the course, please email

The Museum building is accessible and has elevator access to all floors. Service animals are welcome. Learn more about access services and amenities.



A 30-second online art project:
LaTurbo Avedon, Morning Mirror / Evening Mirror

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All visitors aged 12 and older must show proof they have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine for admission to the Whitney, in accordance with NYC requirements. Visitors aged 18 and older will also be asked to show photo ID. Face coverings are required for all visitors. Learn more about the Whitney’s safety guidelines.