Future Events:

November 8, 7pm Benjamin Kunkel

Benjamin Kunkel on Steady-State Aesthetics

Modern and contemporary art is, needless to say, a phenomenon of recent centuries; the same is true of sustained economic growth, a condition historically unheard-of before modern times and one pursued as an explicit political objective only since World War II. Economic growth clearly belongs among the fundamental features of modernity, and, without it, the compulsion to novelty characteristic of much art since the Industrial Revolution is difficult to imagine. And yet there exists virtually no reflection on growth as a basis of modern and contemporary art and aesthetics. In his lecture “Steady-State Aesthetics,” Benjamin Kunkel offers a set of provocative theses on our default aesthetic of endless growth—a way of seeing so habitual that we don’t see it­—and the different kind of art-making which might emerge in a society that no longer grows economically, even as it continues to develop artistically and otherwise. Ecological economists speak of  “steady-state economics” to describe such a post-growth condition: what might a steady-state aesthetics look like?

This event is free and open to the public and will take place at The Artist’s Institute, 132 E. 65th Street. Seating is limited and is first come, first served. A recording of the talk will be made available online by the following Saturday. 

November 12, 3pm, RSVP Milford Graves

Heartbeat Concert

Event details forthcoming. We are not yet taking reservations.

Past Events:

October 15, 3pm, RSVP Milford Graves

Heartbeat Concert

Milford Graves doesn’t play the drums to keep time for the band. Emerging in the 1960s as a free jazz pioneer, he opened up percussion to a no-holds-barred celebration of its full vibratory potential. Graves latest work establishes a connection between the vibrations of the drums and the rhythms of the human heart, something he calls “biological music, a synthesis of the physical and mental, a mind-body deal.”

On Sunday, October 15th, The Artists Institute will present a concert and live recording of Milford Graves playing with William Parker and Shahzad Ismaily. As part of this historic event, Graves will speak about his relationship to vibration and music, incorporating his sculpture Beyond Polymath and the beating of a human heart.

This event is sold out. Tickets for the November 12 concert will go on sale on November 1.

September 27, 7pm Benjamin Kunkel

Benjamin Kunkel and Gopal Balakrishnan on the End of Economic Growth

Economic growth must continue. Economic growth must end. If an aporia occurs when we subscribe to contradictory propositions at the same time, this may be the great aporia of our time. Economic growth must continue; if it doesn’t, businesses stop investing, unemployment swells, and social cohesion crumbles. Unfortunately, it’s no less obvious that economic growth must stop; if the production and consumption of more and more goods, for more and more people, proceeds unchecked, environmental ruin is assured. Near stagnation across wealthy countries over the past decade presents growthlessness as an incipient capitalist hell. At the same time, a steady-state economy—one that no longer grows in its ecological dimensions—may offer the last best hope for socialism.

Political thinker Gopal Balakrishnan will join Benjamin Kunkel to discuss the end of economic growth as both a utopian and a dystopian prospect on Wednesday, September 27th at 7pm at the Artist’s Institute, 132 E. 65th Street.

Gopal Balakrishnan is a professor in the History of Consciousness Department at the University of California, Santa Cruz and is on the Editorial Committee of the New Left Review. He has just completed a book on Marx’s Capital.

September 19, 6pm–8pm Nina Canell

Exhibition Opening

The Artist’s Institute’s thirteenth season opens with an exhibition by Nina Canell; sculpture and recordings from Milford Graves; and a steady-state library and bookstore organized by Benjamin Kunkel. This event will take place at the Artist’s Institute, 132 E. 65th Street.