Politics and Contemporary Art


1) To understand the processes through which the relations between politics and art differently permeate
contemporary art production 2) Considering a selection of reference examples, to analyse the unfolding of the relations/tensions between art and politics from the avantgardes to the present
3) To be familiar with, and understand, the main critical and theoretical discourses, produced in the second half
of the 20th century, that problematize the relations between art and politics
4) To examine the articulations between artistic production and institutional politics in different historical and
cultural contexts
5) To apply the acquired knowledge and to develop critical abilities by discussing a selection of theoretical texts and by writing a short essay.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Available soon


Weekly - 3 letivas + 1 tutorial

Total - Available soon

Teaching language



1. C. Harrison, P. Wood (eds). Art in theory, 19001990. An anthology of changing ideas, Cambridge Mass., Blackwell, 1993.
2.T.J. Clark. Farewell to an idea. Episodes from a history of Modernism, New Haven, London, Yale University
Press, 1999.
3. S. BuckMorss. Dreamworld and catastrophe. The passing of mass utopia in the east and west, Cambridge
Mass., London, MIT Press, 2000.
4 M. Acciaiuoli. Exposições do Estado Novo: 19341940, Lisboa, Livros Horizonte, 1998.
5. C. Greenberg. Art and culture: critical essays, Boston, Beacon Press, 1989.
6. B. Groys. Art Power, Cambridge Mass., London, MIT Press, 2008.
7. A. Huyssen, Present Pasts. Urban palimpsests and the politics of memory, Stanford, Stanford University
Press, 2003.
8. A. Giunta, Avantgarde, internationalism and politics. Argentine art in the sixties, Durham, Duke University
Press, 2007.
3. C. Bishop. Radical Museology, Koln, Walther Konig, 2013.
7. J. Rancière, The Politics of Aesthetics, London, New York, Continuum, 2009.

Teaching method

This curricular unit is based on sessions that regularly combine an exposition component and a group debate
that addresses each topic of the programme. The aim of this methodology is to deepen and consolidate the
acquired knowledge and ensure the students critical and active involvement in the discussion of referential
texts previously selected by the teacher.

Evaluation method

The final evaluation is based both on the students performance concerning the preparation and participation in
the regular class debates (30%), and on the development of an individual final essay (70%).

Subject matter

1) Avantgarde, politics and transgression in Europe: Futurism, Dada and Surrealism
2) Soviet Union: Constructivism VS Socialist Realism. Politics and visuality.
3) The debate on the social role of art in the United States. The positions of Meyer Shapiro, Alfred Barr and
Clement Greenberg
4) Art in the context of dictatorship and political oppression: Germany, Italy and Portugal
5) May 1968: impact and ressonances in the European and North American artistic scenes
6) Art and politics during the Cold War: the case of Latin America
7) Art, memory and power in contemporary artistic production
8) Rethinking the museum in the present
9) Current perspectives: artistic production, conflict and globalization


Programs where the course is taught: