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Tania Bruguera & Asociación de Arte Útil

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Tania Bruguera & Asociación de Arte Útil
Exterior view of Escuela de Arte Útil project, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 2017. Courtesy Association of Arte Útil
Tania Bruguera & Asociación de Arte Útil
Photo: Claudio Fuentes
For more than twenty-five years, Tania Bruguera has created socially engaged performances and installations that examine the nature of political power structures and their effect on the lives of constituents. Her works often expose the social effects of political forces and present global issues of power, migration, censorship, and repression through participatory projects that turn viewers into “citizens.” Bruguera is a recipient of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Honoris Causa and was named one of the Hundred Leading Global Thinkers by Foreign Policy magazine. She recently opened the Hannah Arendt International Institute for Artivism in Havana—a school, exhibition space, and think tank enabling collaboration between activist artists and everyday Cubans. In collaboration with museums and art institutions worldwide, Bruguera initiated the Asociación de Arte Útil, an international network that promotes the usefulness of art and its integration into everyday life through research, workshops, and other programs.

Born 1968, Havana, Cuba; lives and works in New York, USA
Established 2011, New York, USA; Eindhoven, the Netherlands; and Coniston, England

Biennial Project

Arte Útil Archive, 2019
Mixed-media installation
Courtesy the artist and the Asociación de Arte Útil

Artist Tania Bruguera explains arte útil as “an idea of art as a tool for social change.” Initiated by Bruguera, the Asociación de Arte Útil is an expanding international network of people and activities promoting this idea. It exists primarily as a growing online archive of hundreds of case studies from around the world that exemplify the concept in such contexts as urban development, science, economy, environment, and education; it also lives through related exhibitions, meetings, and exchanges. This iteration of the Arte Útil Archive takes place in the former library of the historic Hull-House, reactivating it as a hub for neighborhood groups, artists, and activists seeking social progress and knowledge exchange. Hull-House is itself a case study in the Arte Útil Archive for its long-standing commitment to public health, education, free speech, fair labor practices, and immigrants’ rights. Its building is even an example of architecture as useful art, as it provided the space for the activation of Hull-House’s mission. A related educational program at the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum maps out Chicago-based projects that will soon be added to the Arte Útil Archive as new case studies.

Arte Útil Archive is located at the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum
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