Books- Social Works: Performing Art, Supporting Public by Shannon Jackson

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At a time when art world critics and curators heavily debate the social, and when community organizers and civic activists are reconsidering the role of aesthetics in social reform, this book makes explicit some of the contradictions and competing stakes of contemporary experimental art-making.Social Works is an interdisciplinary approach to the forms, goals and histories of innovative social practice in both contemporary performance and visual art. Shannon Jackson uses a range of case studies and contemporary methodologies to mediate between the fields of visual and performance studies. The result is a brilliant analysis that not only incorporates current political and aesthetic discourses but also provides a practical understanding of social practice.

Shannon Jackson is the director of the Arts Research Center at UC-Berkeley, where she is the Chancellor’s Professor of Rhetoric and of Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies.   Her research focuses on performance in relation to social reform (Lines of Activity) and in relation to the disciplines and higher education (Professing Performance). A new book on performance in contemporary art is just out (Social Works), and she is currently working on  new media performance as well (The Builders Association: New Media for Old Theatre).

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