Image: Postcommodity, courtesy San Francisco Art Institute
Free, Talks

Public Art and Ethics Today

Thursday, Feb 6, 2020

7 p.m.

Koret Education Center, Floor 2

This event is at capacity. Rush tickets may be available 30 minutes prior to the start of the event on a first-come, first-served basis.

Meet us at SFMOMA and around the Bay for Local Affairs, a series dedicated to local arts communities. Join us as we celebrate Bay Area culture and artists of all disciplines, and share ideas, good will, food, and drink.

Public art works have long been sites of debate, even controversy. Often funded by taxpayer dollars and claiming space in our civic commons, they rightfully draw intense scrutiny. In the Bay Area, public art has stoked recent disputes over access to community resources, gentrification and displacement, cultural representation, and the treatment of history and collective trauma — to say nothing of taste, which is informed by all of these things.

As public art exposes social tensions, can it also help us engage in civil dialogue? In divided times, can public art create spaces of common moral imagination and shared purpose? Should it even be subject to any such imperative? What responsibility does public art have to the public, especially as this public becomes more fragmented and its ethical standards evolve over time?

KQED’s Chloe Veltman will be joined by Dewey Crumpler, Cristóbal Martinez, and Zoé Samudzi for a discussion on the ethics of public art in the twenty-first century, how they are playing out locally, and what they can teach us about sharing space. Co-presented with KQED, this event is part of KQED On Common Ground, an initiative bringing people together for civil discourse, featuring KQED journalists hosting provocative conversations about politics and policy, art and culture, and science and technology. Reckoning with the force of disagreement among us about how to face a future of economic, cultural, and environmental uncertainty, On Common Ground asks what are our shared responsibilities to the common good?


Dewey Crumpler, visual artist and associate professor of painting at the San Francisco Art Institute

Cristóbal Martínez, artist and chair of art and technology at the San Francisco Art Institute

Zoé Samudzi, writer, photographer, and sociology doctoral candidate

Chloe Veltman, arts and culture reporter at KQED

Co-presented with KQED