Democracy Now! - August 11, 2015

As we broadcast from Venice, Italy, site of the Venice Biennale, the oldest and most prestigious international biennial art exhibition, we feature an extended interview with Okwui Enwezor of Nigeria, its first African-born chief curator. Enwezor has been widely credited for bringing political art back to the 120-year-old festival. He says he was partly inspired by the 1974 Venice Biennale when part of the exhibits were dedicated to Chile to protest the U.S.-backed coup that overthrew Chile’s democratic government. "Artists have a lot of meaning they produce that can allow us to look at the world in deeper, meaningful and more probing ways," Enwezor says. As part of this year’s seven-month exhibit, there is an epic live reading of all three volumes of Karl Marx’s "Das Kapital." Meanwhile, the artist Adam Pendleton incorporated the "Black Lives Matter" slogan into his exhibit which appears in the Belgium Pavilion. And the Brazilian artist Vik Muniz created a boat covered in the front page of a Venice newspaper published the day after nearly 400 migrants drowned off the Italian island of Lampedusa in October 2013.

After the fourth day of protests over Michael Brown’s death, authorities have declared a state of emergency in St. Louis County, drawing worldwide attention. We look at the state of the Black Lives Matter movement and the art world with two participants in the Creative Time Summit alongside the Venice Biennale in Italy. "At the moment we are dealing with Black Lives Matter and the violence against black and brown people in the United States, Europe is experiencing incredible deaths of black people here too," says author Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts, noting the "perilous state of people worldwide that have been subjugated to white supremacy and capitalism." Rhodes-Pitts is the author of "Harlem is Nowhere: A Journey to the Mecca of Black America,” part of a trilogy she is working on about African Americans and utopia. We are also joined by Charles Gaines, a pioneering conceptual artist who teaches at California Institute of the Arts.

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