"The drive to make sense out of experience, to give it form and order, is evidently as real as the more familiar biological needs."
~ Clifford Geertz, The Interpretation of Cultures (1973)
The late anthropologist Clifford Geertz brought widespread attention to the symbolic and interpretive dimensions of art and culture. These are arenas in which meaning and sense-making of shared human experience is worked out, perpetuated, and contested.
When the subject of art turns to an emotionally charged and and potentially traumatic human activity such as war, it can touch a nerve. Art exploring such subjects can expose conflicted interpretations that may be widely recognized in the social sphere, or to the contrary, somewhat hidden and beneath the surface. But by drawing viewers' attention to various aspects and perspectives of war, art dealing with it gives us the opportunity to see the topic in new ways. It prompts us to rethink the assumptions that we may have about it.
"For the Record" provides with the opportunity to reflect on the broad meaning, or meanings, that we take away from war and global conflict, and perhaps to see things in new ways. The exhibition examines the many complexities surrounding global conflict, considering art about war as a cultural expression reflective of our times and the human condition.
This website offers resources, information, and opportunity for discussion in relation to the exhibition. We invite you to look around and explore what's here. More is coming soon. Your suggestions and feedback are always welcome. Click on the Contact tab (above) to be in touch.
For The Record: Searching for Objectivity in Global Conflict opens the fall season at the Gallery of Montserrat College of Art in Beverly, Massachusetts, from August 22 to October 22, 2011.