Selective Histories: Memory, Aesthetics, & Urban Art

Audrey Munson - The Curse of Beauty

Debates surrounding ‘public art’ or ‘urban art’ can be endless. Most often they focus on form rather than function. Is graffiti art? What about monuments? What kind of art is allowed to be erected, removed, or sold? These debates become even more detailed when we introduce what mediums of art we value over others: painting, music, dance, poetry.


Though several disciplines discuss the value of public art and engage in the above debates, urban geographers are interested in how art forms can at once elide, reproduce, or challenge their urban political contexts. Like everything else in our city, urban art informs our experience. The question then becomes not what ‘counts as art’, but what is art’s purpose. What is urban art supposed to do?

This Olio will focus on the many conflicting intents of urban art, from its use as state propaganda to its many forms of resistance to oppression. We will discuss the politics of aesthetics, memory, and representation and how such politics attempt to create (with varying success), what urban geographer Karen Till defines as “selective and coherent histories”.




Location: Strand Bookstore

828 Broadway, New York, NY 10003

The Rare Book Room at Strand Bookstore boasts an elegant venue for our Friday night residency.




Interdisciplinary Learning with the Best Professors


Think Olio is not about learning a new skill or adding credentials to your resume. It is about getting together with other people and expanding our worldview. It exists as a conduit for fruitful discussions, a dissent from the regurgitation of facts, and an embrace of new perspectives.


Learn about joining the Scenius for $10 / month



Other upcoming Olios


Sep 17

Our Pornographic Education

Taught by Kim Nguyen
7:30 p.m. at Crystal Lake

Sign Up - $15

Sep 18

Mediated Intimacy: The Dating App Landscape

Taught by Pani Farvid
7 p.m. at Living Room

Sign Up - $15

Sep 19

* Sold Out * OlioTrip | Cienfuegos, Cuba

Taught by Teresita Levy
10 a.m. at Cienfuegos, Cuba

Sign Up - $

Sep 23

New York, The Neoliberal City

Taught by Lauren Hudson
7:30 p.m. at The Old Stone House

Sign Up - $15

Sep 26

Living Room Salon | 'Dirty Computers', Voice & Visibility

Taught by Kashema Hutchinson
8 p.m. at Living Room

Sign Up - $15

Sep 29

Olio FieldTrip | Skateboarding and Modern Art

Taught by Ted Barrow
1 p.m. at Living Room

Sign Up - $30

Oct 4

Modern Privacy: Reclaiming Our Self Narratives

Taught by Lawrence Cappello
7 p.m. at Strand Bookstore

Sign Up - $20

Oct 15

Olio Seminar | Kafka will Ruin Your Life and Make You Laugh About it

Taught by Geoff Klock
7:30 p.m. at Strong Rope Brewery

Sign Up - $60

Oct 22

The Fear of Leisure

Taught by Jeanne Proust
7:30 p.m. at Threes Brewing // Greenpoint

Sign Up - $15


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