3 Seattle J. Soc. Just. 531 (2004-2005)
Redifining the Movement: Art Activism

handle is hein.journals/sjsj3 and id is 537 raw text is: Redefining the Movement: Art Activism
Michael Shank'
FOREWORD BY HOWARD ZINN*
When I think of the relationship between artists and society-and for me
the question is always what it could be, rather than what it is-I think of the
word transcendent. It is a word that I never use in public, but it is the only
word I can come up with to describe how I think about the role of artists.
By transcendent, I mean that the artist transcends the immediate, transcends
the here and now, transcends the madness of the world. The artist thinks,
acts, performs music, and writes outside the framework that society has
created.
So the word transcendent comes to mind when I think of the role of the
artist in dealing with the issues of the day. I use that word to suggest that
the role of the artist is to transcend conventional wisdom, to transcend the
word of the establishment, to transcend the orthodoxy, to go beyond. It is
the job of the artist to transcend that-to think outside the boundaries.
Fortunately, throughout history we have had artists who dared to do this.
This article dares to do this.  The author beckons social justice
practitioners to transcend traditional activism and provides a theoretical
framework for doing so. Suggesting that art activism can transform the
social justice movement, the author thinks outside the boundaries of
conventional activism and goes beyond by proposing alternative
advocacy models for a new generation of activists.
As a teacher and a writer, that is what I am interested in. I am not
interested in just producing books, and I am not interested in just
reproducing class after class of people who will get out, become successful,

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