Jeanne van Heeswijk (Bard College, Keith Haring Fellow in Art and Activism), is a visual artist who facilitates the creation of dynamic and diversified public spaces in order to “radicalize the local.” Van Heeswijk embeds herself as an active citizen in communities, often working for years at a time. These long-term projects, which have occurred in many different countries, transcend the traditional boundaries of art in duration, space and media and questions art’s autonomy by combining performative actions, meetings, discussions, seminars and other forms of organizing and pedagogy. Inspired by a particular current event, cultural context or intractable social problem, she dynamically involves community members in the planning and realization of a given project. As an “urban curator,” van Heeswijk’s work often unravels invisible legislation, governmental codes and social institutions in order to enable communities to take control over their own futures.
In her upcoming lecture at ACT, van Heeswijk will discuss the investigative and explorative qualities of the arts, specifically how they can serve a process through which we can research, debate, face up to the confrontation and address one another as co-producers of the city.
Van Heeswijk’s work has been featured in numerous books and publications worldwide, as well as internationally renowned biennials such as those of Liverpool, Busan, Taipei, Shanghai, and Venice. She currently holds the Keith Haring Fellowship in Art and Activism at Bard College and received the 2012 Curry Stone Prize for Social Design Pioneers. In 2011, van Heeswijk was awarded the Leonore Annenberg Prize for Art and Social Change.