Mike Watson is an art theorist, critic and curator based in Italy who is principally focused on the relation between art and politics. He holds a PhD in Philosophy from Goldsmiths College and has curated for Nomas Foundation, Museo MACRO, The Finnish Cultural Foundation and at both the 55th and 56th Venice Biennale. In May 2016 he published a book entitled ‘Towards a Conceptual Militancy’ for ZerO books. He has written regularly for Art Forum, Frieze, Art Review, Radical Philosophy and Hyperallergic.
Art is entwined with both class and war as it provides the tools to promote the interests of the capitalist class via signs which mesmerise, confuse and pacify. Sometimes these signs, like flags and royal seals, are put directly to the service of power. At other times art is used to provide a cultural distraction for the elite, who lose themselves in the irony and glamour of the biennale or art fair. For this reason, art can only challenge the injustices of class and war if it first engages in its own war of class with itself. We need to address the unfair working and appointment practices, low or no wages, workplace discrimination by gender, race and sexuality as well as sexual harassment. Art. Class. War aims to place the art world for one evening firmly at the centre of these issues involving the public in a night of music and performance, aiming above all to ask what role art has to play in the nexus of class and war. Artists tbc: League of Art Legends (Electronica and VJ set, Mike Watson and Simone Bertugno), Andrew Cooper (performance), Snovit Hedstierna, Robert Pettena, Shiraz Bayjoo, Antti Tenetz (VJ performance), Fiamma Montezemolo (projection), Mark McGowan