CONF Sep 23, 2022

Summit Art: Art and Political Events since the 1970s (Berlin, 15-16 Oct 22)

Institut für Kunst- und Bildgeschichte, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Oct 15–16, 2022
Registration deadline: Oct 7, 2022

Linn Burchert, Humboldt Universität zu Berlin

In recent decades, ‘political art’ and ‘the political’ in contemporary art have become a major focus of art historical research. Within this broad field, the workshop “Summit Art: Art and Political Events since the 1970s” addresses an as of yet underexplored arena: art directly related to political summits and other institutionalised political media events. During the workshop, we will discuss art produced since the 1970s that has appeared in the context of specific political negotiations, events and ceremonies, such as on the occasion of UN summits, during G8, G20 or diplomatic events held by various political “leaders,” or at national and international meetings or anniversaries such as Earth Day. A particular feature of “Summit Art” and its related forms is its incorporation into existing political and public (media) formats versus into acknowledged art worlds. The workshop’s aim is thus to debate the interconnectedness of art and political events, as well as to discuss how art contributes to – and even shapes – these often festival-like mega media events. Emphasis is placed on the diplomatic, governmental and media-political uses of images, art as both a means of legitimation and critique of summits, political events as aesthetic sites of affect, and the role of artistic activism on these occasions between potential resistance and the danger of recuperation. The goal of the workshop is ultimately to reflect on the theoretical as well as methodological and terminological challenges of research into “Summit Art”, thus initiating an exchange around various aspects of this current of contemporary art.

Registration required: Researchers and students working in this field can register for the workshop at linn.burchert[at] As places are limited, a binding registration is required by: 7th October, 2022. If you are unable to attend, please make sure to cancel your registration.

Venue: HU Berlin, Institut für Kunst- und Bildgeschichte, Georgenstr. 47, room 0.12


Saturday, 15th October
09:00-09:15 | Linn Burchert: Welcome & Introduction

Image Politics: Diplomacy, Governance and Population
Chair: Mikkel Bolt Rasmussen
09:15-10:00 | Felicity D. Scott, “Governing Governments: Habitat’s Audiovisual Program, 1976”
10:00-10:45 | Linn Burchert, “Fomenting Fear: The ‘Population Bomb’ in 1990s Summit Art”
10:45-11:30 | Hannah Entwisle Chapuisat, “Engaging Art in Diplomatic Venues Addressing Disaster Displacement: A Case for ‘Policy-Oriented Practice’”

Between Legitimation and Critique: Engendering and Challenging Summits
Chair: Marie Rosenkranz
11:45-12:15 | Sarah Happersberger, “Alternative Summits? The International Festival of Women Artists, the World Conference of the United Nations Decade for Women, and the Non-Governmental Alternative Organizations Conference, 1980”
12:15-13:00 | Jacopo Galimberti, “Migrants, Models and White Overalls. Vanessa Beecroft’s Summit Art and Pablo Echaurren’s Activist Art in and around the 2001 G8 Summit in Genoa”

Sites and Affect: (Inter-)National Aesthetics of Summitry
Chair: Linn Burchert
14:15-15:00 | Edina Eszenyi, “Hungary and Her Angelic Crown at the Turn of the Millennium”
15:00-15:45 | Kirsty Robertson, “Reflections in the Fake Lake: Echoes of a 1976 Art Protest at the 2010 G20 Summit in Toronto”
15:45-16:30 | Jason Derouin, “The 2016 Special US-ASEAN Leaders Summit at Sunnylands: A Case Study of the Affective Dimensions of Art and Architecture and Their Impact in Diplomatic Summitry”

Between Resistance and Recuperation: Summit Art Activism
Chairs: Barbara Preisig & Kris Decker
17:00-17:45 | Gavin Grindon, “Curating with Counterpower: Rethinking Art’s Institutional Leverage”
17:45-18:35 | Eleftheria Lekakis & Thomas Dekeyser, “Negotiating Recuperation? Subvertising, Mediation, and the Limits of Visibility”

Sunday, 16th October
Ephemerality, Terminology, Hetero-/Auto-nomy: Challenges to Summit Art Research
Chair: Kirsty Robertson
10:00-10:45 | Barbara Preisig & Kris Decker, “Summit Art from Below”
10:45-11:30 | Minna Valjakka, “Artistic Engagements for Earth Day in Singapore”
11:30-12:15 | Ursula Ströbele, “‘We’ve had many warnings’ – Art between Mediation, Artivism and Eco Pop”
13:00-14:00 | Final discussion and reflections on further “Summit Art” research and publication projects

The abstracts will be uploaded on the event's website shortly before the event.

The workshop is part of the project “Klimagipfelkunst. Kunst und politisches Event, 1972-2022" / "Climate Summit Art: Art and Political Event, 1972–2022" (funded by the German Research Foundation, project no: 451978827) at the Department of Art and Visual History, HU Berlin.

CONF: Summit Art: Art and Political Events since the 1970s (Berlin, 15-16 Oct 22). In:, Sep 23, 2022 (accessed Sep 25, 2022), <>.