European Studies SMLC HKU School of Modern Languages and Cultures HKU

News & Events

29 April 2019

Art and Uncivil Obedience: Radical Rule-Following as Creative Practice

Dr. Monica Lee Steinberg

29 Apr 2019 (Mon) 3:00-4:00pm
Room 4.34, Run Run Shaw Tower, Centennial Campus, HKU


This talk examines a set of historic contact zones between art and law that take place within the regulative framework of the United States and its international relations. Scholars and artists have long been interested in socially engaged creative practice, and particularly attentive to those projects involving a violation of rules to motivate reform (civil disobedience). But, what of the opposite approach? What of radical adherence? Here, Dr Steinberg considers artworks mobilizing a form of uncivil obedience—a looking-glass version of civil disobedience. Uncivil obedience involves following rules in an unanticipated manner, expressing criticism ironically through radical rule-following rather than rule-breaking. By considering how artists of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries have sculpted codified and uncodified law as an expressive material, one might begin to better understand how creative practice interacts and interferes with the norms and regulating systems that permeate the American experience.

Monica Lee Steinberg earned a PhD in Art History from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York and is now a postdoctoral fellow in the Society of Fellows in the Humanities at The University of Hong Kong. She was the 2016-2018 Doheny Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Southern California and has previously held fellowships at The Amon Carter Museum of American Art, The Smithsonian Institution, The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, The Huntington Museum, The Radcliffe Institute at Harvard, and Brandeis University. Steinberg’s work considers the intersection of art, fictional attribution, and the law, and her writing has appeared in exhibition catalogs, edited volumes, and journals such as American Art, Archives of American Art, and Oxford Art Journal.



EUST footer