Rebuilding Democracy: A Post-election Conversation Between Artist Sue Coe and Art Historian Stephen F. Eisenman
Flaring tempers and deep divisions among parties, candidates, and citizens have characterized the 2020 presidential race, from the earliest stages of the campaign trail to the announcement of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as winners—and Donald Trump’s refusal to concede. Though it’s clear the task at hand is to heal our broken nation, the exact path forward is somewhat hazy. How do we rebuild our democracy?
Artist-activist Sue Coe has devoted her career to exposing and critiquing human cruelty, to fellow humans and animals alike. Her recent visual essays and book projects include “Bully: Master of the Global Merry-Go-Round” (2004), “Sheep of Fools: A Song Cycle for Five Voices” (2005), “Cruel” (2012), “The Animals’ Vegan Manifesto” (2016), and “Zooicide” (2018). Since 2016, the artist has focused on documenting the misdeeds of the Trump administration and, more recently, its failure to adequately address COVID-19.
Stephen F. Eisenman is a professor of art history at Northwestern University and the author of nine books, including “Gauguin’s Skirt” (1997), “The Abu Ghraib Effect” (2007) and “The Cry of Nature–Art and the Making of Animal Rights” (2013). As an activist, he is especially interested in prison reform and environmental issues, having co-founded the environmental justice nonprofit Anthropocene Alliance. Prof. Eisenman wrote the text for Sue Coe’s 2013 book “The Ghosts of Our Meat” and recently collaborated with her on the pamphlet “American Fascism Now.”