This class explores the relationship between aesthetics and politics from the latter twentieth century to the present, with special consideration for the intersection of art, activism, and visual culture. What roles have artists, art critics, art historians, curators, donors, patrons, and the art-viewing public adopted at different historic junctures of political upheaval? Can and how might ‘the aesthetic’ articulate, resist, create, incite, and interact with social, cultural, and political change? How has the role of the art institution changed and how has it stayed the same in the midst of political upheaval? This class will consider issues of class, gender, race, and sexuality, as well as labor struggles and economic exploitation, feminism and queer activism, immigration and the refugee crisis, subversive media and gentrification, the environmental crisis, and the polemical role of monuments and memorials. Throughout the course, questions of efficacy and strategy will be discussed alongside the endearing tension between artistic autonomy and the tendency toward political commitment.