Voices: Aruna D’Souza

A painted rendition of Parker Bright standing in front of Dana Schutz's painting of Emmett Till. Bright's back is towards the audience and the back of gray his t-shirt reads

Is Empathy Enough?

Date: Wednesday, April 10, 2019
Time: 6pm
Location:Gallery 400 Lecture Room

We often hear talk of empathy as a solution to political fragmentation—especially in the art world. Artists, curators, museum educators, and others speak lately of art’s special role in helping to develop the kind of understanding that’s necessary to cross divides of class, race, affiliation, and so on. But what if empathy isn’t enough? What if—even worse—it’s counterproductive? By looking at the example of the 2017 Whitney Biennial protests and their aftermath, we can catch a glimpse of both the value and the limits of fellow feeling when it comes to working towards social justice.

About the Artist

Aruna D'Souza writes about modern and contemporary art; intersectional feminisms and other forms of politics; and how museums shape our views of each other and the world. Her most recent book Whitewalling: Art, Race, and Protest in 3 Acts (Badlands Unlimited) was named one of the best art books of 2018 by the New York Times. Her work appears regularly in 4Columns.org, where she is a member of the editorial advisory board and has also been published in The Wall Street Journal, CNN.com, Art News, Garage, Bookforum, Momus, Art in America, and Art Practical, among other places. She is currently editing two forthcoming volumes, Making It Modern: A Linda Nochlin Reader, and Lorraine O’Grady: Writing in Space 1973-2018.


Gallery 400 is located on the first level of the Art & Exhibition Hall building with a push-button accessible door and can be accessed by a set of stairs with a railing or an elevator (Level 1R). We will post updates about the status of the elevator on the Gallery 400 Facebook page and the Facebook Event page.

There are 2 All Gender restrooms located on the same floor as Gallery 400. While the restrooms are accessible to wheelchair users, the door to the restroom is not. Visitors who use wheelchairs can request personal assistance with opening and closing the restroom doors by asking any Gallery 400 staff member.

The entrance to the building is located in a turn-around where visitors may be dropped off right outside the main door. The closest UIC public parking lot is the Harrison Street Parking Structure. Further information regarding parking on campus can be found at UIC Parking Services. Motorist assistance is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, by calling 312.355.0555.

Gallery staff can provide chairs in the gallery space upon request. The front desk attendant is trained in Personal Assistance and can provide audio description, large text labels, and transcriptions.

Other accessibility services are available upon request and may be arranged by contacting the gallery at 312-996-6114 or emailing Megan at gallery400engagement@gmail.com.