Lighter Touch—Care as Radical Gesture
Curated by Micky Schubert
April 2–30, 2024

Curatorial Statement:
In recent years, interest in the ethics of care has emerged across various disciplines as a response to counterbalance the extreme pragmatism prevalent in cultural production under neoliberalism. Care, operating as a strategy against rigidity, embodies a deeply engaged form of empathy and invested involvement in the world around us.

Artistic practices rooted in the ethics of care are characterized by a focus on social ecology, prioritizing interconnectivity not only among humans but also between animals and the broader environment. Lighter Touch—Care as Radical Gesture aims to highlight artists who employ a lighter touch as a radical reckoning against the rigidity inherent in cultural production. These practices seek to acknowledge and engage with the rich complexity of living, fostering a more empathetic and interconnected understanding of our world.

Rather than positioning one ideology as better equipped to negotiate the ethical landscape over another, care ethics have more to do with modes of activity. In her essay “On Style,” Susan Sontag identifies an affinity between modes of production in visual art and the construction of moral practices. She writes, “Morality is a form of acting and not a particular repertoire of choices. (…) Art performs this ‘moral’ task because the qualities which are intrinsic to the aesthetic experience (disinterestedness, contemplativeness, attentiveness, the awakening of the feelings) and to the aesthetic object (grace, intelligence, expressiveness, energy, sensuousness) are also fundamental constituents of a moral response to life.”

Lighter Touch—Care as Radical Gesture includes artworks concerned with the intersections between beings, across social boundaries, and among individuals affected by marginalizing circumstances. The traces of acts of kindness, a fleeting glance to acknowledge the overlooked, or a gentle gesture can all serve to shift the ways in which personal, political, and social interactions frame our ways of seeing and perceiving community and the world.