Discussing Dissent

June 10, 2005

As part of the opening festivities for “The Design of Dissent,” an exhibition running in conjunction with the publication of The Design of Dissent: Socially and Politically Driven Graphics (Rockport Press, Inc.), the College hosted a unique event. On Friday, June 3, Milton Glaser – designer, SVA board member and faculty member – moderated a conversation between designer and faculty member Mirko Ilić, playwright Tony Kushner, and writer and activist Gloria Steinem. A capacity crowd filled the SVA Amphitheater and the Gene Stavis Theater, which had a video simulcast of the event, as the celebrity line-up discussed topics posed by Glaser and the audience, ranging from thoughts on the nature and origins of dissent to political ethics. Discussing the state of current U.S. and world politics, Glaser wondered, “Why has public lying become so acceptable?” Kushner, in one of his many amusing yet thoughtful responses, suggested that, “Public lying is part of the dialectic of democracy.”

Despite the occasionally grim nature of some of the political topics covered, the event was resolutely upbeat – at one point Steinem declared, despite her worries about modern politics and the ability of dissenters to make big changes, “I’m a hopeaholic.” The crowd then moved downstairs for the exhibition’s opening reception; “The Design of Dissent” will be on view at 209 East 23rd Street through Saturday, July 2.

Image: Ilić, Steinem and Glaser in the SVA Amphitheater; photo by Brian Glaser.

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