Tania Bruguera, The Francis Effect


This episode of ART21 “Exclusive” features artist Tania Bruguera collecting signatures as part of her socially engaged performance project “The Francis Effect” (2014). For fifteen weeks Bruguera stood outside of the Guggenheim Museum in New York asking passersby to sign a petition to Pope Francis that requests Vatican City citizenship for undocumented immigrants. “A lot of people know it’s impossible,” says Bruguera. Yet she believes “the impossible is only impossible until somebody makes it possible.” In her engagement of our political imaginations, Bruguera demonstrates the power of art to change perceptions and mobilize political action. Tania Bruguera explores the relationship between art, activism, and social change, staging participatory events and interactions that build on her own observations, experiences, and understanding of the politics of repression and control. Her work advances the concept of arte útil, according to which art can be used as a tool for social and political empowerment.

Learn more about the artist: http://www.art21.org/artists/tania-bruguera

Cite this page as: Art21, "Tania Bruguera, The Francis Effect," in Smarthistory, January 7, 2021, accessed May 23, 2024, https://smarthistory.org/tania-bruguera-the-francis-effect/.