Arrested Welcome

Arrested Welcome

Hospitality in Contemporary Art

Irina Aristarkhova

Interpreting the meaning of hospitality in an unwelcoming political moment

248 Pages, 6 x 8 in

  • Paperback
  • 9781517908973
  • Published: June 9, 2020
  • eBook
  • 9781452963020
  • Published: June 9, 2020


Arrested Welcome

Hospitality in Contemporary Art

Irina Aristarkhova

ISBN: 9781517908973

Publication date: June 9th, 2020

248 Pages


8 x 6

"A thought-provoking and accessible analysis of the ways that contemporary performance and exhibition artists address a theme of great contemporary importance: hospitality. Linking that theme to a cluster of related issues—fear, courtesy and etiquette, the act of waiting, the act of welcoming—Arrested Welcome offers a series of engaging examples of ways that artists can stimulate personal reflection and political engagement without being didactic or preachy."—Susan Merrill Squier, author of Epigenetic Landscapes: Drawings as Metaphor

Interpreting the meaning of hospitality in an unwelcoming political moment


Amid xenophobic challenges to America’s core value of welcoming the tired and the poor, Irina Aristarkhova calls for new forms of hospitality in her engagement with the works of eight international artists. In this first monograph on hospitality in contemporary art, Aristarkhova employs a feminist perspective to critically explore the artworks of Ana Prvački, Faith Wilding, Lee Mingwei, Kathy High, Mithu Sen, Pippa Bacca, Silvia Moro, and Ken Aptekar and asks who, how, and what determines who is worthy of our welcome. 

Spanning a diverse range of contemporary art practices, Arrested Welcome shows how artists challenge our existing notions of hospitality—culturally, philosophically, and politically. From the role of “microcourtesies” in social change to the portrayal of waiting as a feminist endeavor, Aristarkhova looks deeply into topics such as gender stereotypes of welcome, ways to reclaim civility, and the means by which guests (sometimes human, sometimes animal) push the limits of our hosting traditions. 

Blending a feminist analysis of hospitality with in-depth case studies on how contemporary artists stimulate personal reflection and political engagement, Aristarkhova initiates these important conversations at a critical time of national and international hospitality crises.

Irina Aristarkhova is professor at the Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She is author of Hospitality of the Matrix: Philosophy, Biomedicine, and Culture


Introduction: Welcome as Resistance

1. Reclaimed Civility: Ana Prvački

2. Undoing Waiting: Faith Wilding

3. The Man Who Welcomes: Lee Mingwei

4. Hosting the Animal: Kathy High

5. Welcome Withdrawn: Mithu Sen

6. A Leap of Faith: Pippa Bacca and Silvia Moro

Conclusion. Hospitality Now: Ken Aptekar




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