Conversations · Exhibition-Related

Body Politic: From Rights to Resistance: Session One

Cover Image:

A.K. Burns, Living Room, 2017–ongoing (production still). Courtesy the artist and Callicoon Fine Arts. Photo: Lauryn Siegel

Livestream for this event will be available at 11:30 a.m. R

This event features information sessions with lawyers, activists, and grassroots organizers on issues of bodies under duress: civil disobedience, protest, healthcare, policing, prisons, immigration, environmental contamination, and indigenous rights. Each session will focus on resource sharing and modes of resistance, and will include presentations followed by discussion with the audience.

This event is currently at capacity, but a standby list will begin at 11 a.m. the day of the event. Sign-up for the standby list will be in person only, and we will admit as many people as capacity allows.

“Body Politic: From Rights to Resistance” will be held in the New Museum Theater, in the basement level of the building, which is accessible by elevator. There will be ASL interpreters at the event.

Session One: 11:30 AM–2 PM
11:30 AM: Introduction
11:45 AM–12:45 PM: Civil Disobedience and Protest
12:45–2:00 PM: Healthcare Access: Gender, Sexuality, and Disability

Session Two: 3–6:30 PM
3 PM: Introduction
3:15–4:30 PM: Policing and Prisons
4:30–5:30 PM: Immigration
5:30–6:30 PM: Environmental Contamination and Indigenous Rights

A.K. Burns is the artist-in-residence through the Department of Education and Public Engagement’s Spring R&D Season: BODY. In her exhibition and residency “Shabby but Thriving,” A.K. Burns continues a serial work that draws on theater, science fiction, philosophy, and ecological anxieties. The project is organized around five elements: power (the sun), water, land, void, and body. In “Shabby but Thriving,” commissioned by and premiering at the New Museum, Burns presents the project’s next chapter, a two-channel video staged within an installation that explores the subjugation and agency of various bodies.

Biographies, by order of presentation:


Erin Beth Harrist is a senior staff attorney at the New York Civil Liberties Union, where she focuses on statewide civil rights and civil liberties impact litigation. Prior to joining the NYCLU, Harrist was a litigation associate at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, where she litigated a wide range of commercial matters including multi-week trials in federal and state court. She has worked extensively with the National Organization for Women – New York City Chapter advocating for the rights of women and the protection of reproductive rights. During law school, she helped secure asylum status for recent refugees on the basis of sexual orientation at Immigration Equality. She also served as production editor for the Columbia Journal of Gender and Law.

Bina Ahmad is a social justice attorney. Ahmad was a staff attorney at PETA and has worked with Farm Sanctuary, the Center for Constitutional Rights, and Human Rights Watch. She lived and worked in Palestine with Al-Haq, served on the legal team for the Russell Tribunal on Palestine, and was a legal consultant to Badil. She is a founding member of the National Lawyers Guild’s Animal Rights Activism Committee and former NLG National Vice President. She is currently a public defender in New York.

Peter Micek leads Access Now policy team’s business and human rights work, advocating for a more rights-respecting telecom and tech sector. He also teaches a course at Columbia University on internet policy and governance. A lawyer by training, Micek completed a JD cum laude at the University of San Francisco School of Law, and in 2010 published “A Genealogy of Home Visits,” critiquing surveillance of at-risk communities. As a law student, Micek defended independent journalists and engaged in Freedom of Information litigation at First Amendment Project. For five years, in his native San Francisco, Micek led youth media development at New America Media, and was Web Editor at KALW’s daily radio program Your Call.


D’hana Perry provides care coordination services for the transgender and gender non-conforming community at Callen-Lorde Community Health Center. Perry holds a BA in Sociology and Urban Studies from Ohio Wesleyan University, and an MFA in Media Art from Emerson College. They have over a decade of experience working in the nonprofit sector, including time as an AmeriCorps volunteer, a legislative aide for a state representative, and a public health researcher at the Fenway Institute in Boston. Perry is also a professional DJ, video artist, and documentary filmmaker whose work has been featured in various museums, galleries, and performance spaces.

Alejandra Ospina is a disabled first-generation native New Yorker whose family has roots in Colombia. Now in her mid-30s, Ospina has been active since her teens in various advocacy and performance projects locally and beyond, but is still working to learn what she can about survival and resistance.

David Brown joined the Center for Reproductive Rights in 2011 as a legal fellow, and became a staff attorney in 2013 and senior staff attorney in 2016. He has litigated cases overturning unconstitutional reproductive rights restrictions in state and federal courts throughout the country. Recently, his cases have included three suits against Arizona anti-abortion laws that would have required doctors to practice twentieth-century medicine when providing medication abortion, and to lie to their patients while doing so. Among other cases, he is currently working on two suits against eight anti-abortion laws in Louisiana. In one of these, the Supreme Court granted the Center’s motion to reverse the Fifth Circuit’s stay of the Center’s victory in March, 2016. In the other, the State agreed not to enforce its own laws during the litigation. David previously led the Center’s team overturning Oklahoma’s emergency contraception restrictions, and has been a crucial member of litigation teams on several other of the Center’s most important recent suits.


This exhibition is made possible with support from the Toby Devan Lewis Emerging Artists Exhibitions Fund.

Artist commissions at the New Museum are generously supported by the Neeson / Edlis Artist Commissions Fund.

Artist residencies are made possible, in part, by Laurie Wolfert.

Special thanks to the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.

We gratefully acknowledge the New Museum Council for Artists’ Research and Residencies.

Additional support for Education and Public Engagement programs is provided by public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

Endowment support is provided by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund; the Skadden, Arps Education Programs Fund; and the William Randolph Hearst Endowed Fund for Education Programs at the New Museum.

Get Updates

We want to hear from you!

Help us improve our website by taking a 5-minute survey with a chance to win $100!

Take Survey
Back to mobile site