Portrait of Adam Vine '01
Social practice and video artist Adam Vine '01

On Monday, Nov. 14, at 4:30 p.m. in the Keefe Campus Center Theater, Amherst will welcome video producer and social practice artist Adam Vine, class of 2001, for a talk entitled, “The Art of Protest: Politics, History, Ethics and Documentation.” The talk is free and open to the public.

As a social practice artist, Vine collaborates with other artists, individuals, communities and institutions to create socially engaged art that combines performance and protest with a focus on social issues. His talk will incorporate examples of his own work and delve into the history of protest at Amherst over the past 50 years, aiming to build a new, local context for student protests that took place on campus last year.

“I’m interested in building a context that’s different than the one that I saw last year, in which I saw the Amherst Uprising interpreted as solely connected to the Yale, Missouri and other college protests that were going on at the time,” Vine says. “While that’s totally understandable, the Amherst Uprising brought up issues that are very specific to Amherst, that are not new, that should be examined.”

1966 Commencement walkout
Vine's father graduated in 1966, when some 20 graduating seniors walked out of the commencement ceremony to protest the honorary degree awarded to Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara.

Vine researched the history of campus protest while visiting Amherst during his reunion in May. “My 15th reunion also happened to be my father’s 50th reunion,” he says, “and one of the things I researched in the College archives was the protest that happened at his graduation, when seniors walked out to protest the honorary degree awarded to Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara.” Vine also researched campus protests in the 1970s. “It became clear to me that there’s been this kind of legacy of dissent and protest at Amherst, mostly about racial issues, but also about politics and war,” he says.

As an alum and as an artist, Vine says he feels a deep sense of honor and responsibility to help contextualize the student protests that took place last year. “My talk is open to anyone,” he says, “but is especially intended for students who were a part of the uprising, so that they feel supported by alumni in some way, but also so that they feel they’re a part of this lineage of protest.”

Vine graduated from Amherst with a B.A. in English and received an M.F.A. in creative writing from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He was most recently President of Wake The Beast and Executive Director of I Vote, two Los Angeles-based nonprofits that create media to engage young people on progressive issues. 

Event Information:

"The Art of Protest: Politics, History, Ethics and Documentation"
Monday, Nov. 14, 4:30 p.m.
Keefe Campus Center Theater
Free and open to the public