The Power Of Art

What is the power of art? What can art do? Can art deliver a social message, or any messages at all?
Can art influence people’s thinking and action? If so, how powerful is it?

The human brain responds to beautiful art work, according to the findings of Professor Semir Zeki, Professor of Neuroaesthetics at University College London. Beautiful art can apparently increase blood flow in a certain part of the brain by as much as 10 per cent- the equivalent to gazing at a loved one. Great art can be beautiful, but it can also be scary and dreadful.  It can disarm us but also can alarm us with its embedded messages.  ​

People also talk about the benefits of art for very young children.  Museums and galleries operate educational programmes for children in schools to enhance knowledge of social and cultural issues and to develop creativity, thinking skills and help personal and social skills.  That is also the power of art.

We invite Mami Kataoka, Chief Curator of the Mori Art Museum, one of Japan’s most active and prestigious galleries and James Lingwood, Director of Artangel, which commissions and produces exceptional projects by outstanding contemporary artists across Britain and beyond, to talk about the power of art.​


James Lingwood has been Co-Director of Artangel with Michael Morris since 1991. Amongst some 80 projects produced over the past twenty years are Rachel Whiteread’s House (1993-94), Michael Landy’s Break Down (2001) in Oxford Street, Gregor Schneider’s Die Familie Schneider(2004), Francis Alÿs’ Seven Walks (2005), Roni Horn’s Vatnasafn/Library of Water in Iceland (2007) and Roger Hiorns’ Seizure (2008), as well as ambitious moving image installation with artists such as Douglas Gordon, Steve McQueen and Tony Oursler. He is a Trustee of The Art Fund and The Paul Hamlyn Foundation.

Mami Kataoka has been the Chief Curator at the Mori Art Museum (MAM) in Tokyo since 2003. She has overseen many international projects, including the 9th Gwangju Biennale 2012 in South Korea as the Joint Artistic Director, and Phantoms of Asia at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco as guest curator. She was the International Curator at the Hayward Gallery in London between 2007 and 2009. She currently serves as a board member of CIMAM (International Committee for Museums and Collections for Modern Art) and is a member of the Guggenheim Asia Art Council. Kataoka also frequently writes and gives lectures on contemporary art in Asia.

Jenny White (Chair) has initiated arts projects in Japan, Thailand and Cuba. As Arts Manager for British Council in Japan she developed projects and links with independent artists, creative partners and cultural organisations in both UK and Japan. Following postings in Thailand in 2004, and London as Head of Arts Development, she became Director of the British Council in Cuba in 2006. In 2013 Jenny programmed arts and social media content for the volunteer-run Japan400 to mark the anniversary of the first formal encounters in 1613. She is currently responsible for developing sustainable cultural relations for 7,000 global staff, and designing inductions for new arts managers. 

Duration 22 October 2014 - 22 October 2014
Times 6pm followed by drinks reception
Cost Free but booking is essential
Venue Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation
Address Daiwa Foundation, Japan House London NW1 4QP, ,
Contact 020 7486 4348 / /

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