Towards a Relational Aesthetic in Disability Art: Interdependence and Crip Futurity

Jacqueline White


Through a critical analysis of Lisa Bufano’s (2010) Mentally Fine, a compelling
piece of disability performance art, I explore various constitutions of disability aesthetics. I argue that we need to push past the binary of ugly and beautiful in our understandings of disability aesthetics and move toward one of unapologetic, proud, embodied difference. I employ Nicolas Bourriaud’s (2002) concept of relational aesthetics and argue that a disability aesthetic in disability art is one of interdependence. I assert that encounters with Bufano’s art incite critical reflexivity within us that can shift our understandings of disability from tragedy to opportunity for a new and different kind of vital connected crip future.


disability art; relational aesthetics; interdependency; crip

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