socialpracticeart   23

6 Kinds of Public - Dilettante Army
Long ago, I adopted the moniker “dilettante ventures” as a frame for my cultural activity. At the time it was envisioned as a collective comprised of three other art and curatorial collectives. Much like this journal seeks to do, I spent a fair amount of time trying to rehabilitate the word “dilettante.” Lately though, I’ve given up on worrying about that sort of framing, because now I have to rehabilitate another word—“republican.” In November 2018, I was elected to the Vermont State Legislature. As a candidate, I appeared on the ballot as the nominee of two political parties—the Democrats and the Progressives. But to be accurate about my political philosophy, I am a decentralist communitarian republican. Identifying as small-r republican, even though it isn’t the same as being a capital-r Republican, can be problematic for me. On my winding trajectory from an artist-that-doesn’t-make-art to a librarian/legislator, I’ve investigated how republican themes of interdependence, virtue, and civic responsibility might be usefully employed in the (neo)liberal political quagmire we find ourselves. Here are the key concepts I use to understand the links between art and community-making in a new era of progressive politics:

Public Art, new genre



Public Culture



Public Good, scale of



Public Library



Public Philosophy



Public Realm



Public Work



Public work brings me back to the inadequacy of social practice (art). I have proposed “social poiesis” as an alternative. “Poiesis” is a word, mostly used in literary theory, that describes creative production, in particular the creation of a work of art. “Social poiesis,” then, encompasses not only the production of art and art environments, but also the creative production of society through things like urban planning, sports leagues, communes, be-ins, residencies, raves, state fairs, theme parks, cults, encounter groups, Chautauquas, and even legislating. Governance, properly undertaken, is public work, positing “citizens as co-creators of the world.” This world of artistic citizenship demands a variety of public actions and inquiry, some of which I’ve touched on here. Above all it demands a reevaluation of the promise and potential of a revived republican spirit."
randallszott  public  publics  republican  2019  suzannelacy  roberthariman  montesquieu  thomasaugst  williamsullivan  libraries  publiclibraries  hannaharendt  harryboyte  publicwork  publicrealm  philosophy  socialpracticeart  art  publigood  publicculture  culture  republicanism  community  decentralization  interdependence  virtue  civics  governance  neoliberalism  liberalism  progressive  progressivism  vermont 
23 days ago by robertogreco
against art historical noodling or why social poiesis is more interesting than social practice especially if by social practice we really mean social practice art – Even more stuff I said in blog comments with the really challenging, thoughtful, respons
"But I remain interested in social practice to the degree that it remains social practice, rather than social practice *art*. So when we inquire into the aesthetics of participation for instance we don’t get bogged down in all the art historical noodling that paralyzes so many critics from the old school. It is important to emphasize that all kinds of “problems” are solved by recognizing that art [frieze/e-flux/triple canopy type art], is just a highly specialized and mostly pointless parlor game played with, and within, aesthetic experience. If we remain attuned to aesthetics and aesthetic experience (especially from an embodied, phenomenological point of view) or to “the arts” or “the art of” or “the artful” rather than to Art, we increase the chances of having the “dynamic, complex and difficult dialogues” *** seeks rather than the insular professional tiffs of the Art world. Melvin Haggerty (1935) said it much better:"

“Art is a way of life” is a simple statement of short and familiar words. It expresses a way of looking at life that is very old in the history of thought. If it now seems strange it is because we have permitted art to become divorced from the ordinary activities in which men [sic] engage and its cultivation to drift into the hand of specialists from whom the mass of mankind is separated as by a chasm. In recent times this chasm has become very broad and very deep. To men [sic] absorbed in the work of the world artists appear to be a cult and their work and conversation seem esoteric and almost mystical. To artists ordinary folks appear ignorant and unappreciative, and very often their thinly veiled contempt for plebeian tastes has led them to caustic expression. This dissociation is artificial; it is injurious to art and impoverishes life.



[art as a way of life] sees that as the experiences of life multiply, new and varied purposes arise that call for the invention of new objects and new forms of expression and that these, in turn, vastly increase the possibilities of enriching life…This elemental reality that binds into a single pattern all the varied arts is more important for the philosophy of education than is the stress so often laid upon the differences that superficially separate one kind of creative work from other kinds.



We have assumed a way of looking at art that permits no gulf between the simple arts of life and the so-called fine arts. It sees all as man’s [sic] more or less successful efforts to create things that increase the comforts, the efficiencies, and the pleasures of living…This view cherishes not even the ethically tinged distinction between good art and bad art.



The distinction between creation and appreciation is not one between activity and passivity but rather one among different kinds of activity. The realization of this fact should emphasize the essential unity of art experiences."


[See also: http://randallszott.org/2016/01/31/social-practice-in-an-expanded-field-against-art-historical-noodling-and-for-sunday-morning-doodling/ ]
randallszott  art  criticality  johndewey  fritzhaeg  rhicrdshusterman  socialpractice  socialpracticeart  aesthetics  clairebishop  davidrobbins  carlwilson  gregorypappas  ic-98  larryshiner  maryannestaniszewski  melvinhaggerty  professionalization 
february 2016 by robertogreco
Chicago artist Theaster Gates: 'I’m hoping Swiss bankers will bail out my flooded South Side bank in the name of art' | Art and design | The Guardian
"When artist Theaster Gates transformed a house on Chicago’s derelict South Side into an artwork open to the community, it was just the beginning. Meet the ‘poster boy for socially engaged art’"



"Over the seven years since, Gates has used the same principle – buying and stripping out properties in his neighbourhood, a mile or two south of the university but a different world entirely, remaking some of the scrap as art, selling it, and buying more property to create community spaces and houses for local artists and others. In 2011 he made a series of beautiful textured canvases covered in spectrums or coils of reclaimed fire hoses, called them In the Event of a Race Riot. One set recently sold at Christie’s for £250,000. Always channelling the money back into the “Dorchester Projects”, he is inexorably remodelling his entire neighbourhood which had previously been hollowed out for two or three decades by poverty and crime. Gates now employs and houses 60 “artists and makers”, and his practice is expanding to other cities in the American rust belt – St Louis, Missouri; Akron, Ohio; Gary, Indiana. His ambition is growing too. Two years ago he saved from demolition a bank building, with classical portico and marble interior, the last civic building standing on Stony Island Avenue, the main drag two blocks from his home. The bank was flooded out and long-abandoned. Rahm Emanuel, Chicago’s mayor, and Gates’s most reliable patron, sold it to him for a dollar, on the basis that the artist would raise the money to renovate it. To this end Gates has created bonds from the marble tiles of the bank’s former urinals – readymades, indeed – inscribed, “In art we trust”. He has sold 100 of them for $5,000 each to get the renovation started. In the kind of neat reversal he lives for, he plans to sell more of his urinal bonds to collectors at the forthcoming Basel art fair. “I’m hoping Swiss bankers will bail out my flooded South Side bank in the name of art,” he says, with a broad grin.

Gates is telling me some of this in the self-renovated shell of a corner house in which he lives alone, on Dorchester Avenue, over the road from the Listening Room (the ground floor is another venue, the Black Cinema House). He is an energising presence, precise in his movements, comfortable in his skin. In conversation he slides easily between registers, from knowing bursts of street slang to situationist theory – references to “French cats like Guy Debord” – always thoughtful but never quite in earnest. His voice is rich in cadence; occasionally he will burst into song. When I ask him about The Wire at one point, he suggests he is more of a Downton Abbey obsessive. If he were a superhero, he intones in a sudden surprising tenor, he would be the Unknown Craftsman, “You know! Mask and cape, making anony-mous artistic inter-ventions, chang-ing the cit-y for-eeever.”

Gates is 41. This week he has new work – painting and pottery – filling the hangar-like White Cube gallery in Bermondsey in south London. He is planning another large-scale show at the Venice Biennale, which may include his playful Zen-gospel band, the Black Monks of Mississippi, among other things (at 13, Gates was director of his church’s gospel youth choir). Earlier this year he was awarded the prestigious Artes Mundi prize in Cardiff and shared the £40,000 with his fellow nominees."



"He takes me to his latest project, a three-acre site with a disused power station at its centre. He has piled up all the limestone from a church that was pulled down by a developer. “It will be a green space with a large sculptural work running through it,” he says. “We call it the monastery. These materials were around and we could get them. We will find out what works here.”

Is there no real limit to the scale of his projects?

“That’s the thing. I mean it feels like a philosophy more than a commitment to a set of things. And philosophy can exist at any scale.”

What if people here feel it is not for them?

“Well, every day we are in conversation with our neighbours. Some people are excited about it, others are maybe just glad something is happening to all the waste land. And others just assume I am a front for some corporation.”

Gates’s studio and workshop is in a disused Anheuser-Busch distribution plant that he restored with his team of makers. There is a wood shop and a metal shop. He recently did a deal for the entire contents of a hardware store that was closing down – the old cabinets full of tools and nails and drill bits line the walls. (“When my guys saw all this stuff they got real horny.”) One warehouse space houses some of his major works, some firehose pieces, his remade scrap-wood market carts and trolleys, everything carefully thought out, honestly built, including the room itself. “I have three great wood guys on my team. They are incredibly sensitive in the way they handle materials,” Gates says. “They don’t like making things that are half-assed.”

Walking round the workshop, with its emphasis on the handmade – its implicit refusal of the new digital world order – it feels like a very modern medieval guild. Like something William Morris would have approved of. Does Gates see it in those terms?

“I think, as William Morris realised, as new power structures emerged, some things were being lost for ever. I am into that. I’d rather have a communal cinematheque than Netflix, so I’ll make one. The people I work with, they love each other now. They are like family. All of the scales are exciting for me, from wanting to make a pot to getting 60 people to make something well. It’s the same feeling. We believe in the things we make.”"

[See also: “Nuts, bolts and art: the man who turned a hardware store into hard cash: Theaster Gates wants to make the world a better place, so he transforms everyday objects – from old basketball courts to the entire contents of the shop he just bought – into art to raise funds for his community projects in rundown Chicago”
http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2015/apr/28/theaster-gates-freedom-of-assembly-white-cube-london-review ]
theastergates  art  redevelopment  socialpracticeart  2015  chicago 
may 2015 by robertogreco
FIELD | A Journal of Socially-Engaged Art Criticism
"FIELD: A Journal of Socially-Engaged Art Criticism

We are living through a singular cultural moment in which the conventional relationship between art and the social world, and between artist and viewer, is being questioned and renegotiated. FIELD responds to the remarkable proliferation of new artistic practices devoted to forms of political, social and cultural transformation. Frequently collaborative in nature, this work is being produced by artists and art collectives throughout North, South and Central America, Europe, Africa and Asia. While otherwise quite diverse, it is driven by a common desire to establish new relationships between artistic practice and other fields of knowledge production, from urbanism to environmentalism, from experimental education to participatory design. In many cases it has been inspired by, or affiliated with, new movements for social and economic justice around the globe. Throughout this field of practice we see a persistent engagement with sites of resistance and activism, and a desire to move beyond existing definitions of both art and the political. The title of this journal reflects two main concerns. First, it indicates our interest in a body of artistic production that engages the broadest possible range of social forces, actors, discursive systems and physical conditions operating at a given site. And second, it signals a concern with the questions that these projects raise about the “proper” field of art itself, as it engages with other disciplines and other modes of cultural production.

How do these practices redefine our understanding of aesthetic experience? And how do they challenge preconceived notions of the “work” of art? For many in the mainstream art world this opening out is evidence of a dangerous promiscuity, which threatens to subsume the unique identity of art. As a result this work has been largely ignored by the most visible journals and publications in the field. At the same time, an often-problematic concept of “social engagement” has become increasingly fashionable among many museums and foundations in Europe and the United States. There is clearly a need for a more intelligent and nuanced analysis of this new tendency. However, it has become increasingly clear that the normative theoretical conventions and research methodologies governing contemporary art criticism are ill-equipped to address the questions raised by this work. FIELD is based on the belief that informed analysis of this practice requires the cultivation of new forms of interdisciplinary knowledge, and a willingness to challenge the received wisdom of contemporary art criticism and theory. We seek to open a dialogue among and between artists, activists, historians, curators, and critics, as well as researchers in fields such as philosophy, performance studies, urbanism, ethnography, sociology, political science, and education. To that end the journal’s editorial board will include a diverse range of scholars, artists, historians, curators, activists and researchers. It is our belief that it is only at the intersections of these disciplines that can we develop a deeper understanding of the cultural transformations unfolding around us.

–Grant Kester, founder and editor, FIELD


FIELD Editorial Board

Tania Bruguera is an artist and the founder of Immigrant Movement International. Her most recent project is The Museum of Arte Útil.
Teddy Cruz is Professor of Public Culture and Urbanism in the Visual Arts department at the University of California San Diego, and Director of the UCSD Center for Urban Ecologies.
Tom Finkelpearl is the Commissioner of Cultural Affairs for New York City and the editor of What We Made: Conversations on Art and Social Cooperation (Duke University Press, 2013).
Fonna Forman is Associate Professor of Political Science, founding co-director of the UCSD Center on Global Justice and author of Adam Smith and the Circles of Sympathy: Cosmopolitanism and Moral Theory (Cambridge University Press, 2009).
Dee Hibbert-Jones is Associate Professor of Art and Founder and Co-Director of the Social Practice Research Center at UC Santa Cruz.
Shannon Jackson is the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Chair in the Arts and Humanities at UC Berkeley and author of Social Works: Performing Art, Supporting Publics (Routledge 2011).
Michael Kelly is professor of philosophy at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, author of A Hunger for Aesthetics: Enacting the Demands of Art (Columbia University Press, 2012) and editor of the Oxford Encyclopedia of Aesthetics.
Grant Kester, Field editor and founder, is professor of art history at UCSD and author of The One and the Many: Contemporary Collaborative Art in a Global Context (Duke University Press, 2011).
Rick Lowe is an artist, founder of Project Row Houses in Houston, and member of the National Council on the Arts.
George Marcus is the Director of the Center for Ethnography and Chancellor’s Professor and chair of the department of anthropology at UC Irvine, and author of Ethnography Through Thick and Thin (Princeton University Press, 1998).
Paul O’Neill is the Director of the Graduate Program, Center for Curatorial Studies, Hessel Museum of Art, Bard College, New York.
Raúl Cárdenas Osuna is an artist, theorist, and the founder of Torolab collective and the Transborder Farmlab in Tijuana, Mexico.
Francesca Polletta is Professor of Sociology at UC Irvine and author of It Was Like a Fever: Storytelling in Protest and Politics (University of Chicago Press, 2006).
Greg Sholette is an activist, artist and professor in the Social Practice Queens program at Queens College and the author of Dark Matter: Art and Politics in the Age of Enterprise Culture (Pluto Press, 2011).
Nato Thompson is Chief Curator, Creative Time, New York City and editor of Living as Form: Socially Engaged Art from 1991-2011 (MIT Press, 2012).

FIELD Editorial Collective

Paloma Checa-Gismero
Alex Kershaw
Noni Brynjolson
Stephanie Sherman
Julia Fernandez
Michael Ano

Thanks

FIELD would like to acknowledge the generous support of the University of California Institute for Research in the Arts (UCIRA), the UCSD Division of Arts and Humanities, and the UCSD Visual Arts department."
ucsd  art  criticism  artcriticism  grantkester  taniabruguera  teddycruz  tomfinkelpearl  fonnaforman  deehibbert-jones  shannonjackson  michaelkelly  ricklowe  georgemarcus  paulo'neill  raúlcárdenasosuna  francescapolletta  gregsholette  natothompson  palomacheca-gismero  alexkershaw  nonibrynjolson  stephaniesherman  juliafernandez  michaelano  ucira  socialpracticeart  knowledgeproduction  urbanism  environmentalism  2015  education  alterative  experimental  participatorydesign  design  participatory  glvo  via:javierarbona  politics  arts  culturalproduction  aesthetics  socialengagement  museums  interdisciplinary  ethnography  sociology  philosophy 
march 2015 by robertogreco
A Bad Education | The Pedagogical Impulse
"PH: … I don’t want to make art that’s about say­ing that I did some­thing. I want to make art that does some­thing. I don’t always care whether peo­ple under­stand or not that I am doing it, but I want to know for my own sake that what I did had that impulse.

To me, that’s the enor­mous gap between art that claims to be about social change, and art that embod­ies social change. And that is why the rela­tion­ship between ped­a­gogy and art is absolutely cru­cial, because ped­a­gogy and edu­ca­tion are about empha­sis on the embod­i­ment of the process, on the dia­logue, on the exchange, on inter­sub­jec­tive com­mu­ni­ca­tion, and on human rela­tion­ships. The prod­uct may or may not be nec­es­sary or impor­tant. But it can­not hap­pen if this exchange does not take place. Art, tra­di­tion­ally, has not always been about the process. Ulti­mately in a museum when you look at a paint­ing, the process of its mak­ing is inter­est­ing to know, but it is not essen­tial to expe­ri­enc­ing the work. What mat­ters is that it’s there; that it hap­pened. In socially engaged art, that is the oppo­site: what is impor­tant is the process, and the process is inex­tri­ca­ble from the experience.

HR: What you are say­ing reminds me of some­thing that Shan­non Jack­son men­tioned in her talk at Open Engage­ment this past year. She said some­thing to the effect of what looks like inno­va­tion in one field may be old news in another field. And I’m think­ing about this in the way that some processes of edu­ca­tion are taken up in socially engaged art.

I was read­ing a bit about Reg­gio Emilia before I came to meet you, because I had learned that you have a Reg­gio Emilia com­po­nent in the show down­stairs. I found this quote by Loris Malaguzzi: “We need to pro­duce sit­u­a­tions in which chil­dren learn by them­selves, in which chil­dren can take advan­tage of their own knowl­edge and resources… We need to define the role of the adult, not as a trans­mit­ter, but as a cre­ator of rela­tion­ships — rela­tion­ships not only between peo­ple but also between things, between thoughts, with the envi­ron­ment.”[ii]

PH: Sounds a lot like socially engaged art, right?

HR: Right! But I wanted to ask you about where we diverge. It feels like we may be in a com­pro­mised posi­tion. As artists there is an imper­a­tive to par­tic­i­pate in a cycle of pro­duc­tion, to be acknowl­edged as authors, or to be thought of as pri­mary authors, and to par­tic­i­pate in an art dis­course. In what way do we have to diverge from edu­ca­tional processes?

PH: We still belong to a tra­di­tion of art mak­ing where things acquire dif­fer­ent mean­ings depend­ing on the con­text. So like Duchamp’s uri­nal, of course it’s use­ful as a uri­nal and when it becomes art it becomes use­ful in other ways as art. And like what Tom Fin­kle­pearl was say­ing, it’s time to put the uri­nal back in the bath­room[iii], because we’ve come to a point where the use­ful­ness of art as aes­thet­ics has run its course. So it’s time to go back and think about aes­thet­ics as some­thing that func­tions in the world in a dif­fer­ent way.

Which cre­ates an inter­est­ing prob­lem: why don’t we just aban­don aes­thet­ics alto­gether? Why don’t I just become a Reg­gio Emilia edu­ca­tor since their phi­los­o­phy is close to what I do? Maybe I should just move to Italy and teach lit­tle kids. There’s this ten­dency by young artists of think­ing: “maybe I’m just doing some­thing ill informed and ridicu­lous, and I might as well just become a pro­fes­sional in what­ever field I’m inter­ested in. Maybe I should become a hor­ti­cul­tur­al­ist”, or what­ever. The other side is that the artist is per­form­ing roles that are osten­si­bly per­formed bet­ter by pro­fes­sion­als of those dis­ci­plines, like in Rirkrit’s case: the edu­ca­tors do it so much bet­ter than them, so why is he get­ting the credit? And why is what edu­ca­tors are doing not con­sid­ered art? Why should a mediocre edu­ca­tion pro­gram be cel­e­brated as this won­der­ful rela­tional aes­thet­ics piece, when a won­der­ful edu­ca­tion pro­gram that really changes people’s lives can never be con­sid­ered an impor­tant artwork?

So the issue is really, what is the con­tex­tual social ter­ri­tory where this takes place? Where are you stak­ing your claims? And where are you pro­duc­ing crit­i­cal­ity? To sim­ply say that Reg­gio Emilia is a great art­work is com­pletely untrue. That’s not their goal; their goal is to cre­ate bet­ter cit­i­zens for the world, etc. As an artist, what becomes really inter­est­ing is to con­sider this think­ing within the con­text of art mak­ing, the con­text of the role of art in soci­ety. Art, for bet­ter or for worse, con­tin­ues to be this play­ing field that is defined by its capac­ity to rede­fine itself. You can­not say, “This is not art!” because tomor­row it could be, or “It can be art,” because I say it is. Art is a space, which we have cre­ated, where we can cease to sub­scribe to the demands and the rules of soci­ety; it is a space where we can pre­tend. We can play, we can rethink things, we can think about them backwards.

But just to clar­ify: when I say that Reg­gio Emilia is not real art, I don’t think it’s enough to make art with “pre­tend” edu­ca­tion. I don’t think one should jus­tify the use of any sem­blance in edu­ca­tion for the sake of art, as was the case of that children’s activ­ity by Rirkrit I described, unless if you are just meant to be jok­ing or play­ing (which is not very inter­est­ing to begin with). My point is that when you are mak­ing cer­tain claims, or even gen­er­at­ing cer­tain impres­sions about what you are doing, you need to do them in an effec­tive way in order to really affect the world, oth­er­wise your artis­tic inter­ven­tion in the social realm is no dif­fer­ent from mak­ing a paint­ing in the stu­dio. And there is a dif­fer­ence between sym­bolic and actual intervention."



"PH: Why is it that we can be very crit­i­cal of stan­dard art­works that we under­stand the para­me­ters of? We can be very crit­i­cal of this work because we are very famil­iar with for­mal­ism and with abstrac­tion, and there are a slew of the­o­ret­i­cal approaches. When­ever you do an abstract paint­ing that looks exactly like Mon­drian, peo­ple will tell you that your work is not very rel­e­vant because you’re just copy­ing Mon­drian. And yet, you’re com­pletely home free if you do this con­cep­tual project of a school that doesn’t teach any­body and where nobody learns any­thing, but it looks really great in the press release.

HR: So by “abstract edu­ca­tion” you meant projects that use the lan­guage and frame­work of edu­ca­tion, but don’t func­tion as education?

PH: It’s com­pli­cated. Because I don’t want to say that it’s bad to do that. Some­times you just want to do a project that’s about the idea of this or that. You want to do a project that’s about dance; it doesn’t mean that you have to dance. It’s very dif­fer­ent to do a paint­ing about war, than to par­tic­i­pate in a war.

That’s why in my book, Edu­ca­tion for Socially Engaged Art, I tried to address this prob­lem by mak­ing a dis­tinc­tion between what I under­stand as sym­bolic ver­sus actual prac­tice. What I tried to argue in the book is that in art, the strongest, more long­stand­ing tra­di­tion is art as sym­bolic act; art that’s a rep­re­sen­ta­tion of the world. You make an art­work that is a thing on its own, but it addresses the world. Guer­nica is a sym­bolic act. It tells you about the hor­rors of Guer­nica, the mass killings.

In the 60s that starts to change, artists don’t want to do things about the world; they want to do things that are acts in the world. That’s why per­for­mance art emerges. I’m not going to make a the­atre piece where I pre­tend to be x, y or z. I’m going do a real live action where I am Pablo Helguera and I’m talk­ing to you, Helen. And we’re going to have this expe­ri­ence, and this expe­ri­ence can only pos­si­bly exist in this moment in time and never again, any­where else. And that’s what this art­work is about. That’s what Fluxus was about, that’s what John Cage talked about, and that’s what Alan Kaprow’s hap­pen­ings were about; it’s a very Zen idea. Suzanne Lacy’s per­for­mances, for exam­ple, they were about these women at this moment. It might be art his­tory later. It might later become a prod­uct. But the fact of the mat­ter is that what it is at that moment can never be repeated.

So, to me, socially engaged art emerges from that tra­di­tion of the here-and-now. What the “here-and-now” means, in my view, is that the artis­tic act is inex­tri­ca­ble from the time/place con­text, but that it also affects it in a very direct way. The work needs to be under­stood, described, and pos­si­bly eval­u­ated and cri­tiqued in terms of what those actual events were. When­ever you don’t have that infor­ma­tion, which is unfor­tu­nately most of the time, there is no way to know whether it hap­pened or not. Those projects that you know are really cre­at­ing an impact, that they have a pres­ence; it’s almost self-evident. I mean what­ever you want to say about Tania Bruguera’s Immi­grant Move­ment Inter­na­tional, you can go there today and see it. It’s hap­pen­ing right now. She isn’t mak­ing it up.

HR: Can you talk about the ten­sion between use­ful­ness, ambi­gu­ity, and learn­ing out­comes? You men­tion that we eval­u­ate things all the time any­way. How do you eval­u­ate art ped­a­gogy projects?

PH: Cre­at­ing an … [more]
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february 2015 by robertogreco
The Laundromat Project
"Mission & Vision

We amplify the creativity that already exists within communities by using arts and culture to build community networks, solve problems, and enhance our sense of ownership in the places where we live, work, and grow.

We envision a world in which artists are understood as valuable assets in every community and everyday people know the power of their own creative capacity to transform their lives, their relationships, and their surroundings.

Theory of Change

The Laundromat Project believes art, culture, and engaged imaginations can change the way people see their world, open them up to new ideas, and connect them with their neighbors. When artists have the opportunity to build and contribute their unique skills and perspectives to the needs of their neighborhoods, they can be invaluable assets in furthering community wellbeing. When the skills and strategies for igniting creativity are made broadly available to everyday people and purposefully applied as tools for visioning a new and better world, these can be powerful forces for positive, transformative change. We know we have been successful when, over time, our neighbors—artists and everyday people, newcomers and old-timers, individually and collectively—become more involved in the civic and cultural affairs of their communities, feel more deeply connected to the places and people where they live and work, and bring a sense of creativity to community concerns.

Values

The Laundromat Project achieves its mission by bringing socially relevant and socially engaged arts programming to laundromats and other everyday community spaces in order to reach as many of our neighbors as possible. We are particularly committed to long-term and sustained investment in communities of color as well as those living on modest incomes.

As we strive to achieve our mission and embody our vision, the following values infuse all of our work. We are:

Creative Catalysts
We see artists as unique connectors who build bridges among disparate ideas, cultures, and points of view. Their ability to bring unconventional perspectives and creative solutions to challenges and situations makes artists dynamic and powerful assets in our communities.

Community-Centered
We believe that creativity is best activated where people already are—such as their local laundromat and other everyday spaces—and while addressing the issues we care about most.

Neighborly
We believe arts, culture, and creative expression are powerful engines for turning strangers into neighbors. A community of neighbors helps make the strong, resilient communities in which we all deserve to live. We strive to be good neighbors always.

People Powered
We are inspired by the diverse, creative, passionate people with whom we work. Even when we face the challenges of inequity or injustice—be they driven by race, class, gender, education, or geography/environment—we believe in the inherent, creative capacity of us all to dream a new world and bring it into being.

Active Listeners and Learners
We do our best work when we listen to understand and learn, not just to hear or recite. Furthermore, learning, like creativity, requires a willingness to experiment, reconsider, and refine. These two skills are cornerstones for creating positive, transformative change.

Collaborative and Cross-Pollinating by Design
We believe in the full creative force of our communities to solve challenges and envision new ways of being. This is powered by working collectively and leveraging the wide-spectrum of experiences, knowledge, and skills each community member brings to and across the table.

Propelled by Love
Our work is fueled by a love of our communities, the principles of justice, and a joy powerful enough to help shape the world we dream of together. Love is a radical and essential tool of power and protest. We embrace it."
art  nyc  brooklyn  bed-stuy  laundry  socialpracticeart  public  lcproject  openstudioproject  everyday  laundromats  community  collaboration  workinginpublic 
february 2015 by robertogreco
Social Practice | Artbound | Shows | KCET
"Artbound explores Social Practice arts throughout Southern California. Featuring Olga Koumoundouros' occupation of foreclosed homes in Los Angeles; The Workers' Rug/La Alfombra Del Trabajador, an art project by day laborers, organizers affiliated with IDEPSCA, artist Katie Bachler and Jade Thacker, and the Craft and Folk Art Museum; Public Matters' Market Makeover project addressing the "grocery gap" in "food deserts," areas that have limited access to quality, healthy food; the collective Fallen Fruit, who map local public fruit trees, encouraging us to rethink our relationship to food and public space; and a performance by Moses Sumney."
socialpractice  art  socialpracticeart  california  socal  losangeles  fallenfruit  olgakoumoundouros  jadethacker  katiebachler  mosessumney  craftandfolkartmuseum  folkart  foreclosures  2014 
december 2014 by robertogreco
Steve Lambert
"Steve Lambert’s father, a former Franciscan monk, and mother, an ex-Dominican nun, imbued the values of dedication, study, poverty, and service to others – qualities which prepared him for life as an artist.

Lambert made international news after the 2008 US election with The New York Times “Special Edition,” a replica of the “paper of record” announcing the end of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and other good news. In the Summer of 2011 he began a national tour of Capitalism Works For Me! True/False – a 9 x 20ft sign allowing people to vote on whether capitalism worked for them . He has collaborated with groups from the Yes Men to the Graffiti Research Lab and Greenpeace. He is also the founder of the Center for Artistic Activism, the Anti-Advertising Agency, Add-Art (a Firefox add-on that replaces online advertising with art) and SelfControl (which blocks grownups from distracting websites so they can get work done)."



"For me, art is a bridge that connects uncommon, idealistic, or even radical ideas with everyday life. I carefully craft various conditions where I can discuss these ideas with people and have a mutually meaningful exchange. Often this means working collaboratively with the audience, bringing them into the process or even having them physically complete the work.

I want my art to be relevant to those outside the gallery – say, at the nearest bus stop – to reach them in ways that are engaging and fun. I intend what I do to be funny, but at the core of each piece there is also a solemn critique. It’s important to be able to laugh while actively questioning the various power structures at work in our daily lives.

I have the unabashedly optimistic belief that art changes the way people look at the world. That belief fuels a pragmatic approach to bring about those changes."
art  artists  politics  anarchism  anarchy  stevelambert  change  optimism  socialpracticeart  everyday  collaboration 
december 2014 by robertogreco
Jeanne van Heeswijk
"Jeanne van Heeswijk is a visual artist who facilitates the creation of dynamic and diversified public spaces in order to “radicalize the local”. Van Heeswijk embeds herself as an active citizen in communities, often working for years at a time. These long-scale projects, which have occurred in many different countries, transcend the traditional boundaries of art in duration, space and media and questions art’s autonomy by combining performative actions, meetings, discussions, seminars and other forms of organizing and pedagogy. Inspired by a particular current event, cultural context or intractable social problem, she dynamically involves neighbors and community members in the planning and realization of a given project. As an “urban curator”, van Heeswijk’s work often unravels invisible legislation, governmental codes and social institutions, in order to enable communities to take control over their own futures. Noted projects include Hotel New York P.S. 1 in New York (September 1998 to August 1999); De Strip (The Strip) in Westwijk, Vlaardingen (May 2002 - May 2004); Het Blauwe Huis (The Blue House) in Amsterdam (May 2005 - December 2009); and 2Up 2Down/Homebaked in Liverpool (Novmeber 2011 - present); Freehouse, Radicalizing the Local in Rotterdam (September 2008- present).

Her work has also been featured in numerous books and publications worldwide, as well as internationally renowned biennials such as those of Liverpool, Busan, Taipei, Shanghai, and Venice. She has received a host of accolades and awards for her work including most recently the 2012 Curry Stone Prize for Social Design Pioneers, and in 2011, the Leonore Annenberg Prize for Art and Social Change."

[See also:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeanne_van_Heeswijk
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i4qdugEpQio
http://www.spatialagency.net/database/van-heeswijk
http://www.freehouse.nl/ + https://vimeo.com/32154833
https://vimeo.com/search/page:3/sort:relevant/format:thumbnail?type=videos&q=Jeanne+van+Heeswijk
http://creativetime.org/summit/author/jeanne-van-heeswijk/

http://www.designindaba.com/profiles/jeanne-van-heeswijk
http://www.designindaba.com/videos/conference-talks/jeanne-van-heeswijk-community-development-co-production
http://www.designindaba.com/articles/interviews/stop-waiting-start-making-lessons-liveability-jeanne-van-heeswijk
http://www.designindaba.com/videos/interviews/jeanne-van-heeswijk-becoming-co-producers-our-own-future ]
jeannevanheeswijk  art  via:ablerism  local  urban  urbanism  activism  netherlands  social  change  publicdomain  public  urbanrenewal  workinginpublic  conversation  listening  education  lcproject  openstudioproject  community  publicspace  learning  howwelearn  socialpracticeart  artists 
october 2014 by robertogreco
The Uses of Art: Little Beasts | The American Reader
"Let us in our imaginations allow all this critique and disappointment to raze participatory art to the ground. Let us do away with it along with the other outmoded utopias. We live now in a world so saturated with the engagement (post, snap, tweet, comment, yo) that even commenting on that situation has become superfluous. We might think of ourselves as in a post-participatory condition. In mood, there is little hope. Change occurs as fitfully as it always has. Personal transformation passes through us convulsively, but cure eludes.

If we destroy as much as we can, oddly, the sense of possibility pokes back up, stems of quackgrass in the rubble of a vacant lot. Pretty soon we have a post-apocalyptic grove of frondy locust trees to contend with. There is something stubborn and persistent that remains, some reason that people keep trying to do this impossible thing.

Participatory art survives and not just on the margins. The less hope we have for art’s political and social efficacy, the more hyper-optimistic work appears and proliferates, under new names and old: Durational Performance, Neo-situationism, Intervention, Social Practice, Socially Engaged Art. Sometimes it’s just called “art.” Often it takes the form of “projects” which try to escape claims in relation to art history or art discourse.

Whatever we think of its chances, participatory art is an explicit antidote to the extreme narcissism of the ordinary material work of art. Walking through white cubes it becomes obvious that the expensive celebrity objects in our museums and galleries do not need us. That’s what they proclaim in their serenity and their stillness. They exist outside of time, complete unto themselves. We are patient before them, ready to be affected, but we cannot affect them in turn. Landscapes shimmer, the depicted stare out, bodies present themselves for our gaze. But the artwork fundamentally doesn’t care whether we are moved or indifferent, aroused or disgusted. It doesn’t even care if we look at it or turn away. It is unchanged by ignorance, by knowing little nods, by crowds of swooners, by expert dismissals. It sails on through time, accepting its preservation, its custodial care, as its due."



"Clark, along with several contemporaries in the influential Brazilian Neo-concretist movement (Amilcar de Castro, Ferreira Gullar, Franz Weissmann, Lygia Pape, Reynaldo Jardim and Theon Spanudis) argued for an art that was “always in the present, always in the process of beginning over,” an art which brought back “a primal—total—experience of the real.” Beginning in 1960 with her series of Bichos (beasts), she made the leap from ordinary geometric abstraction to objects meant to be handled directly by the viewer."



"Clark and other participatory artists are part of a long tradition of demystification—of deliberate attempts to destroy the mana of the work of art by treating it casually, and in so doing to destroy the political gradient between the work and the viewer. In this way, participatory art aims to change the deep structure of the art experience.

To the extent an artwork signals its hierarchical relation to the viewer, to the extent to which it is considered more valuable (financially, absolutely) than the viewer, the form of relation it offers can overwhelm any subversive “content.”

Clark’s Bichos, by demanding touch and rearrangement, propose that art can move from icon or totem to toy. A toy acts intimately. A toy does not and cannot rule its player. It can only invite. As Johan Huizinga suggested in his classic Homo Ludens, play is a free activity. “Play to order is not play: it could at best be a forcible imitation of it.”

This, in potential, gives another register to my self-consciousness and my failure to fall immersively into play with Clark’s Bicho. Between me and the Bicho is a question, a field of possibilities. It is precisely in uncertainty, in the possibility of saying no, or being unable to play, that the desire for real relation can be discovered."



"As I move the plates and hinges she says: “You are the artist, you can make whatever you want.” Generally, this is a sentiment I like, but here it strikes me as missing something crucial. It encourages you to notice your own agency but obscures the curious counter-agency of the object in your hands.

Kids, she says, are better than adults.

“Better at playing?” I ask.

“They ask permission. The adults, if they push too hard, they could break the piece.”

Even though the guard is friendly, and easy with me, her watching makes it even harder to really play. I don’t feel like either an artist or a child."



"As the Sixties ended, Clark moved away from art and especially from museums and galleries. She shifted her work to a class she taught at the Sorbonne in Paris on gestural communication. There, she developed new “relational objects,” sensory prosthetics, and experimental rituals. Imagine a group of Sorbonne students enacting Baba Antropofagica (Anthropophagic Drool), unspooling thread from their mouths and layering a tangle of saliva covered strands over a fellow student, or picture them blindfolded and trying to eat a piece of fruit from a pouch of another student’s suit.

In the milieus of Paris and Rio, rich with psychoanalytic theory and practice, Clark began to call her work psychotherapy, and when she moved back to Rio de Janeiro in 1976 she worked privately with therapeutic participants in a project she called Estruturação do Self (Structuring the Self).

In the account of Suely Rolnik, who knew Clark and has written about her extensively, “[Clark] dedicated a room of her flat to a sort of installation, where she received each person individually for one-hour-long sessions one to three times a week over a period of months, and in some cases, even a period of years. The Relational Objects were the instruments conceived by the artist to touch the bodies of her ‘clients,’ as she referred to those who were available to experience this proposal. Naked, they would lay on one of those objects, the Grande Colchão (Large Mattress), and the session would begin.”

Although Clark called this private practice therapy, she also said that she never stopped being an artist. Estruturação do Self opens the possibility of a way of art which is not merely participatory, a form of art in which the body of the artist is copresent with the art object and with the participant in a mutual relation. Too intimate, perhaps, for most. When I imagine it, I keep picturing the sensation of being covered with drool-soaked strands."



"Clark says, “True participation is open and we will never be able to know what we give to the spectator-author. It is precisely because of this that I speak of a well, from inside which a sound would be taken, not by the you-well, but by the other, in the sense that he throws his own stone.”

My own stone falls as into a shallow street puddle. Thudplop.

The problem is one of time, and of giving in. I can’t seem to give into the Bicho’s time. Its movement, yes, its lived time, no. Maybe for others this lived time would emerge more easily. Perhaps if I were a child, the fascination of the changing forms would absorb me totally. Maybe they would become dreams and stories. I want them to.

It’s as if I need the Bicho to step forward like a pet and command my attention, butting my hand with its head. Yes, now, play with me, no, don’t stop petting, don’t stop throwing the ball."



"Wanting to walk with her, I rummage around my studio for a roll of adding machine paper, glue up some Möbius strips and go out for coffee while the glue dries. When I come back, I begin cutting. “Pierce,” says Clark, so I stab the paper with the open blade and start. My scissors aren’t the best, they’re sticky and the grip seems to be made for child aliens, but despite that I am soon in a rhythm of cutting. I think of the tiny blunt scissors I saw in the hands of visitors at MoMA. I cut and cut, going around. As you meet your original cut, where the scissors have torn awkwardly into the paper, there is a choice, cut to the right or the left. I go left and steer towards the edge, to preserve as much thickness as I can. As I come around to that mark a second time I realize I’ve mistaken the geometry for a loop, my left and right are now reversed, and I’ve saved nothing. Keep going. It is indeed a little like walking. And like making. There’s a shivery doubling or layering of experience—walking is making, making is playing, mine is hers. It doesn’t much matter in that moment whose the making is, Lygia Clark’s or mine. I know I’m not having as romantic an experience as she might hope for, but there, in my studio, as the ribbon of adding machine paper gets thinner and thinner in a geometry that quickly escapes my full imagining, something is happening that wouldn’t otherwise happen. From my scissors, a tangle that is one continuous piece of paper collects at my feet, a paradox object. The making of the object is not in service to the having of the object. There is a sense of going somewhere and nowhere at the same time. There is the hope of being able to go on forever as the paper narrows and narrows until one tiny slip severs the piece and you know you’re done."
salrandolph  art  participatory  lygiaclark  walking  sensoryprosthetics  glvo  babaantropofagica  play  making  doing  conversation  audiencesofone  toys  learning  touch  rearrangement  homoludens  possibility  possibilities  uncertainty  unfinished  demystification  interaction  taboo  situationist  socialpracticeart  performance  prosthetics 
july 2014 by robertogreco
The New Rules of Public Art | Public Art Now
"Demand new rules for public art now!

An organisation born in Bristol, UK, Situations reimagines what public art can be and where and when it can take place. We like to think and reflect on what happens when the spark of an idea is lit. We test out new ways in which to share those ideas through new commissions, events, interviews, books and blogs – just like this, The New Rules of Public Art.

Sign-up here to receive a link to download your free ‘The New Rules of Public Art’ poster or scroll down to get hold of your very own rulebook. In the meantime enjoy, share and debate The Rules.

THE NEW RULES OF PUBLIC ART

Rule no. 01: IT DOESN’T HAVE TO LOOK LIKE PUBLIC ART.

The days of bronze heroes and roundabout baubles are numbered. Public art can take any form or mode of encounter – from a floating Arctic island to a boat oven – be prepared to be surprised, delighted, even unnerved.

[Futurefarmers, Flatbread Society, Oslo, 2013. Photo: Max McClure]

Rule no. 02: IT’S NOT FOREVER.

From the here-today-gone tomorrow of a “one day sculpture” to the growth of a future library over 100 years, artists are shaking up the life expectancy of public artworks. Places don’t remain still and unchanged, so why should public art?

[BC System, New Works Forever, Bristol, 2013. Photo: Georgina Bolton]

Rule no. 03: CREATE SPACE FOR THE UNPLANNED.

Commissioning public art is not a simple design-and-build-process. Artworks arrive through a series of accidents, failures and experiments. Moments of uncertainty and rethinking are the points at which the artwork comes into focus. Let responses to the artwork unfold over time and be open to the potential for unforeseen things to happen.

Rule no. 04: DON’T MAKE IT FOR A COMMUNITY. CREATE A COMMUNITY.

Be wary of predefining an audience. Community is rarely born out of geography, but rather out of common purpose – whether that be a Flatbread Society of farmers, bakers and activists building a bakehouse or 23,000 citizens across 135 countries writing a constitution for a new nation. As Brian Eno once said, “sometimes the strongest single importance of a work of art is the celebration of some kind of temporary community.”

[Alex Hartley, Nowhereisland, Mevagissey, 2012. Photo: Max McClure]

Rule no. 05: WITHDRAW FROM THE CULTURAL ARMS RACE.

Towns and cities across the world are locked into a one-size fits all style of public art. In a culture of globalized brands and clone towns, we hanker after authentic, distinctive places. If we are place-making, then let’s make unusual places.

Rule no. 06: DEMAND MORE THAN FIREWORKS.

Believe in the quiet, unexpected encounter as much as the magic of the mass spectacle. It’s often in the silence of a solitary moment, or in a shared moment of recognition, rather than the exhilaration of whizzes and bangs, that transformation occurs.

[Wrights & Sites, Everything You Need to Build a Town is Here, Weston-super-Mare, 2010. Photo: Max McClure]

Rule no. 07: DON’T EMBELLISH, INTERRUPT.

We need smart urban design, uplifting street lighting and landmark buildings, but public art can do so much more than decorate. Interruptions to our surroundings or everyday activities can open our eyes to new possibilities beyond artistic embellishment.

[One Day Sculpture Heather & Ivan Morison, Journée des Barricades, Wellington, 2008. Photo: Steven Rowe]

Rule no. 08: SHARE OWNERSHIP FREELY, BUT AUTHORSHIP WISELY.

Public art is of the people and made with the people, but not always by the people. Artists are skilled creative thinkers as well as makers. They are the charismatic agents who arrive with curious ideas – a black pavilion could be barnraised in a Bristol park, a graveyard could be built to commemorate the Enrons and West India Companies of our fallen economy, the sounds of a church organ might bleed out across the city through a mobile app. Trust the artist’s judgment, follow their lead and invest in their process.

Rule no. 09: WELCOME OUTSIDERS.

Outsiders challenge our assumptions about what we believe to be true of a place. Embrace the opportunity to see through an outsider’s eyes.

[page 32 One of the Nowhereisland Ambassadors introducing the Embassy Photo Max McClureNowhereisland Ambassador, Weymouth, 2012 . Photo: Max McClure]

Rule no. 10: DON’T WASTE TIME ON DEFINITIONS.

Is it sculpture? Is it visual art? Is it performance? Who cares! There are more important questions to ask. Does it move you? Does it shake up your perceptions of the world around you, or your backyard? Do you want to tell someone else about it? Does it make you curious to see more?

Rule no. 11: SUSPEND YOUR DISBELIEF.

Art gives us the chance to imagine alternative ways of living, to disappear down rabbit holes, to live for a moment in a different world. Local specifics might have been the stepping off point – but public art is not a history lesson. Be prepared that it might not always tell the truth.

[Tony White, Missorts, Bristol, 2012. Photo: Max McClure]

Rule no. 12: GET LOST.

Public art is neither a destination nor a way-finder. Artists encourage us to follow them down unexpected paths as a work unfolds. Surrender the guidebook, get off the art trail, enter the labyrinth and lose yourself in unfamiliar territory.

[Jeppe Hein, Follow Me, Bristol, 2009. Photo: Jamie Woodley­. Courtesy University of Bristol]

Situations opens up the potential for artists to make extraordinary ideas happen in unusual and surprising places, through which audiences and participants are encouraged to explore new horizons.

We choose to work with artists who want to connect directly with people’s lives, creating space for them to take risks, to test limits and cross boundaries. Since 2002, artists have led us and thousands of others into unchartered territories, brought us together to build, bake, grow and marvel, transformed familiar surroundings, provoked us to ask ourselves challenging questions and told us tall tales of the future.

Demand new rules for public art now!"
publicart  glvo  canon  manifestos  performance  impermanence  ephemeral  ephermerality  rules  via:ablerism  imagination  community  conversation  socialpracticeart  culture  risktaking  ownership  open  openness  outsiders  empathy  perspective  listening  resistance  situationist  authorship  collaboration  participatory  cocreation  small  slow  unplanned  spontaneity  unfinished  uncertainty  ephemerality 
july 2014 by robertogreco
Theaster Gates Sessions now posted onto New School’s YouTube channel
"as promised, we finally got all of the clearances to post the sessions and forums pertaining to Theaster Gates’ residency.

Here is a short Highlight clip: http://youtu.be/xCnDtYMuAUw

And here are the remaining YouTube links:

Session 1 – http://youtu.be/ZtQVNsy2630
Session 2 – http://youtu.be/tyiEaQex4XA
Session 3 – http://youtu.be/BvCO1ybgZ-Q
Session 4 – http://youtu.be/PFrEWOKTGdA

Day 2, Part 1 – http://youtu.be/jtEcOg8ciIU
Day 2, Part 2 – http://youtu.be/NxmDSAumvqQ "
theastergates  shannonmattern  2013  art  community  rehabilitation  arts  chicago  urban  urbanism  migration  socialpracticeart  spirituality  belief  howwework 
july 2014 by robertogreco
Chicago’s Opportunity Artist - NYTimes.com
"Six years ago, when he could barely afford his car and house payments, Gates self-financed his first solo art exhibition, holding it at a local community-arts center. Centered on a series of soul-food dinners that he served with the exacting rituals of a Japanese tea ceremony, the show also involved an elaborate ruse about a Japanese potter Gates invented; he even hired an actor to portray the fictional sculptor’s son. At that stage in his career, Gates says, he felt the need to construct a fake potter to cope with his own marginality as an artist. But in 2009, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago picked him for its emerging-artists show, and a year later he was given the sculpture court at the Whitney Biennial. In the courtyard, Gates placed thronelike shoeshine stands and stacked shelving of wood pulled from an old Wrigley’s chewing-gum factory in Chicago; his musical troupe, the Black Monks of Mississippi, performed at the museum. Around that time he also began working with decommissioned fire hoses from the 1960s. He coiled them like bull’s-eyes inside glass vitrines and frames of wood taken from his Dorchester houses (the Brooklyn Museum of Art owns one, titled “In the Event of Race Riot II . . .”) or cutting them into strips and laying the material with its faded hues side by side, like an illusive stripe painting (the Whitney is in the process of acquiring one of these). His first major show, at Chicago’s Kavi Gupta Gallery, included the fire hoses and other formal objects extracted from the demolitions and rebuilds on Dorchester. Everything sold.

Gates used the earnings to continue to restore one of the Dorchester buildings. Remarkably, he managed to fashion a kind of circular economy whereby his urban interventions were being financed by the sale of artworks created from the materials salvaged from the interventions. Kavi Gupta, whose gallery continues to represent Gates, brought some of the city’s wealthiest art collectors to Dorchester, where they fell under Gates’s spell. Not only did they buy his work, but they also asked how their foundations could support his larger enterprise. Well, Gates told them, this building does need a new heating-and-cooling system. Gupta says a check was written, the HVAC purchased soon thereafter.

Gates now owns 12 properties in the vicinity of his home. Rebuild Foundation, the nonprofit he created to run Dorchester Projects, teaches video production at the nearby middle school and sewing and design for local kids. It has begun work in Omaha and St. Louis as well, transforming properties there into community-art spaces. Gates is still full time at the University of Chicago, currently as the director of Arts and Public Life, heading an arts incubator that the university opened this year in the poor black neighborhood outside its traditional western boundary. Additionally, Gates’s nonprofit and a private development company are turning a shuttered public-housing project near Dorchester Projects into a 32-unit mixed-income complex. Starting next year, it will become home both to low-income families and to emerging artists who will do the programming at its on-site art center. Richard Sciortino, one of the development company’s owners, believes that this concept of the public-housing artist colony is something that can work elsewhere, and he and Gates are already looking into converting a couple of other housing projects on the East Coast.

If all this weren’t enough, Gates is also creating two works of art for a renovated Chicago Transit Authority train station on the South Side. For the bricks he hopes to use in his $1.3 million project, Gates plans to build an actual brick factory next to his studio. He says he will then bid on other brick contracts and also have this “most useful modular material” on hand for other artworks. Moreover, “the making of the bricks will off-heat, and that heat will be used to dry ash trees I get from the Chicago Park District,” he explained. “And we will have a full milling operation. And then the sawdust from the ash trees, we will turn that into a wooden pellet, like a fuel, and then that will feed my wood-fire kiln that makes pots.”

It sounds far-fetched. But so did almost everything else he ultimately brought to life. “Theaster offers what the art world is desperate for — vision,” says Romi Crawford, a professor of visual and critical studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. “That visionary aspect of what he does is wildly appealing.” I even heard Gates discussing the idea of erecting a planetarium on Dorchester and reaching out to George Lucas to help finance it."
theastergates  2014  chicago  art  socialpractice  socialpracticeart  cities  urban  urbanism  rebuildfoundation  activism 
january 2014 by robertogreco
Beta-Local
"Beta-Local es una organización sin fines de lucro dedicada a apoyar y promover la práctica y el pensamiento estético a través de varios programas:

La Práctica, una programa post-académico centrado el pensamiento estético y la producción artística mediante el cual becarios de diversas disciplinas llevan un proyecto desde conceptualización hasta presentación mediante procesos abiertos y frecuentemente colaborativos.

The Harbor, un programa de residencias artísticas, a través del cual artistas, arquitectos y otros hacedores residen en Beta-Loca y desarrollan proyectos o talleres.

La Ivan Illich, una plataforma mediante la cual cualquier persona puede proponer una clase que puede ofrece o que quiere tomar,

y un nutrido programa público de exhibicions, charlas, Pin-ups (críticas abiertas), muestras, exhibiciones y publicaciones.

Nuestra biblioteca de consulta, La Esquina está abierta al público un día a la semana y por cita."

[video (in English): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZXEfZ3rxEck ]

"Beta-Local is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting and promoting aesthetic thought and practice through various programs:

La Práctica, a post-academic study and production program, through which Fellows coming from diverse disciplines take a project from concept to production.

The Harbor: a residency program for visiting international artists, architects, designers and other cultural producers. Visitors to Beta-Local, develop projects, workshops and offer lectures on a variety of subjects related to art and other creative disciplines to the general public and to La Práctica Fellows.

La Ivan Illich, an open experimental school through which the participating public suggests, requests and creates courses and workshops.

and a full schedule of public programming which includes exhibitions, lectures, Pin-ups (open critiques), screenings and publications.

We also have a small reference library, La Esquina, focused on art and designopen once a week to the general public."
puertorico  ivanillich  education  art  arts  learning  colearning  via:javierarbona  studios  residencies  lcproject  freeschools  artmaking  materials  society  research  workinginpublic  tonycruz  pabloguardiola  michymaxuach  toolsforconviviality  conviviality  bosqueauxiliar  tooltotool  collaboration  socialpracticeart  walking  politics  beta-local 
december 2013 by robertogreco
MoMA PS1: YAP: Holding Pattern by Interboro Partners
"The Museum of Modern Art and MoMA PS1 announce Interboro Partners of Brooklyn, NY, as the winner of the 12th annual Young Architects Program in New York.

Interboro Partners' Holding Pattern brings an eclectic collection of objects including benches, mirrors, ping-pong tables, and floodlights, all disposed under a very elegant and taut canopy of rope strung from MoMA PS1's wall to the parapet across the courtyard. Creating an unobstructed space, the design incorporates for the first time the entire space of MoMA PS1's courtyard under a single grand structure, while creating an environment focusing on the audience as much as the Warm Up performance. A key component of the theme is recycling; objects in the space will be donated to the community at the conclusion of the summer. The designers met with local businesses and organizations including a taxi cab company, senior and day care centers, high schools, settlement houses, the local YMCA, library, and a greenmarket to determine what components of their installation could be used by those organizations following the Warm Up summer music series. Incorporating objects that can subsequently be used by these organizations is a means of strengthening MoMA PS1's ties to the local Long Island City community."

Again: "objects in the space will be donated to the community at the conclusion of the summer."

[See also: http://www.interboropartners.net/2012/holding-pattern-at-moma-ps1/
http://www.designboom.com/architecture/interboro-partners-holding-pattern-for-moma-ps1-now-complete/
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GKbC8oLdtTo and
http://www.moma.org/explore/inside_out/2012/01/12/checking-in-on-holding-pattern ]
moma  ps1  participatoryart  socialpracticeart  design  ncmideas  participation  furniture  interboropartners  art  audience  performance  recycling  community  architecture  openstudioproject 
june 2013 by robertogreco
The Artist Who Talks With the Fishes - NYTimes.com
"Jeremijenko suddenly jumped off the pier’s southernmost lip, landing on a weathered wooden walkway below. She withdrew the three coils of rope and used the box cutter to cut a roughly 20-foot length from each coil. She tied one end of each rope to a different pylon and cast the other end into the river. The ropes were made from both natural and artificial fibers. “It’s early in the mussel spawning season, so their spat is floating around everywhere; this is a little experiment to see which sorts of materials they’re drawn to,” Jeremijenko said. “My primary interest is in the mussels’ spectacular adaptability. That puts me in a different class from traditional conservationism. I’m interested in how organisms adapt to the Anthropocene” — the era of human activity on earth — “as opposed to the Sierra Club ‘conserve and preserve’ way of thinking.”"



"The daughter of a physician father and schoolteacher mother, Jeremijenko grew up in the coastal Australian city Brisbane, with nine siblings. An overachieving, Tenenbaum-ish brood, her brothers and sisters have worked as politicians, academics, coal miners, pilots, professional footballers and movie stuntmen. Natalie has collaborated on projects with several of them, and she integrates her creative activity with her personal life in other, more radical, ways — in a sly affront to “you can’t have it all,” she has delivered lectures while breast-feeding. “Experimenting with your own life is the most fundamental medium we have,” she told me.

Jeremijenko’s experimental streak extended to the naming of her kids. Her oldest daughter is Mister Jamba-Djang Vladimir Ulysses Hope (Jamba for short); her daughter with Conley is E (what “E” stands for is up to E, but so far she has decided to stick with the initial); and their son is Yo Xing Heyno Augustus Eisner Alexander Weiser Knuckles. “I had wanted to give our boy an ethnically ambiguous name to challenge assumptions about race and assimilation,” Conley wrote in a 2010 essay. “For all the Asian-American Howards out there, shouldn’t there be a light-haired, blue-eyed white kid named Yo Xing?”

For a spell, Jeremijenko got around, even indoors, on Rollerblades, which reflected her fascination with “alternate forms of urban mobility.” In her ideal metropolis, more people would commute by zip-line; in 2011, she and Haque installed a temporary system in downtown Toronto, which riders navigated with a large pair of wings, and she is now hoping to take it to the Bronx."



"She has the imagination of a think tank, the agenda of a nonprofit and the infrastructure of neither. In order to implement her ideas, she relies heavily on municipal programs, community organizations and the support of academic and art-world institutions. (At N.Y.U. she runs something called the Environmental Health Clinic, where anyone can make an appointment to discuss ways to remedy health hazards like airborne pollutants and storm-water runoff. She has had hundreds of meetings; one project turned cotton candy, a summer treat, into a more nutritious snack, using isomalt, a sugar substitute, edible flowers and high-protein bee pollen.)

But Jeremijenko has also begun experimenting with ideas for the free market, and one in particular seems ripe for some eco-minded venture capitalist to champion. She wants to encourage the production of water-buffalo-milk ice cream, which, in addition to being marvelously creamy, she says, would encourage the creation of much-needed wetlands, on which water buffalo graze. About a year ago, she says, she gave an informal presentation to representatives of Unilever, which owns Ben & Jerry’s, where she flaunted her fluency in “the topography and runoff issues affecting Vermont farmers” and showed mock labels she designed for the delicacy. Next, she plans to approach the company’s marketing department, hoping to leverage “the image of Ben & Jerry’s as a progressive, socially conscious brand,” she said."
nataliejeremijenko  2013  art  science  anthropocene  socialpracticeart  environment  environmentalism  sierraclub  progressivism  funding  health  conservation  conservationism  ethnicity  names  naming  life  living  glvo  howwelive  creativity 
june 2013 by robertogreco
Q&A: Robert Sain has a compelling vision for the Centre for the Living Arts | al.com
"Community engagement is his “obsession,” according to SAIN, who says the environment in which that happens has undergone a dramatic evolution. Institutions have changed; so have their patrons, who appreciate having the “institutional permission” to express what they think.

It was not always so. In the past, museums and other arts entities operated on the basic premise: Art is good for you. We will tell you what to think, when to think, how to act. These days, the arts should be about empowering the individual, he says.

“It’s the absolute opposite of the voice of authority,” he says. “Rather than being a place that provides the answers, it’s being a place that asks the questions.” Then something totally different happens with the organization and the audience. Perhaps there is no right answer, no one answer, especially as the world becomes increasingly complex. You have multiple perspectives and points of view.

“A cultural organization can be at least one of the places in a community in our culture today where it is safe to come together to disagree. To hear different perspectives, takes, points of view. The creative act and process for me allows that to happen in a way that can get people to hear one another and provide insights and perspective.”

It’s about a generational difference in what’s happening in the arts world, according to Sain .

“One thing I see is all conventional boundaries between and among genres — this is clearly painting, this is sculpture, this is video, this is photography, this is performance, this is music — those boundaries just evaporate,” he says. “They’re all blurring. They are more synergistic, holistic.”



My obsession is community engagement, not just with art but through art. I would like to see this place being a popcorn machine of cultural activity, where there’s something always happening, always going on for everybody, every age, all generations, all communities, that is real and has actual impact on the quality of life. What the center can do is engage the community in a sort of investigation of popular culture . . . and issues of the day through the visual and performing arts.



Part of how you do community engagement is through collaboration, building alliances, partnerships with other cultural organizations, and with social, healthcare, school system and civic. To me that’s the richness of what can happen. Because of the scale of Mobile, it’s small enough to do it and big enough to matter.



Rather than positioning (the arts) in the conventional paradigm of competing with healthcare, social services and education (and) public safety, . . . my sense is to take the cultural organization out of that hierarchical ladder and put it over here and say: ”Let us show you how, through the creativity of living artists and for the living people in this community, we can be a resource and an asset to every one of those concerns.”

Which is just a very different approach, a different mind-set. It’s about doing things that matter. This is not about art on a pedestal; it’s not about artists on a pedestal, either, as much as I have unshakable faith in artists. Whether it’s someone who wants to give fifty bucks or major philanthropist considering five million, they want to know “What is this investment gonna do? What is the impact? Why does it matter?” For me, this is a way to demonstrate why culture matters and why creativity matters, and to find ways people can experience and see that kind of impact."

[Related: http://blog.al.com/entertainment-press-register/2011/01/robert_sain_centre_living_arts.html ]
museums  art  robertsain  2011  centerforthelivingarts  socialpracticeart  engagement  community  interdisciplinary  multidisciplinary  crossdisciplinary  communityengagement  openstudioproject  lcproject 
june 2013 by robertogreco
In Conversation | Perry Chen and Theaster Gates on Community-Driven Creativity - NYTimes.com
"The Kickstarter co-founder Perry Chen understands how communities can fuel creativity. The artist Theaster Gates knows how creativity can invigorate a community. What happens when they put their heads together?"



"Perry Chen: But everything comes from somewhere. I didn’t even know this till later on, but we found out that Mozart and Beethoven and Whitman and a lot of 19th-century authors used pre-Internet models like Kickstarter — you know, not just going to rich patrons or the Medici or the Church to get the big check, but people going to dozens or even hundreds of people to fund a creative work, a book where their names might be inscribed in the first edition or a concerto. And the Internet, as it can do, can scale things up and make this same model accessible to millions and billions of people."



"Gates: Your point about purposeful infrastructure is right, but I’m not the community do-gooder. I rehabbed my building, and the building across the street was jacked up, so I cleaned it up, because I didn’t want to look at it. I was really just being a good neighbor. I wasn’t trying to be like Mr. Community Builder Man."



"Gates: People try to create the box that defines the work that we do. I know a bunch of capitalists who put a spin on their hunger for a particular kind of capitalist end: they call it “social do-gooding.” But in fact, I want to kind of resist that and say, “Look, if there’s anything that ends up looking like an activist notion, it’s secondary to just doing the thing that I wanted to do.” The reality in the neighborhood that I live in is: if I don’t constantly reconcile what I have against what other people don’t, either I need to leave and be around other people who have what I have, or I’m constantly engaged in this kind of dynamic flow of opportunity and sharing. And that just feels like smart living. Like if my mom made too much food, she’d send a plate down the street. She doesn’t know how to cook greens for two people. She knew how to cook a pot."



"Gates: But happiness is funny. There are days that are really heavy and complicated and dark. And I think that if I were to look at the trajectory of life, what has been consistent is that there are highs and lows. I mean at the moment I found out that I was accepted into Documenta, my mom died. In a way I felt like, in late 2010, my mom’s death was the thing that somehow actually activated these other future opportunities. But there was tremendous sadness. So, there was a way in which these valences live next to each other all the time."
perrychen  teastergates  2013  creativity  art  socialpracticeart  purpose  neighbors  community  urbanplanning  janejacobs  urban  urbanism  neighborhoods  platforms  funding  crowdfunding  kickstarter  infrastructure  socialgood 
june 2013 by robertogreco
Art’s a Fucking Mess | HTMLGIANT
"Good art disrupts the social order. It wakes you up, shocks you, makes you feel alive—it makes you see the world again, differently. Bad art is boring, predictable, prescribed, a weak illustration of what you’ve already been thinking."
art  glvo  shockart  predictability  socialpracticeart  socialorder  disruption  living  life  goodart  badart 
may 2013 by robertogreco

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