This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
There were never any studios for me. However, there have been tables in rooms, and when there is a room with no table, there is my ever eager lap enthusiastically offering support. This was the place where the work originated. This ‘was the private place, the ivory tower, the stationary place where portable objects were produced.’1 So, do I claim these tables and my lap as my studio or do I claim myself ‘post-studio’? There was a point in time when the idea of being post-studio had never occurred to me. This was a time when I hadn’t been introduced to the term. I think the introduction to ‘post-studio’ came by way of V2 a coworker and a painter. When V and I exchanged explanations of what we were each pursuing in art, I told him I made art in living rooms, on trains, and on the sides of buildings. V sarcastically asked if I was ‘one of those post-studio artists?’ While I wasn’t completely sure of the meaning of the term ‘post-studio’ I thought I probably was, but due to the way V framed the question, I prudently thought I should refrain from telling him that the idea sounded interesting to me. I told him I was not a post-studio artist, I was just poor and making due. He laughed and his attitude toward me changed. I wasn’t threatening his practice by calling into question his mode of production. V was making paintings, mostly sexually charged female nudes. He did these paintings in his small studio under a bridge, always alone and without any explicit input from others (influence is another matter altogether and in the short time we held the same job we never broached this subject.) My post-studio practice was born out of necessity. As I had no designated place for making work, I worked wherever I could. More importantly because I had no platform in which to exhibit my work I began to make work for public arenas and build my own platforms. Historically ‘post-studio practices’ have not simply have been born out of necessity but birthed in a tangle of social and political gestures. Pete Seeger had been a radio man, traveling the far corners of the country recording folk music in an attempt to preserve the countries disparate ways of interpreting and expressing the sentiments of its people. He broadcast the songs to millions of listening Americans thus giving them some sense of ownership over this great music that came from their country. When Seeger was branded a communist and black-listed from the radio he did not give up his crusade to bring this vital music to the people. Instead, he turned to sing-along’s as a way to carry music to the ears of Americans. In this simple act Seeger subverted the authority of the radio, the powerful little box that since its introduction has reigned supreme in the dissemination and display of music.
A few notes on post-studio
In the 1960’s, artists began to follow Seeger’s example of subverting the power structure. Artist began subverting the idea that the production of art should be linked to the studio. While the constrains of the studio are more theoretical than Seeger’s constraints, nevertheless the rejection of the studio has had a profound effect on the way art has been produced and exhibited since. Judd began having his boxes built with industrial fabricators instead of building them in his studio. Robert Smithson (considered by many to be one of the earliest examples of a post-studio artist) produced art at/for specific sites and then only referred to those sites when exhibiting the idea off site3. John Baldessari burned all of his paintings in order to clean the slate of any remnants of the rarefied artist slaving in seclusion to produce a masterpiece. Since Daniel Buren dropped the bomb he called The Function of the Studio we cannot help but refine our relationship to the studio. The studio now represents a place of preparation rather than production. In Buren’s essay, unleashed in 1971, he never uses the term ‘post-studio’, he establishes that artwork is not necessarily portable and when it is there is always an unspeakable compromise: to stay in its native habitat (the studio where the work was conceived and executed) and never be seen, or to be exhibited publicly and equalized by the systematic display methods of the museum. While studio/post-studio is a fascinating historic split and helped us achieve artistic freedoms not previously associated with art. We can no longer ignore the fact that this strand of dialogue is being rendered increasingly obsolete. We live in a time where value and authority reside more in information than in objects. Where dissemination holds more sway than site. With production and exhibition no longer corresponding to physical spaces or states but dreamed up for specific projects, it is clear that artists have taken the death of the rarefied production place as a given.
-Ryan Wilson Paulsen, January 2009
Buren, Daniel. “The Function of the Studio”. In October: The First Decade, 1976-1986, ed. Joan Copjec, Douglas Crimp, Rosalind Krauss, 201- 207. Cambridge: MIT, 1987. 2 I am not using the letter V in place of a name to protect this persons identity but rather because I can not be completely sure of his name. His last name is entirely lost to me, but I believe it is possible that his first name was Vincent so I decide on V. 3 Smithson referred to this as ‘site/non-site.’
* Smithsonian: Archives of American Art. “Oral history interview with John Baldessari, 1992 April 4-5.” Smithsonian Institute. http://www.aaa.si.edu/collections/oralhistories/transcripts/ baldes92.htm (January 10, 2009).
said that Carl Andre might have coined the term ‘Post-Studio.’
Connective Aesthetics - Suzy Gablik by Varinthorn Christopher
Suzi Gablik was the ﬁrst person who use the term “Connective Aesthetics”. She criticized the mainstream art practice as lacking connection to the real world. Suzi is against the idea that artists are geniuses who needs to separates themselves by being alone in the studio and contemplated their own individual idea into a piece of art. She also disliked idea that artist should not involved their practice with politic or activism. Many artists and art historians argued that such works are not considered art because artist need to compromised their idea in order to serve that kind of functional purposes. The “connective aesthetics” term, in my opinion, is similar to “social practice” in a way that both terms corroborated the idea that art should connect to the society instead of separate it.
About Suzy Gablik Suzy is an artist, art critic, and art historian. She attended Hunter College (now part of the City University of New York) where she studied with Robert Motherwell. She received her B. A. in 1955. Suzy began her career as a painter and had many solo show in New York. In 1970s she stopped making art and dedicated herself to writing art history and criticism. She also gave lectures at universities. She wrote "Progress in Art" in 1977. Increasingly, she became concerned with the social aspects of art and often wrote about it. She published "Has Modernism Failed?" in 1984. IIn the book she criticized that early 1980s art movement lacking the commitment to social change. Suzy said that she stopped painting because her writing was not only more satisfying but also allow her to alter people's thinking through reading. She was the London critic for Art In America until 1990. In 1991, she came up with the term "connective aesthetics" which she intended to use against "deconstruction and despair" of mainstream art world. Suzy wrote that she believed the dominant art was part of the problem. "Art should heal" she continued "Something that contemporary art did not do."
Suzy in print Gablik, Suzi. Conversations Before the End of Time. New York; London: Thames & Hudson, 1998. Gablik, Suzi. “Connective Aesthetics,” American Art 6, no. 2 (Spring,1992) 2-7. Gablik, Suzi. Has Modernism Failed?. New York; London: Thames & Hudson, 1985. Gablik, Suzi. Progress in Art. New York; London: Thames & Hudson, c1976. Gablik, Suzi. The Reenchantment of Art. New York; London: Thames & Hudson, 1991.
Suzy on the web Gablik, Suzi. The Nature of Beauty in Contemporary Art, http://www.ru.org/81gablik.html Gablik, Suzi. Sacred Art, exhibition curated by Suzi Gablik, http://www.apexart.org/exhibitions/gablik.htm Gablik, Suzi. The Reenchantment of Art, excerpt, http://home.att.net/~allanmcnyc/Suzi_Gablik.html Gablik, Suzi. Resurgence, http://www.resurgence.org/magazine/author10-Suzi-Gablik.html
I really like Suzi.
Connective Aesthetics - Suzy Gablik by Varinthorn Christopher Below is the conversation between Suzi Gablik and Thomas Moore taken from Suzi s book “Conversation Before the End of Time”. I found it so interesting, so much so that I decided to include it instead of images.
Suzi: The point is, James, that within the traditionally accepted model of the artist, based on isolated individualism, it s very difﬁcult to perceive any strong connection or direct inﬂuence that art could have on the world. That s why in my writing I have been drawn to artists who are using their creativity in ways that can have a more direct effect. Hillman: We ve talked about this before, and I think there s a problem, about, ﬁrst of all, why that s art, and second of all, what s the difference between that artist cleaning the river and l art pour l art? Because in the end, her art has no worldly effect. You say yourself that it s not really even meant to clean the river; it becomes a devotional ritual. (But for me the real problem is) what gets metaphorized in her work? Doesn t she remain in the literal world? And, as such, it s not art? She s literally cleaning the river! Suzi: But that s a problem only if you want to deﬁne art as a separate aesthetic realm, divorced from life and quarantined to the museum or art gallery. And only if you want to insist on the Cartesian split between art and life, self and world. Hillman: I certainly don t deﬁne art that way, but I do believe it transforms the literal to the metaphorical and mythical. Otherwise, the social comment, politics, advocacy, protest exist on one level only... For me, art is dedicated to beauty; it s a way to let beauty into our world by means of the artist s gifts and sensibilities... I think beauty needs to come into it somehow. Ideas of beauty and metaphor are necessary to what I call art. Suzi: In another of these conversations, Satish Kumar says that in India, art was never meant to hang on walls—it s part of life. He thinks that the desert of ugliness all around us is connected with concentrating our notion of beauty in a great body of works of art to be found only in the oases of museums. In India, art is not separated from the normal ﬂow of life. A lot of discussion is being instigated by people now who feel that until—or unless—art can reconnect with life, it s going to stay marginal, without any part to play in the larger picture. Hillman: That s a very good point, because it shows something crucial to this civilization: that the work in the river can be put in a different context altogether, which is art in the service of... life. Like the way dance was originally in the service of the tribal community; it wasn t dance for an audience on a stage. It was a dance that helped the crops to grow. Suzi: In our culture, the notion of art being in service to anything is anathema. Aesthetics doesn t serve anything but itself and its own ends. I would like that to change. When Hilton Kramer says that the minute you try to make art serve anything, you re in a fascistic mode—well, I don t believe that. Hillman: I d like to defend the cleaning of the river, for a moment. I m going back to what you said a little earlier: it s the attempt to put art in the service of something. Suzi: Yes, that s where the issue is. Hillman: Art in the service of something. If we say that it s life, and if we think, for instance, of the Balinese village where everything is made to be functional and useful, for celebrations or ceremonies... you re still in service to the gods, somehow. Now we don t have that—we ve wiped the gods out... So the god that art now serves is the god that dominates the culture, which is the god of commodity, of money. So it is in service, it s in service to gods we don t approve of... Now suppose the question doesn t become what art should do, but rather how do we ﬁnd that which art should serve? Art is already in service, so we could perhaps change that to which it is in service? Suzi: So the question is what could art better serve than the things it has been serving, like bourgeois capitalism, throughout our lifetimes? Hillman: Right! And I think the artist in the river is serving a different god.
I really like Suzi.
The term engaged practice defines an approach to creating work with an audiences involvement as the medium to communicate the artist’s concept for visual presentation. This area of practice is much easier to examine and understand on the outside of a piece of artwork. Often it seems that a piece of artwork in the engaged practice field is hard to notice when your an actual part of the artwork itself. This is because the artist has studied the way that people act and react to certain situations that we all are presented with, this provides a way of using people and their emotions to portray a larger picture. Most of the time a single work from an artist is only a fraction of the full idea that the artist is trying to communicate, this causes some confusion and disconnect with people who are not fully engaged with the subject matter. other people act around us. This is its basic form is engaged practice, its really just how one person can convince you how to act without you knowing it. This is not meant to point out how one way of engaged practice is better or more worth while than any other, because most are very similar, just take on different colors. Some artist that can best communicate how engaged practice looks and works.
Anna Best www.annabest.info Michael Atavar www.atavar.com Carey Young www.careyyoung.com
The art of engaged practice has become of great use to the business world where the new school way of thinking and conveying a message, concept, or identity is seen as a marketing tool. A tool that has started to become very coveted by large design firms and ad agencies looking to create the next ground breaking campaign. In some way all of us have become the audience to an artist’s engaged practice piece, we all react and morph our ideas and concepts according to the way that
* A-N Knowledge Bank. “Engaged Practice” A-N. http://www.a-n.
co.uk/knowledge_bank/article/87021 (accessed January 10, 2009).
A HISTORY OF SOCIALLY ENGAGED ART
TANNER SCOTT 2009
Artistic License (detail) 2005 Signed inkjet prints with fingerprinting ink, pins, table and chair, invigilator. Paper size: 21 x 14.6 cm.
Artistic License (installation view) 2005 Signed inkjet prints with fingerprinting ink, pins, table and chair, invigilator. Paper size: 21 x 14.6 cm.
Artistic License (installation view) 2005 Signed inkjet prints with fingerprinting ink, pins, table and chair, invigilator. Paper size: 21 x 14.6 cm.
Installation view, Consideration, Paula Cooper Gallery, 2005
Declared Void (installation view) 2005 Vinyl drawing and text Dimensions variable. 337.8 x 337.8 cm. as installed
Carey Young Consideration 2004-2005 Series of Mixed Media Works Exhibited at Paula Cooper Gallery in New York.
* Carey Young. “Consideration 2004-5 Series of mixed media works”
CareyYoung.com. http://www.careyyoung.com/past/consideration. html (accessed January 10, 2009).
TANNER SCOTT 2009
A HISTORY OF SOCIALLY ENGAGED ART
Social Sculpture By Ahren Hochhalter
While researching the definition of “Social Sculpture,” I found that many people had different ideas as to what this term pertains to. Many of them were so vague that it seemed like the definition transcended art alone. Despite this, most of the definitions mentioned the significance of one artist, Joseph Beuys, a prominent artist during the 1960’s. His goal as an artist was to get across the idea that society as a whole was a piece of artwork and that every person alive has a role in this artwork. He also liked using the phrase “Everyone is an Artist.” This phrase he used was often misconceived as saying that everyone can draw or paint a picture, but he meant that each individual could be creatively active and has ideas that are pertinent to artwork. He came to be famous for his philosophies about art and transforming the preconceived notions about sculpture. He believed that through his artwork he could expand the definition of what sculpture and art were. He also conducted what are called “ritualistic performances,” in which he is involved in a somewhat theatrical performance involving the audience in such works as “EURASIA,” “Celtic,” and “I Like America and America Likes Me.”
Bibliography: 1. Social Sculpture Research http://social-sculpture.org/
2. Wikipedia www.wikipedia.com
Art For Networks
Art for Networks is a localized term for a socially engaged practice, in use most frequently in the early 2000’s, and most often in association with a group of artists working in England at the time. An exhibition of the same name was curated by Simon Pope and Hannah Firth at Chapter in Cardiff England in 2002. A brief exhibition statement tells that Art for Networks looks at artists who produce or use networks through their practice, and who investigate, implement or critique these networks, often working at the intersection between them. The phrase “Art for Networks,” was designed as a broadening of the term “net.art” to encompass both internet based, and physical representations of networks. The phrase however seemed often confused with “net.art,” and did not move much beyond it’s local origins or the exhibition that came to deﬁne it. The exhibition included artists Rachel Baker, Anna Best, Heath Bunting, Adam Chodzko, Jeremy Deller, Honor Hager with Adam Hyde, Jodi, Nina Pope & Karen Guthrie, James Stevens, Technologies to the People, and Stephen Willats. The exhibition existed both as documentation of previously produced “network” art, and as a hub for participatory projects. Some of these projects included a courier service, mail art, a message board system, and an ice cream truck network, along with multiple webbased projects. The exhibition also featured a conference by the same name. Speakers included Simon Pope, Sarah Cook, Pauline van Mourik Broekman, Armin Medosch, Jeremy Deller, Nina Pope, Technologies to the People and Heath Bunting. Presentations were followed by break out sessions, where smaller groups could discuss some of the issues raised during the presentations. Simon Pope remains active in the arts. He is currently researching walking & sociality in contemporary visual art practice at Transmedia, Hogeschool Sint Lukas, Brussels. Jeremy Deller is perhaps the most notable artist associated with “Art for Networks.” The recipient of the 2004 Turner Prize, Deller has gained prominence with politically charged artworks and ﬁlms.
Chapter.org. “Art for Networks.” http://www.chapter.org/1675.html Chapter.org. “Art for Networks Conference.” http://www.chapter.org/1673.html Interface (a-n.co.uk/interface). “Review: Art for Networks” http://www.a-n.co.uk/interface/reviews/single/ 67732 Ambulant Science. http://www.ambulantscience.org/ 6 Questions in search of a network. Interview with Simon Pope. http://www.ambulantscience.org/ legacy_projects/art_for_networks/a4n_texts/6_questions_network.pdf (artfornetworks.org is no longer online as of January 2009)
The History of the World, Jeremy Deller, 1997
Installation Shot: Art for Networks, Chapter Art Center, Cardiff, UK, 2002
Dialogical art examines the open-ended possibilities in the process of communication that artwork initiates, rather than constantly changing objects.¹ This requires two shifts; a more nuanced account of communicative experience and understanding the work of art as a process of communication rather than an object. Conventional art places emphasis on the object of art itself. The process in which that art is made is removed entirely from the audience and under presuppositions about said audience. Dialogical artists want to move away from concept, object− initiated art and provide context over content. The potential with dialogical art is endless, but there are many obstacles for said artists. Discourse, and the trust necessary for discursive interaction, grow out of a sustained relationship in time and space and co-participation in specific conditions of existence. The financial means and personal responsibility to maintain such a committment are sometimes out of reach. There is also a danger of becoming a “dialogical canvasser,” perceiving to have the authority to transgress boundaries of race and class "on behalf of" any number of disenfranchised "others". ²
Grant Kester is an art historian and critic whose research is SOLELY (!) based on socially-engaged art, visual culture of American reform movements, and aesthetic theory.³ Dialogical art is an alternative approach Kester offers in direct response to the avant-gardes and post-modern art. Par example: Jean-François Lyotard, the French philosopher and literary theorist. He belived that the shock of the “sublime” is in and of itself valuable in art. The only way for an artist to achieve this state and “succeed,” is by depriving any type of shared discourse and framework to the artists’ viewers as possible.
In “Brentford Towers” (1985), Willats asked the inhabitants of a particularly decrepit apartment complex to map the interiors of their own rooms and ID objects with particular personal significance. They would then relate the object(s) to scenes in the outside world through their perspective windows. Willats would then create a montage with a portrait of the resident, statements, and images that mark the space as their own private identification.4
suzanne lacy + TEAM
“The Roof Is On Fire” (1994) took place in Oakland, CA where Latino and African American teenagers were able to take control of their image and to trascend the clichés portrayed by the news and entertainment media. Performance-based, the project gave students a space from which to speak to each other and to a broader audience.5
loraine leeson, art of change
“West Meets East” (1992) is a textile and photomontage construction that was displayed as a 12x16 foot billboard in the London Docklands. Working in collaboration with a class of Bengali girls and their teachers in Bow, Leeson opened a dialogue with the young women about their common experiences living between two cultures and struggling to form a new identity at their intersection.6
¹, 4, 5, 6Kester, Grant, H.. 2004. Conversation Pieces: Community and Communication in Modern Art. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press. ²Kester, Grant, H.. 2000. Dialogical Aesthetics. Variant Magazine. http://www.variant.randomstate.org/9texts/KesterSupplement.html (accessed January 10, 2009). ³Department of Visual Arts, . 2008. Grant Kester. UCSD. http://visarts.ucsd.edu/user/view/32 (accessed January 10, 2009).
1 Hello. My name is Grant Kester.
stephen willats “Brentford Towers” (1985) 6
suzanne lacy + TEAM “The Roof Is On Fire” (1994)
1. Anytime, Anyplace Symposium. 2008. Speakers. 2008 Pasadena City College Artist in Residence. http://www.pasadena.edu/dmc-pcc/collective/page_who.html (accessed January 10, 2009). 2, 4, 5, 6. Kester, Grant, H.. 2004. Conversation Pieces: Community and Communication in Modern Art. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press. 3. Unknown. 2008. Past: Stephen Willats, Brentford Towers. ARTANGEL. http://www.artangel.org.uk/pages/past/85/85_willats.htm (accessed January 10, 2009).
loraine leeson “West Meets East” (1992)
For the sake of understanding, situationist, defined by the Internationale Situationniste #1, is someone
economics, natural disasters, obesity, commerical speech and junk-food advertising, Supreme Court dynamics, racial injustice, affirmative action, race and rape, employment discrimination, employee adherence to workplace rules, legitimization of war, inside counsel, corporate law, and player autonomy in the National Basketball Association, among other topics.” 5
names Walter Mischel Guy Debord Maurice Wyckaert Michele Bernstein sites 1. http://www.spunk.org/texts/writers/black/sp001671.html 2. http://libcom.org/thought/situationists-an-introduction 3. http://www.bopsecrets.org/SI/1.definitions.htm 4. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Situationism_(psychology) 5. http://thesituationist.wordpress.com/about-situationism/ 6. http://www.artmovements.co.uk/situationism.htm 7. http://mypages.surrey.ac.uk/pss1su/lecturenotes/documents/definitions.html
“relating to the theory or practical activity of constructing situations. One who engages in the construction of situations. A member of the Situationist International. ” 1 Broad and Complex, the term is open to interpretation but it most defiantly came from the European organization the Situationist International, formed in 1957. Situationism is the study of humans apart from institution and law, with the understanding that the psychology behind societal practices are wrong. The Internationale Situationniste (SI) focused on real life, real live activity, “which continually experiments and corrects itself, instead of just constantly reiterating a few supposedly eternal truths. ” 2 I think. Situationism does not exist. According to the Internationale Situationniste #1 Paris, June 1958, this term is “meaningless [and] improperly derived from [situationst]. There is no such thing as situationism, which would mean a doctrine for interpreting existing conditions. The notion of situationism is obviously devised by antisituationists. ” 3 As the situationalist internatonal finished speaking at the London’s Institute for Contemporary Arts in 1961, a confused audience member posed the question “what is situationism?” Guy Debord arose to announce, in French, “We’re not here to answer cuntish questions.”4 The IS consisted of a deaf chairman, a speaker who spoke no english, and participants who denied that the topic of the meeting existed—and so they walked out.
notes 1. Knabb, Ken . “bureau of public secrets: Definitions”. Situationist International. Jan 12, 2009 <http://www.bopsecrets.org/SI/1.definitions.htm>. 2. libcom, “Situationists - an introduction”. libcom. Jan 12, 2009 <http://libcom.org/ thought/situationists-an-introduction>. 3. Ref 1. 4. Parfrey, Adam . “THE REALIZATION AND SUPPRESSION OF SITUATIONISM”. Journal of Unconventional History 1994: pp. 5. Hanson, Jon, and David Yosifon. The Situation: An Introduction to the Situational Character, Critical Realism, Power Economics, and Deep Capture. U. Pa. L. Rev. , 2003.
“Situationism has been applied to such topics as power
jordan lessler | situationism
Published December 10, 2007 Beinecke Library , General Modern Collection The Situationist Times #2 (1962)
Situationist grafitti, Menton, Occitania, 2006 (the 1968 slogan “It is forbidden to forbid”, with missing apostrophe)
libcom, “Situationists - an introduction”. libcom. Jan 12, 2009 <http://libcom.org/ thought/situationists-an-introduction>.
Yet Another Introduction to the Situationist International Issue #27, 1997 <http://www.notbored.org/yet.html>.
jordan lessler | situationism
A cloud of rationality and high ideals surrounds the artist Suzanne Lacy. I just grokked that Athena sprung fully armored from Zeus' forehead. Of course: she's the mental construct men tend to generate that turns women into an armored enemy and divides humans from one another by things that don't exist unless people believe in them. I think this is also what is usually translated from Asian languages as Ego. Mythologically speaking I see part of feminism's purpose as raising awareness of these mental constructs and taking them apart, breaking them down, each human ﬁnding the power to deﬁne itself. I guess the guys will ﬁgure it out for themselves as we always do. Moving to a more reﬁned zoom level we can see... Suzanne Lacy sees art as a means to inﬂuence society by engaging the public with her work. Her Violence Series from the 1970's raised awareness of domestic violence against women and children in a series of performances. It's easy to ﬁnd information on the issues SL cares about, but difﬁcult to ﬁnd out exactly what she's done in her performances. That's what I mean about the cloud of rationality. Not that rationality is a bad thing, just that it seems to function as a suit of armor in this case, referring everything to the Cause. More stories! Less rhetoric! That's all I'm sayin'. Betty Ann Brown. "Women and collaborative practice." In Grove Art Online. Oxford Art Online, http://www.oxfordartonline.com.proxy.lib.pdx.edu/subscriber/article/ grove/art/T2022123 (accessed January 12, 2009). http://suzannelacy.com/index.htm
The Violence Series
Full Circle photos from her website http://suzannelacy.com/index.htm
An Overview in 3 Columns
by Anna Christa Gray
COMMUNITY ART bY AppROpRIATIve defINITION
“Community art is that which is rooted in a shared sense of place, tradition or spirit... Community-based art is as much about the process of involving people in the making of the work as the finished object itself... [It] is situated in more public, accessible and resonant places, geared to a specific audience and a specific time.” - Jan Cohen-Cruz “The term community art has been used broadly to describe art...[such as] afterschool programs for youth, community centers that offer intergenerational programming, site-specific mural projects, and public installations or performances. The community artist is one that enters into the lives of others to activate creativity...” - from the Wheaton College MFA website “[Art-based community development is] arts-centered activity that contributes to the sustained advancement of human dignity, health and/or productivity within a community. These include:
-Activities that EDUCATE and INFORM us about ourselves and the world -Activities that INSPIRE and MOBILIZE individuals or groups. -Activities that NURTURE and HEAL people and/or communities -Activities that BUILD and IMPROVE community capacity and/or infrastructure.”
COMMUNITY ART bY hIsTORICAl exAMple
Community art is a broadly used term that came into common usage in the 1960’s often to describe art that was an “expression of participatory democracy.”1 Though, community art as a discipline that embraces ritual, collectivity, and the possibility of social change, it has roots that stretch much farther back than that, intersecting with a wide range of educational, psychological, religious and political histories. A few various examples of groups, figures, and projects that factor into the history of community art are as follows:
-John Dewey, who believed in art and music as “signs” of and “marvelous aids in the creation of community.” -Pete Seeger, who turned to the transformative power of the sing-a-long to cultivate an atmosphere of national ownership and community.3 -Joseph Beuys, whos concept of ‘social sculpture’ had a major impact on the way artist’s think about the social and political work that art can accomplish. -The Social and Public Art Resource Center and the L.A. Mural Program, started by Judith Baca, who employed over 1,000 atrisk youth and painted the famous Great Wall of Los Angeles. -Free Southern Theater, who brought theater projects to the rural black south during the 1960’s, to people who had never before had access to it.4 -Bread & Puppet Theater, who create politically and socially aware shows with a commitment to community participation. -The Beehive Collective, a volunteer organization that creates posters which are used as tools to share stories and educate people about global injustice. -The AIDS Memorial Quilt, which was started in 1987 and is the largest ongoing community art project in the world.
Mattern, Mark. Acting in Concert: Music Community and Political Action. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1998. 4. Report from the Free Southern Theater. Civil Rights in Mississippi Digital Archive. http://anna.lib.usm. edu/~spcol/crda/zwerling/mz024.html
COMMUNITY ART: ITs CORRelATes ANd CRITICIsMs
Community Art, or Community-Based Art, or Art-Based Community Development all operate on the assumption that “art can catalyze critical thinking, inspire individuals to work together, create visions, [and] heal.”6 For community artists, this signals art’s function rather than its possibilities. The emphasis on participatory experience, therapy, and social transformation, can push the aesthetic content of a project to the periphery, rendering it merely a formulaic means to an end. This often marginalizes the artistic aspects of the project, favoring repeatability and ‘success rate’ over original thinking, and thus removing it from the larger discourse of art. These unconsidered repetitions of aesthetic strategies perpetuate in the field of community-based art, evident in endless ribbons of murals and mosaics that cover the walls and parks of our cities. This programming of art alongside other plans for community development, means that there can be established, efficient, and repeatable ways to ‘make’ community happen and make art, thus denying both the inherent dynamism of groups of people, and the definition of art itself. I see the ‘readymade community’ through art as an illusion and a distinct problem in the field. As more and more non-profit organizations look to art-making to develop community, and more and more redundancies appear, a circling performance of viewer/ participant responses plays out. The limits of representation and social interaction are rarely tested within the community arts, where it seems consensus creation/participation can be the only model. Community art has and has had a necessary place, and a history of interesting and affecting projects, but in my opinion it has grown into a practice that has more in common with bureaucratic evangelical outreach than with the project of art.
Bishop, Claire ed. Participation. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2006. deNobriga, Kathie, “An Introduction to Alternate ROOTS,” High Performance, Winter 1993. 7. Gablik, Suzi. Conversations Before the End of Time. New York: Thames and Hudson, 1997.
- William Cleveland It is “creative expression that emerges from communities of people working together to improve their individual and collective circumstances...Community art is by its nature dialectical.” -Kathie de Nobriga and Mat Schwarzman
Cohen-Cruz, Jan. “An Introduction to Community Art and Activism” Community Arts Network. http://www. communityarts.net/readingroom/archivefiles/2002/02/ an_introduction.php. 2. deNobriga, Kathie and Mat Schwarzman, “Community Based Art for Social Change.” Community Arts Net work. http://www.communityarts.net/readingroom/ archivefiles/1999/10/communitybased.php
From: virtualmentor.ama-assn.org/img-old/aidsquilt.jpg From: www.beehivecollective.org 3. From: picasaweb.google.com/lh/photoI6myCVUoExTkBE fMkRhJJQ&usg=__uOUg5AHBt3bnYVHghtdra5s2XSc=&h =1200&w=1600&sz=15&hl=en&start=22&um=1&tbnid=jk CighWvWTdhSM:&tbnh=113&tbnw=150&prev=/images% 3Fq%3Dmural%2Bunfinished%26start%3D21%26ndsp%3D 21%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den%26client%3Dsafari%26rls%3 Den%26sa%3DN 4. From: sumiinkclub.com/?m=200810
Public Art, in its broadest sense, is art that is made to exist outside of galleries and museums. Many of the kinds of works that we call Public Art have been around for as long as our cultural history, like monuments and murals. But the way we think about Public Art as it’s own category started sometime between the 1960’s and 70’s. There are a number of histories that influenced the creation of this new category and corresponding term. In the history of Art Modernism separated Art from everyday public places and relegated it to the pristine spaces of the museum and the gallery.1 Since that segregation took place many artists have worked to either break the specialized category of Art or reintegrate it into everyday life places and activities, including artists from the conceptual art, feminist art and land art movements. This created a need for a new category to describe Art works that belong` outside of sanctioned art spaces. The development of the field of Public Art coincided with the creation of Government Percent for Art Programs, the first of which was started in Philadelphia in 1959 and spread quickly across American cities, providing substantial funding for art works made for public places. 2 These percent for art funds were very popular in government because of the hope that they might be able to help ward off the growing civil unrest in the increasingly bleak city environments that were being created by urban developers.3 Another branch of the history of publicly supported, publicly displayed art in the Untied States is government funded economic development projects for artists including, most famously, the Works Progress Administration during the great depression and in the late 1970’s the Comprehensive Employment Training Act where artists were employed by the government to produce art events but had to find spaces outside of galleries and museums to display the work.4 In light of this strong governmental history it makes sense that Public Art is a term that is now used more by arts administrators and officials than by Artists describing their own work.5 The term can be used to talk about the whole diverse category of artworks that exist outside of official art spaces. But artists and critics tend to choose other terms such as socially engaged practices, interventions, community arts and site-specific works.6 Some Artists have tried to reclaim the term Public Art such as Suzanne Lacy, who used the modified phrase New Genre Public Art to indicate artworks that take political and social needs of their audience as their starting place. But the bureaucratic ring of the term Public Art lingers. Artworks that are described most commonly as Public Art have often involved large amounts of institutional negotiation, such as Jeanne-Claude and Christo’s many wrapping projects where the background work of attending permitting meeting is fundamental to the art work itself, or Richard Serra’s Tilted Arc where the work generated public outcry and precipitated formal proceedings to get it removed.
Finkelpearl, Tom. Dialogues in Public Art. Cambridge: MIT Press 2000 Finkelpearl, Tom. Dialogues in Public Art. Cambridge: MIT Press 2000 3 Finkelpearl, Tom. Dialogues in Public Art. Cambridge: MIT Press 2000 4 Becker, Jack. “Public Art's Cultural Evolution.” Community Arts Network. http://www.communityarts.net/readingroom/archivefiles/2002/02/public_arts_cul.php (accessed Jan 11, 2009) 5 Cantiere, Cameron and Shelly Willis. The Practice of Public Art. New York: Routledge, 2008 6 Cantiere, Cameron and Shelly Willis. The Practice of Public Art. New York: Routledge, 2008
While it is possible to say that all art pieces provide some sort of service in the form of creating a space for reflection, discourse or pleasure, the term service work within the context of social practices relates to works where artists replicate settings and situations from the non-art realm of the service economy within the context of art making. Artists working in this way have been known to create settings for their work that both look and function like travel agencies, doctors offices, state and city government offices, store fronts, hair salons and restaurants. Audience members take on the role of clients in these pieces, and usually benefit from some sort of tangible outcome, such as a haircut, answer to a question, or personalized response. According to Steven Madoff in his 2008 article “Service Aesthetics,” the sincerity of the transaction in pieces such as these leads to a level of intimacy that is central to the work. He states that the generous offering of the artist is “an element that seeks to affirm a sense of self for the individual client that may have gone missing in the congestion, freneticism, and disenfranchisement of service culture.” Through both the intimate nature of these pieces and their displacement of non-art systems within the artistic context, service works offer unique insights into the role of the artist as producer and their art as product. Some Examples: Paco Cao, “Rent-a-Body,” 1996. Cao modeled this project after a rental-car agency, wherein clients could call to hire his body for various tasks. http://www.claireoliver.com/artists.html?artist_no=4 Josh Greene, “Unlicenced Therapist,” 2001, 2008. Greene set up a gallery space to resemble a therapist’s office and offered his time to discuss and consult with audience members about themes of their choosing. http://www.josh-greene.com/2008/08/ unlicensed-therapist/ Haha, “Flood,” 1992-95. According to the artists’ website, during Flood, the artist group Haha organized a group of 20-30 people to build and maintain a hydroponic garden in a storefront in Chicago growing vegetables for people living with HIV. Flood also provided bi-weekly meals, educational activities, meeting space, public events, and information to their audiences. http://www.hahahaha.org/projFlood.html The M.O.S.T., “The Mostlandian Embassy,” 2006. The art group The M.O.S.T. opened an Embassy to a quasi-fictional place called Mostlandia in Melbournes‘ Town Hall offering passport and visa servcies, hair cuts, high-fives, finger foods, approvals, kisses for a dollar, deep commitment and love and friendship registries, tours of the city, safety surveillance, house cleaning and ice cream. http://www.mostlandia.com/pages/ausembassy.htm Sara Thacher, “Vacation Surrogate,” 2009. Sara offers to consult with audience members about they type of vacation they’d like to take in San Francisco, and then takes their vacation for them, later providing clients with pictures, guides, souvenirs, journal entries, and other mementos of their trip. http://borro.ws/vacation_ surrogate/index.html Additional References: Madoff, Steven Henry. “Service Aesthetics.” Art Forum, September, 2008. Molesworth, Helen. “Work Ethic.” Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2003. Randolf, Sal. “Service-Works: Josh Greene.” In the Conversation: Art Talk Outside the Cube. http://intheconversation.blogs. com/ art/2008/03/service-works-b.html
prepared by Katy Asher
Service Works - Images
Images: 1. Paco Cao, “Rent-a-Body,” storefront, 1996. 2. Josh Greene, “Unlicenced Therapist,” business card, 2001. 3. Haha, “Flood,” storefront, 1992-95. 4. The M.O.S.T., “The Mostlandian Embassy,” service desk, 2006. prepared by Katy Asher
art in con•text
[ärt in 'kän •tekst] noun ' the notion that the value of a work of art, in particular circumstances, will increase when contextual factors are taken into account. – ORIGIN Explored in depth by David E.W. Fenner in his book, Art in Context: Understanding Aesthetic Value
ART IN CONTEXT IN BOOKS: Considering art in context stands in converse to a number of other methods of viewing art such as formalism, aestheticism or art for art's sake.1 In his book, Fenner sets out not to discredit such theories as formalism, only to give alternatives to the disinterested art-viewing they encourage. He writes: "while formalism may be a dead option for many aestheticians today, there is still a lagging sentiment that to view a thing aesthetically means viewing it disinterestedly. Into the heart of this unreflective statement I would like to drive a stake."2 He seeks to explain his argument both theoretically and empirically, bringing in both ideas and concrete examples of art pieces. ART IN CONTEXT IN ACADEMIA: The Universität de Kunst (University of Art) in Berlin offers a postgraduate masters degree in art in context. On their website, the state: "The study program Art in Context is directed at those who seek to position their artistic work in the context of society."3 The program requires students with not only artistic talent and profound interest, but also students that are highly communicative individuals. Students must have the desire to understand their work as it is relevant to the various social institutions and non-art entities they are working with, and be interested in developing theory related to the applications of their work. ART IN CONTEXT IN CONVERSATION: I asked my friend Elizabeth what she thought of when I said the phrase "art in context." Here is what she said: "I think of art that's defined by the space it's in. I think of Marcel Duchamp and his Readymades–like when he put a urinal in a gallery. Then the gallery defined the art as art rather than the art defining itself. It's the power of the white space. This really interesting thing happened at I Love You4 when we were installing where someone said, 'What's this piece of shit on the floor?' and it was trash or just an object or something, and someone else said, 'Oh careful, that might be art.' So no one was moving anything that wasn't theirs. It ended up being trash, but that is related to context. And art." I replied that is seems while museums and galleries were created to offer a decontextualized place in which to view art, they have over time come to adopt their own set of factors which create context.
1. Ohio University Press and Swallow Press, “Art in Context,” http://www.ohioswallow.com/book/Art+in+Context 2. Fenner, David E.W. Art in Context: Understanding Aesthetic Value. Ohio University Press, 2008. Page xv. 3. Universität de Kunst Berlin, “Further Education,”http://www.udk-berlin.de/sites/content/topics/colleges/fine_arts/study_courses/ further_education/art_in_context/index_eng.html 4. I Love You Here is What I Made is an annual collaborative exhibition that takes place in Ashland, Oregon: www.iloveyouhereiswhatimade.com
1 2 3
David Fenner’s book Art in Context: Understanding Aesthetic Value. Image source: http://www.ohioswallow.com Marcel Duchamp’s “Fountain.” Is an ordinary object recontextualized as art by being placed in a gallery setting and treated as artwork. Image source: http://www.thecityreview.com/s02pco1.html An exhibition entitled “Looking From The Other Side Of The Street,” in Manchester, England. The pieces, images and poems created by homeless individuals, resonate more clearly when viewed in a grimy urban setting Image source: http://blogs.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/arts_and_minds/2008/03/street_art_in_an_urban_context.html Graffiti art in a gallery: raises questions about context, as graffiti originated as a form of street art but has been commercialized and put into galleries. One can argue that to appreciate graffiti aesthetics, some contextual elements must be considered. Image source: http://www.fatbombers.com/?p=628
So I just added a Google Blog Alert for “Network Art.” Apparently Networkism, a term already plugged into my alerts, is not the same thing; a relief--I can purge those 22 entries, thus uncluttering my inbox. While Networkism, a term coined and heavily promoted by this guy Max Herman pertains to the convergence of multiple disciplines in a technological era as an alternative to Post-Modernism (I think), Network Art is art that happens primarily on the Internet; it takes form in websites, games, podcasts, video hosting sites, mailing lists, blogs, email, and discussion forums and can be self-referential in that inherent in its conceptual being is its presence on the web, as opposed to art that is made elsewhere and then displayed on the Internet. Practitioners use highly accessible Internet tools as a
platform for interactive, installation, and performance art projects, to name a few; unlike guerilla art in the physical realm which faces issues of legality, art that relies on a gallerist or third party, or even radio with its FCC regulations, Network artists have an incredible amount of freedom to produce, publish, and self-promote work that may reach thousands or more viewers due to the nonproprietary open nature of the Internet platform. Although there are early occurrences of Internet art from before the Internet was made accessible to the public, Network Art, which is linked to Dada, Conceptual Art, Fluxus, and Performance art, took root in the mid nineties when the Internet became accessible to all. ---------------------------------------------------------My favorite artists that might fit in this category are: Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries (yhchang.com), ractalfece (youtube.com/user/ractalfece), Anne Laplantine (google her), The Yes Men (theyesmen.org), Stanley Lieber (stanleylieber.com/blog), damali ayo (rent-anegro.com and racismisover.blogspot.com); Flash Mob Computing (flashmobcomputing.org), Tom Brown of Baltimore (his undocumented art interaction with craigslist.com artsforum)
Herman, Max. "Essay by Max Herman." geocities. 12 Jan. 2009 <http://www.geocities.com/genius2000/Groote_Wordsworth_Essay.html>. We, The People. "Internet art -." Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 12 Jan. 2009 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_art>.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue reading from where you left off, or restart the preview.