Center Field | Frances Whitehead, Embedded Artist

August 24, 2010 · Print This Article

Check out our latest post on art21:blog! This time, we talk to School of the Art Institute professor Frances Whitehead about a range of subjects, including redirective practice, the Embedded Artist project, Slow Cleanup in Chicago, and ‘what artists know.’ An excerpt below; read the full post at art21.

What do artists know? A few weeks ago, I spent an afternoon at the Chicago home of Frances Whitehead talking about the philosophical and pragmatic underpinnings of this question. To be sure, the notion that artists have a specialized knowledge — a quantifiable skill set of processes, methodologies, and approaches that they carry with them into the world — makes some people, even artists themselves, a little uncomfortable. But for Whitehead — a sculptor, gardener, professor (she has been on the faculty of The School of the Art Institute of Chicago since 1985), and self-identified “designist” (a linguistic mashup of the terms artist and designer) — it’s a liberating idea that has allowed her to situate her own practice within an expanded field of inquiry that engages sustainability, public works, and the future of design. (Read full post).