Some of the best known theorists of social practice published or toiled away at new books in 2011. Although I haven’t read them yet, I’d bet that this fresh wave of ink will churn the debate within this always contentious art sphere all the way through 2012.
With their dust-up in Artforum five years behind them, Claire Bishop and Grant Kester have each written books that we might assume articulate their positions in far more nuanced ways than a few magazines pages provide for.
Claire Bishop, Artificial Hells: Participatory Art and the Politics of Spectatorship, (Verso)
Grant Kester, The One and the Many: Contemporary Collaborative Art in a Global Context, (Duke)
Nato Thompson also has a book coming out this year. He also organizes the Creative Time Summit, fast becoming an annual gathering point for social practitioners from around the globe.
Nato Thompson, Seeing Power: Art and Activism in the Age of Cultural Production, (Melville House)
Pablo Helguera, the only one of these authors who is also an artist, has produced a pedagogical manual for socially engaged art that will surely make its way into the handful (and growing) of social practice MFA concentrations in the US.
Pablo Helguera, Education for Socially Engaged Art: A Materials and Techniques Handbook, (Jorge Pinto)
In her book Social Works, Shannon Jackson brings a perspective from performance studies to the debate on social practice.
Shannon Jackson, Social Works: Performing Art, Supporting Publics, (Routledge)
And finally, while he has written about art before, Brian Massumi wades directly into theorizing the “ephemeral arts” in Semblance and Event.
Brian Massumi, Semblance and Event: Activist Philosophy and the Occurrent Arts, (MIT)
This week: Duncan, Brian, and Abigail Satinsky in conversation with Christine Hill at the Open Engagement conference, which took place from May 13 to 15, 2011 at Portland State University.
Open Engagement is an initiative of PSU’s Art and Social Practice MFA program that encourages discussion on various perspectives in social practice.
Hill has exhibited and lectured widely internationally. She has been the subject of numerous publications and she shows regularly. Recent solo exhibitions include Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, New York; Galerie EIGEN+ART, Berlin; the Museum of Contemporary Art Leipzig; the MigrosMuseum in Zurich and the Martin-Gropius-Bau in Berlin. She was included in documenta X in 1997, and has participated in numerous international group exhibitions. Her work has been reviewed extensively, including in Artforum, The New York Times, The Village Voice, Art in America and in considerable international publications. The ³Volksboutique Style Manual² is in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York. The Volksboutique project ³Minutes² was included in the 2007 Venice Biennale under the curation of Robert Storr. A forthcoming review of Volksboutique sculptural work will be shown at the New Museum in Weimar, Germany in April 2012.
The current Organizational Venture, The Volksboutique Small Business, is housed in her studio’s storefront in Berlin’s Prenzlauer Berg neighborhood and is open to the public. For more information and opening hours, you can contact firstname.lastname@example.org
This week: Another chapter in our festival of social practice! We talk to Mark Allen, Founder and Director, Machine Project, Los Angeles, CA and Allison Agsten, Curator of Public Engagement & Director of Visitor Services at Hammer Museum.
Come check us out at the shiny new DePaul museum this Wednesday at 6 PM!
If I was an artist or, uh, social practitioner working in Detroit right now, I’d be pretty pissed off at all the obsessive media focus devoted to what’s been dubbed ‘Detroit Ruin Porn‘ (for a great critique of said genre of porn, see this). Actually, it already does kind of piss me off, even though I’m not a Detroiter, because I’ve read about so many vastly different–and far more productive–ways that Detroit artists (and not-artists) are engaging with their city’s post-industrial context. See Imagination Station, Detroit Unreal Estate, Yes Farm, and Catie Newell’s Salvaged Landscape project for just a few quick initial examples of what I’m talking about. In my opinion what is happening in Detroit right now is one of the most fascinating, timely, and significant developments taking place in contemporary art practice–way more deserving of coverage than, say, whatever the fuck James Franco is doing with whichever poor artist (aka Sucker) the guy currently has under his spell. To this end, I’m hoping/planning that Bad at Sports’ blog will be able to provide periodic coverage of Detroit’s art, culture, and social practice scene very soon. (Interested in contributing? Tweet me). Art21 blog has also been providing some great coverage of what’s been happening in Detroit via guest blogger Allison Glenn’s terrific recent series of posts.
If you live in the Detroit area yourself, you should definitely check out the Rust Belt to Artist Belt conference taking place in Detroit today and tomorrow, April 6-7. It’s the third annual iteration of this conference, which brings together creative practitioners, business owners, educators, and designers to explore how cultural development strengthens post-industrial cities. This year’s conference homes in on the “creative supply chain” as a means of catalyzing economic growth, entrepreneurship, and land use. Go here for information on the conference’s lineup of events. They’ll be talking about what constitutes a creative economy and the role that artists and creative practitioners can play in the transformation of the post-industrial rust belt. Keynote addresses will be given by Jennifer Goulet of ArtServe Michigan; Peter Kagayama of Creative Cities Summit; Josh Linkner, Founder of ePrize; artist Theaster Gates, currently in residence at University of Chicago; and artist and writer Allee Willis.
But wait, there’s more! Also taking place in Detroit April 6-10 is Art X Detroit, an exhibition of works created by the 2008-2010 Kresge Eminent Artists and Artist Fellows. Check out Art X Detroit’s Vimeo page for videos on each exhibited artist. Here’s the one made for Louis Aguilar:
Detroit is alive. It’s time we all started paying more attention.
This week: The first in our series of interviews from the Open Engagement conference that took place in Portland this past May. We start off with an excellent discussion that Randall Szott, Duncan, Brian and the occasional Incubate person had with artist, writer, lemon tormentor Ted Purves. Topics include; Ted’s work, the past present and future of Social Practice and what it means to be an artist today.
This series of interviews (thusfar, I’ve only gone through the first two) are some of my favorite discussions that (the royal) we have had in the 5 years of the show. Great stuff!
Ted Purves is a writer and artist based in Oakland. His public projects and curatorial works are centered on investigating the practice of art in the world, particularly as it addresses issues of localism, democratic participation, and innovative shifts in the position of the audience. His two-year project, Temescal Amity Works, created in collaboration with Susanne Cockrell and based in the Temescal neighborhood of Oakland, facilitated and documented the exchange of backyard produce and finished its public phase in winter 2007. His collaborative project Momentary Academy, a free school taught by artists over a period of 10 weeks, was featured in Bay Area Now 4 in 2005 at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco.
Ted recently received a visual arts grant from the Creative Capital Foundation and a Creative Work Fund grant from the Elise and Walter Haas Foundation.
His book, What We Want Is Free: Generosity and Exchange in Recent Art, was published by State University of New York Press in 2005.
The Open Engagement conference is an initiative of Portland State University’s Art and Social Practice MFA concentration and co-sponsored by Portland Community College and the MFA in Visual Studies program at Pacific Northwest College of Art and supported by the Cyan PDX Cultural Residency Program. Directed by Jen Delos Reyes and planned in conjunction with Harrell Fletcher and the Portland State University MFA Monday Night Lecture Series, this conference features three nationally and internationally renowned artists: Mark Dion, Amy Franceschini, and Nils Norman. The conference will showcase work by Temporary Services, InCUBATE, and a new project by Mark Dion created in collaboration with students from the PSU Art and Social Practice concentration.
The artists involved in Open Engagement: Making Things, Making Things Better, Making Things Worse, challenge our traditional ideas of what art is and does. These artist’s projects mediate the contemporary frameworks of art as service, as social space, as activism, as interactions, and as relationships, and tackle subject matter ranging from urban planning, alternative pedagogy, play, fiction, sustainability, political conflict and the social role of the artist.
Can socially engaged art do more harm than good? Are there ethical responsibilities for social art? Does socially engaged art have a responsibility to create public good? Can there be transdisciplinary approaches to contemporary art making that would contribute to issues such as urban planning and sustainability?
Open Engagement is a free conference May 14-17, 2010, in Portland, Oregon. This annual conference will be a focal point of a new low residency Art and Social Practice MFA that PSU hopes to launch in Fall of 2010.
This years conference will host over 100 artists, activists, curators, scholars, writers, farmers, community organizers, film makers and collectives including: Nato Thompson, The Watts House Project, Linda Weintraub, Ted Purves, Henry Jenkins, Wealth Underground Farms, Brian Collier, Anne E. Moore, David Horvitz, Chen Tamir, and Parfyme.