December 13, 2013

Open Engagement 2014  Moves Coasts + call for submissions

Queens Museum
Mierle Laderman Ukeles, The Social Mirror, 1983. Mirror-covered sanitation truck. Courtesy Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, New York.

Open Engagement: Life/Work
Artists have a way of provoking new forms of being, examining and challenging the ways that we live and work, proposing alternative approaches, and suggesting ways of navigating and negotiating existing systems. What are the impacts of artists living and working in community? What is the work of art today? How has the idea of life’s work changed in the 21st century?

Open Engagement 2014 features keynote presenters Mierle Laderman Ukeles and J. Morgan Puett, and focuses on the theme of Life/Work. The conference examines how economic and social conditions connect to life values and philosophies, and situate the everyday in relation to larger political and social issues including labor, economics, food production, ways of being, and education.

These two seminal figures have through their practices defined and redefined how life and work can be the foundation for artistic exploration. Mierle Laderman Ukeles is a defining artist in the history of performance, feminist, and socially engaged art and has been the official artist in residence with New York City’s Department of Sanitation for over three decades. Her work models possibilities of how an artist can create long-term, sustainable alternative contexts within which to situate and create their work. J. Morgan Puett is an interdisciplinary artist, cultural producer, fashion designer, and Co-Founder and Director of Mildred’s Lane and The Mildred Complex(ity). Her work explores pedagogical structures, systems of labor, sociality, ethics, and all-encompassing lived experience.

Open Engagement Moves Coasts
Open Engagement is pleased to announce its move to Queens, New York from Portland, Oregon for its upcoming conference, May 16–18, 2014. Open Engagement, an annual free art conference that explores various perspectives on art and social practice, will find a fitting landing point within the diverse, “micro-global” community of Corona, Queens. The 2014 Open Engagement conference is co-presented by the Queens Museum and A Blade of Grass, and will take place at the newly renovated Queens Museum, with additional programming at New York Hall of Science, Queens Theater in the Park, Immigrant Movement International, and various other locations around New York. Its new location will highlight the work being done around art and social engagement on the East Coast, further materialize this already developing network, and create a site that will connect these efforts.

Directed and founded by Jen Delos Reyes in Regina, Canada in 2007, the conference went on to become a key site for people interested in socially engaged art.  As in the past, Open Engagement will include a partnership with graduate programs featuring art and social engagement. This year Social Practice Queens (SPQ), a new MFA concentration that combines the resources of Queens College (City University of New York: CUNY) and the Queens Museum, will lead the partnership, which will also include a number of other New York-based programs. The unique partnership between Queens College and the Queens Museum, whose new one word mission is fittingly, openness, will provide a strong framing support for the conference. The conference will also continue its tradition of being free and open to the public.

Call for submissions
The call for submissions for presenters is open now. We are inviting proposals for projects, performances, tours, interventions, presentations, or panel ideas. Contributors are encouraged to think of ways to work across disciplines, connect peers and colleagues at this conference, and to connect and engage multiple publics. We encourage presentations, projects, and panels that challenge expected conference approaches, for example engaging in multiple forms of learning, creating structures that privilege discussion and interaction and presenting content without the use of standardized visual aids formats. Submissions close January 3, 2014. Full conference schedule will be available in March.

For more information and to submit a proposal, visit

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