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School Watch discussion on Social Practice Queens and Classroom program "Performance Assembles Publics: Contact Improvisation as Landmark"
Art & Education
Above: (1) Peace Table Event in conjunction with Social Practice Queens during Mierle Laderman Ukeles: Maintenance Art, Queens Museum, 2016. (2) Julian Louis Phillips, Court Crier, 2018. Installation and performance, Klapper Gallery, Queens College. (3) Nicholas Knight, A House Of * (Knowles): General Form, 2016. Pencil, graphite, and pigment on wall. From Alison Knowles: House of Dust with Social Practice Queens. (4) Barbara McCullough, Shopping Bag Spirits and Freeway Fetishes (still). (5) Robert Morris, Untitled (Johnson Pit #30, King County, Washington), 1979. Photo: Colleen Chartier. Courtesy King County Archives. (6) Steve Paxton, Introduction to the Goldberg Variations 1–15 & 16-30 (still).
Above: (1) Peace Table Event in conjunction with Social Practice Queens during Mierle Laderman Ukeles: Maintenance Art, Queens Museum, 2016. (2) Julian Louis Phillips, Court Crier, 2018. Installation and performance, Klapper Gallery, Queens College. (3) Nicholas Knight, A House Of * (Knowles): General Form, 2016. Pencil, graphite, and pigment on wall. From Alison Knowles: House of Dust with Social Practice Queens. (4) Barbara McCullough, Shopping Bag Spirits and Freeway Fetishes (still). (5) Robert Morris, Untitled (Johnson Pit #30, King County, Washington), 1979. Photo: Colleen Chartier. Courtesy King County Archives. (6) Steve Paxton, Introduction to the Goldberg Variations 1–15 & 16-30 (still).

Art & Education presents a conversation between Chloë Bass and Gregory Sholette on Social Practice Queens for School Watch and the new Classroom program “Performance Assembles Publics: Contact Improvisation as Landmark,” curated by Jeremiah Day.

Social Studies: Chloë Bass and Gregory Sholette Discuss Social Practice Queens
By Chloë Bass and Gregory Sholette

Gregory Sholette: "I am not suggesting social practice art is simply an antidote, or a counterpart, to the disappearance of social institutions and ‘the social,’ in a general sense. Like immunoglobulin spreading through a pathogenic social body, we should be heedful of antibodies that can also cause illness, or, in certain circumstances, result in an ultimately lethal cure for the patient. For me at least, a better analogy can be located in Walter Benjamin’s urgent call to ‘take control of a memory, as it flashes in a moment of danger.’ Of course, he was concerned with the representation of history, not current social circumstances. But I would suggest that society is becoming a historical concept today, and artists who engage in social practice and political and community activism are exploring more than just another new aesthetic field: they are engaging in acts of reclamation, reuse, and historical representation."

Chloë Bass: "For me, there is also a real question in my classroom, and throughout my own artistic work and writing as well, about how, where, and by whom history is made. I’ve spent a lot of time investigating everyday materials not as the most meaningful in an optimistic, labor-centered way, but as most meaningful because they are, in fact, the most prevalent. Yet, as we know, the everyday is rarely what ‘makes history,’ neither in terms of specific events nor in the larger emotional context of what it is like to be in the world at this time. We still somehow expect history to be monumental or spectacular. A primary purpose of a socially engaged art education, as I wrote in my introduction to our book Art As Social Action, is to give us back to ourselves as people." [read more]

School Watch presents distilled perspectives on degree programs in the arts, with interviews, critical texts and editorial exposés on MFAs, Masters, Doctorates and certificate programs in fine arts, art history, curatorial, cultural and film studies, and other related areas of specialty.

Performance Assembles Publics: Contact Improvisation as Landmark
Curated by Jeremiah Day

“Does the public inform the performance, the performer, as it is informed? Dialogues are inherently two-way, and in some forms, the public cannot help but be structurally involved by the nature of their role. Robert Morris, in reflecting on site-specificity, argued that this new work indeed had a commemorative aspect, but ‘not commemorative of great events or people; neither is it narrative in the illustrative sense. Rather, it is commemorative of one or another of the various aspects of the site itself.’

In 1972, Pharoah Sanders wanted to make a recording of his live sessions at The East, a Brooklyn cultural center connected to the Black Nationalism movement. Atlantic Records determined this was not possible (budgetary limitations were doubtfully the sole reason preventing the label from documenting this cultural moment), and Sanders responded by bringing the community of The East to Manhattan to join him in Atlantic Records’ recording studio. The album ‘Live From The East’ refers not to a building but a public.

Contact Improvisation emerged from this same matrix of issues: the question of technique and the role of the artist and art in public life.”

Featuring films, performances, and lectures by Barbara McCullough, Steve Paxton, Robert Morris, Pharoah Sanders, Yvonne Rainer and Sally Banes, and more. [read more]

Classroom features thematically organized lectures and conversations chosen by artists and thinkers on issues relevant to their practice and contemporary artistic discourse.

May 9, 2019