2012

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					RECKONING AND REVIEWING IN CONTEXTS: ART IN THE PUBLIC SPACE

          “Public space” is something fraught with tensions. Primarily, these issues stem from the
wide variety of ideas people have about the public: What should it be? Who it should cater to?
Should our public spaces be as open and as inoffensive to as many people as possible? To what
extent should they provide people with places to consume? Should they serve as a venue that
encourages the dissemination of underrepresented ideas? (And if so, what counts as
underrepresented?) Answers to any of these positions have the potential to exclude; as a result,
public matters often involve significant conflicts if not controversies. And as we might guess, art
is often involved in these situations, sometimes directly, sometimes in ways that comment from a
distance.

        This progression then, endeavors to examine the relations between an aesthetic object, a
public space, and contexts related to the space and the object in compelling ways. We can define
space broadly here: it may be something highly abstract (like the public formed by listening to a
radio broadcast), or it may be highly localized and concrete (like the specific audience for a play).
these two do however, have to have some compelling conceptual relations to each other. You will
develop your idea out of both the questions you ask about those relations and the insights
provided by the contexts to which those questions lead you.

Skills and Techniques for Reckoning and Reviewing in Contexts

•Performing formal readings of public space/artwork(learning to see spaces in aesthetic terms)

•Relating those forms and/or issues to worldly and/or artistic contexts

•Researching those contexts and employing expert texts to help you present those
backgrounds(histories or other situational factors)in ways that clarify the significance of the
social issues/sites/artwork under consideration.

•Engaging with written texts in ways that complicate your idea. In addition to accurately
representing these texts on their own terms, your writing about them must also generate further
insights into the relations between aesthetics and some matter of public concern.

•Exploring what aesthetics/form teach us about that public issue and vice versa

•Learning to develop an idea that helps you organize the relations among your disparate
evidence(space, artwork, contexts, texts); more than merely finding connections among those
pieces of evidence, this idea must emerge from your interpretation of the
Progression 1   Reckoning and Reviewing in       Public, Space, Art
                Contexts


Lesson          Subject                          Assignment
1               The Essay                        Course Introduction. Review
                                                 “Art Objects”
2               The Public                       Writing Exercise 1 due. Read
                                                 ”Artistic Citizenship: A Public
                                                 Voice for the Arts.” Site visit
                                                 1
3               The Art Object and the Space     Writing Exercise 2 due. Read
                                                 “Tom Otterness: Public Art
                                                 and the Civic Ideal in the
                                                 Postmodern Age” and
                                                 “Panorama Mesdag.”
4               The Art vs. The Public           Writing Exercise 3 due. Read
                                                 “Sitings of Public Art:
                                                 Integration versus
                                                 Intervention” and
                                                 “Underground”
5               The Art, the Public, the Space   Writing Exercise 4 due. Site
                                                 visit 2. Read “How Does a
                                                 Work Work Where?” and
                                                 “Battling for Bethesda: Public
                                                 Space in Play”
6               Choosing Contexts                Writing Exercise 5 due. Read
                                                 “Shadow Cities” and “The
                                                 Synthetic Sublime” Site visit 3
                                                 online.
7               Reading the Evidence;            Writing Exercise 6 due. Read
                Developing an Idea               “Hybrid Place: The
                                                 Experience of the Local and
                                                 the Remote” and “Point of
                                                 Departure” Site visit 4
8                                                Writing Exercise 7 due. Read
                                                 “A Moment in the Light”
9               Representing Texts               First Draft due. Read
                                                 “Running Ahead”
10              Incorporating sources            Second Draft. Read
                                                 “Mapping”
11              Peer Group Reading               Third Draft. Read “Giants in
                                                 Paradise” Sign up for
                                                 conferences
12              Coherence and Beginnings         Fourth Draft
13              Public Reading                   Essay 1 due.
CREATIVITY AND CULTURE

         In this essay you will pick an artist whose body of work you will examine in detail, your
goal being to explore the relations between the creative process(how the artist brought the work
into the world) and cultural influence(both the cultural contexts that have affected the artist’s
development and those that have shaped the work’s reception). The primary questions: Where
does the work of art come from and how was it made? What are the contextual factors
(intellectual, material, aesthetic, cultural, and biographical) that may have shaped it? How is the
audience anticipated in the work itself and how has its critical reception affected its significance?
Finally what does the work disclose about its cultural setting?

         There is no formula for building these various areas of inquiry into an idea, but at the
most basic level, you need to do two things: first, using selected insights you’ve gained from your
ruminations, to show us why your artist matters (build a case for the work’s significance using the
most compelling evidence you’ve found, including an interpretation of the works you include);
second, building on that significance, turn things around to show us what your artist’s work
teaches us about the surrounding world; ultimately your goal is not simply to gain some insight
into the art but to use the art as a means of gaining other insights.

Skills and Techniques for Creativity and Culture:

•Performing formal readings of your artists’ body of work: looking for formal
patterns(similarities, variations, oppositions) within and among the various pieces

•Using knowledge of those formal patterns to make nuanced claims about the works significance
and meaning(if applicable this will involve relating your formal readings to the work’s content.)

•Connecting those claims to artistic and/or worldly contexts

•Researching those contexts and employing expert texts to help you present those
backgrounds(histories or other situational factors) in ways that clarify the significance of the
social issues/sites/artwork under consideration.

•Engaging with written texts in ways that complicate your idea. In addition to representing these
texts on their own terms, your writing about them must also generate further insights into your
artist’s significance.

•Learning to develop an idea that helps you organize the relations among your disparate
evidence( artwork, contexts, texts); more than merely finding connections among those pieces of
evidence, this idea must emerge from your interpretation of the significance of those relations.
Progression 2   Creativity and Culture    Art, Culture, Creativity


Lesson          Subject                   Assignment

14                                        Read “The Role of Arts in a
                                          Time of Crisis”
15              Creativity                Writing Exercise 1 due.
                                          Read “On the Relation of
                                          Analytical Psychology to
                                          Poetry” and “Soulful
                                          Anima: The Penitent
                                          Magdalen”
16              Creativity and Culture    Writing Exercise 2 due.
                                          Read “Tradition and the
                                          Individual Talent” and
                                          “Desert Passage.” Select an
                                          artist and begin research.
17              Creativity                Writing Exercise 3 due.
                                          Read “Stereotype.”
                                          Revision of Essay 1 due.
18              Culture                   Writing Exercise 4 due.
                                          Read “Avant Garde and
                                          Kitsch”
19              Representation and        Writing Exercise 5 due.
                Interpretation            Read the essay from the
                                          lecture.
21              Contexts                  Writing Exercise 6 due.
                                          Read “Something
                                          Borrowed”
22              Contexts                  Writing Exercise 7 due.
                                          Read “A Paradox of Truth
                                          and Fiction”
23                                        Writing Exercise 8 due.
24                                        Writing Exercise 9 due.
25              Reading the               Draft 1 due. Read “Mann
                Evidence/Developing the   Made”
                Idea
26              Revision                  Draft 2 due. Read “Et in
                                          Arcadia Ego”
27              Revision/Peer Group       Draft 3 due. Read “Hold
                Discussion                Me.”
28              Conferences               Draft 4
29                                        Final Essay due.

				
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