An ongoing annotated group bibliography maintained by the PSU Social Practice MFA program related to art and social practice.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

With Love From Haha: Essays And Notes On A Collective Practice

With Love From Haha: Essays And Notes On A Collective Practice
Edited by Wendy Jacob, Laurie Palmer, and John Ploof
Chicago: WhiteWalls. 2008

I just told Katy about this book the other day.

I thought you all might be interested as well. It is available through Temporary Services press, Half Letter Press.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations

Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations
by Clay Shirky

This has been on my list of things to read for sometime now.

Art As Experience

Art As Experience
By John Dewey

This is an oldie, but a goodie.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

what we want is free

has everyone read this already?
the memorable essay for me is - "Lunch Hour: Art, community, administrated space and unproductive activity" by Kate Fowle and Lars Bang Larsen

collectivism after modernism

okay, so i've only read two chapters of this book.
but they were gooooood chapters.

conversation pieces

i would really like it if some folks wanted to book club this one.
it certainly is a conversation piece.

from studio to situation

another exciting book.
essays on artists working outside of the gallery.
features on Rod Dickinson, Aleksandra Mir, Nathan Coley and Jeremy Deller
check it out!!!!

life once more

this book has been in my collection for a while.
i have temporarily lent it to hannah,
but if anyone else is interested in repetition, reenactment, etc, i recommend it!

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Everyday

The Everyday (Documents of Contemporary Art)
by Stephen Johnstone (Editor)

This book is one in a great series of books published by Whitechapel and MIT press. This one on The Everyday is a nice one if you enjoyed The Everyday Life Reader.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Imagined Communities

Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism

This was the book I brought up during the group meeting yesterday in relation to some of the ideas Helen was thinking of. Private experiences, that are also shared experiences, and how that can form identities and relationships.

Here is an excerpt of a review of the book:

Historiography at its most Captivating, August 23, 2001
By Tanja Laden

Imagined Communities by Benedict Anderson seeks to explain the seeds of what he terms "imagined communities," which are for the most part "nations". It is also a careful chronological account of how these seeds grew into actual policies through the breaking apart of the Latin language, the dissemination of mass-media into new ideas of national history, and ultimately how history and language served to preserve national identity. In the first chapter, "Cultural Roots," Anderson claims that the birth of the imagined community is directly linked to Industrialization and its two byproducts, the novel and the newspaper. The novel and the newspaper first made the public aware of simultaneous experiences that allowed them to conceive of themselves as not alone, but rather an entity that worked together. The concept of time as a linear, progressive notion was another result of Industrialization, and Anderson argues that this "calendrical" way of looking at the past was another important factor in imagined communities as it allows groups of people to think of a historic root in national identity.

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Human Condition

The Human Condition
By Hannah Arendt

Currently experiencing a philosophical revival this work by Hannah Arendt, The Human Condition, was originally published in 1958. The Human Condition has been called the basis of many of the current theories written about human interaction and relationships. Arendt focuses on three fundamental human activities: labor, work and action. Arendt feels that these three actions are fundamental, “because each corresponds to one of the basic conditions under which life has been given to man”

Every activity performed in the public can attain an excellence never achieved in privacy; for excellence, by definition, the presence of others is always required, and this presence needs formality familiar presence of ones equals or inferiors.” (p49)

Air Guitar: Essays on Art & Democracy

Air Guitar: Essays on Art & Democracy
by Dave Hickey

“It is hard to find someone you love, who loves you- but you can begin, at least, by finding someone who loves your love song.” (p17)

Art criticism written through Dave Hickey’s personal history and connection to popular culture. Essays range from topics on Pollock, Warhol, Rock and Roll, Spectatorship and participation in art and music, and Norman Rockwell as a true artist of the people.

Accidental Audience: Urban Interventions By Artists

Accidental Audience: Urban Interventions By Artists
Edited by Kim Pruesse
1999, off/site collective
printed in Canada

Contains an amazing essay, “The Nature of the Investigation: Artmaking in a Postmodern Era” By Carol Becker

Social Acupuncture: A Guide To Suicide, Performance and Utopia

Social Acupuncture: A Guide To Suicide, Performance and Utopia

By Daren O’Donnell

An insightful an often hilarious book that focuses on the state of social engagement and the arts, relational aesthetics and theater with a focus on the Canadian art scene and O'Donnell’s practice.

A really effective intervention recognizes that improving conditions for others must also somehow improve conditions for yourself. In this way, selfishness is recouped in the name of wider social good.” (p38)

In all artistic practice-even that of civic engagement- a by-product is social capital: fame. At the bottom, the desire for fame is the desire to be loved unconditionally by a lot of people, most of whom you don’t know. It’s the desire to be able to be yourself wherever you are and have that expression accepted and supported. ” (p39)

Avoiding art and artistic practices that don’t directly and tangibly question the material differentials and how they play out in the global economic field would not be absolute, but the guide for a temporary strategy.” (p44)

Encounters in the Twenty-First Century Polyphony

Encounters in the Twenty-First Century Polyphony Emerging Resonances
Edited by Yukata Mino

“Connecting to survive, singing in a multiplicity of voices to survive.”

This collection of essays was brought together for the opening of the 21st Century Museum of contemporary art in Kanazawa, Japan. Topics covered in the essays include the role of architecture in art galleries in relation to viewers interacting and participating with the exhibitions, how the individual defines one self through group relationships, the need for public and communal space and how that is increasingly becoming evident through contemporary art by artists such as Rikrit Tiravanija.

Acts of Engagement: Writings on Art, Criticism, and Institutions, 1993-2002

Acts of Engagement: Writings on Art, Criticism, and Institutions, 1993-2002
by Michael Brenson

Personal note: Real-life situations are not intrusions that diminish our aesthetic experiences. They are the conditions that make them possible. Exploring and talking about these situations without reducing or exploiting them is another of the enduring challenges critics face.

Quotes of interest to me:

What I am making a plea for here, most of all, is engagement. There comes a time when people have to take a stand- for art, for the artist, for the imagination. For the artistic experience. For that way of dealing with private and public, self and other, that makes it possible to contest, to imagine, to dream, to feel the poetry of the world and the poetry of struggle, to realize the potential within each person for poetic identity. Against anyone, on any side, who wants to trivialize that experience.”

"What is the relationship between aesthetics and revelation and between aesthetics and ethics? How can I help make the world better? Where do I come from? What am I doing here?"

"Art professionals need to think harder about the way non-art professionals talk about art, particularly contemporary art."

"You can’t protect aesthetics by building a wall around it. The world is already in it. The most serious betrayal of the aesthetic, the betrayal of quality, does not lie in considering it in terms of psychology, economics, politics, philosophy, and history, but in denying the embededness of the world in whatever our experience quality and the aesthetic might be."

"What makes the art experience possible? Who can have it? Who profits from it and why? Without doubt, museums will remain essential sites for this experience and places where all sorts of inspiring encounters are possible. But it is not hard to appreciate why many younger curators, including those who have been organizing large international exhibitions around the world, aesthetic experience is fulfilled not when it encourages a heightened understanding of and greater participation in everyday life. Approaching the relationship between aesthetic experience and everyday life as both seamless and dialectical makes it easier for the uses of art to be consistently exposed and questioned. It also makes it easier to appreciate the gift of art while fighting for a better world".

"I have always believed in art but also why my belief in it revolves around notions of encounter, connection, and process."

"The primary language of the new museum is one of “visitor services”. It is dependant upon a constellation of words that includes access, community, conversation, dialogue, diversity, partnership, and transparency. This constellation is now largely disconnected from another constellation that includes words like commitment, courage, imagination, introspection, passion, process, risk, searching, and struggle. These words are part of the language of artistic creativity".

Taking the Matter into Common Hands: On Contemporary Art and Collaborative Practices

Taking the Matter into Common Hands: On Contemporary Art and Collaborative Practices
by Johanna Billing (Editor), Maria Lind (Editor), Lars Nilsson (Editor)

This book features Maria Lind's essay, The Collaborative Turn, (2007)

Lind examines some of the possible driving forces behind some of the socially
engaged art works that emerged in the 1990s:

A Common explanation is the wish to practice generosity and sharing as an
alternative to contemporary individualism and the traditional role of the romantic artist as solitary genius. Self-determination in an ever more instrumentalised artworld, both commercially and publicly, and a desire to be a more powerful force in society have also been mentioned as important motivations. Not to forget the fun involved with working with others and the practical advantages of sharing tasks according to specialities and preferences. In certain cases, the need for infrastructure…self-promotion and a desire to achieve success in the artworld.