Curatorial Research Bureau
Curatorial Research Bureau

Issue 5, Jan 2019

A monthly communiqué featuring news on programs, publications, exhibitions, students, and faculty with content and activities threaded together by a guiding theme.


In this issue

“Counter Education”→ Blueprint for Counter EducationThe Murmuring of the Artistic MultitudeForms of Education: Couldn’t Get a Sense of It→ Palle Nielson: The ModelGreat Expectations: Prospects for the Future of Curatorial EducationFactories of Knowledge, Industries of CreativityLearning by Doing at the FarmThe Silent University→ Yann Chateigné: By repetition, you start noticing details in the landscape→ Case Studies: Counter Education→ Orly Vermes→ Michele Carlson→ Josiah McElheny→ Petrushka Bazin Larsen


A bookshop, a learning site, an exhibition and public program, Curatorial Research Bureau unites education and consumerism inside a contemporary arts institution, prioritizing context—of art, ideas, people, places, and things—as an active ingredient in the practice of curatorial research.

Curatorial Research Bureau at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco is the hub of learning for the California College of the Arts Graduate Program in Curatorial Practice.


Made possible with funding and support from California College of the Arts and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Produced by Bureau for Open Culture, in collaboration with Motto Books.

This Month

“Counter Education” is our theme for January. It’s drawn from the 1970 publication Blueprint for Counter Education. Originally published by Doubleday, Blueprint is a boxset—or “portable toolkit”—with three charts and what the authors Maurice Stein and Larry Miller call a shooting script. The charts are like posters. They have constellations of names of radical modern and postmodern thinkers, designers, political theorists, sociologists, artists and movements in Western culture. The posters are easily pinned to walls to create a do-it-yourself learning environment. Stein and Miller wanted to foster a participatory curriculum emphasizing social interaction where learning occurs in dialogue without hierarchies. Instead of providing a precise roadmap for how to read the bevy of cultural references, Blueprint prompts groups to devise their own interpretative explorations. Ideologically, the process of knowledge production is prioritized over the final product. 

Ideologies live large in education today, where the quality of learning is often gauged by quantifiable data. Our theme “Counter Education” should not be interpreted as “against” or “opposed” to education. Counter conveys something closer to what Stein and Miller envisioned with Blueprint: Disruption. Think, new tools—from learner-driven platforms and peripatetic field modules, to relational learning among peers and experiential learning sites beyond walls of an academy. Consider new timeframes—for example, pockets of intense interaction between professors and students interspersed with weeks of independent reading. And atmosphere—what about flexible environments with natural light, community tables, music and refreshments, a space not easily identifiable as a classroom. The counter scene might look like a bookshop, a coffee bar, or a living room. It could look like a hike. It could be a bread oven as a primary tool for learning together about foods and cultures. Counter is something that disrupts typical education models.

At CRB we have numerous publications about “counter,” “anti,” “expanded,” “alternative,” “other” education models. This fact was made clear during a recent visit by a colleague. It shouldn’t be a surprise. CRB, as another colleague wrote, “speculates a new form and context for education, public dialogue and creative partnerships.” As I considered a theme for our new month, new semester, new year, the expanded reprint of Blueprint for Counter Education (designed by Project Projects and published by Inventory Press) along with the other books in our inventory seemed the best way to begin. Blueprint is a time capsule of 1960s counterculture radicalism. It is an opportunity for contemporary readers to scrutinize the content, consider the audiences, challenge the narratives, and think about new approaches for teaching and learning today.   

James Voorhies, Chair, CCA Graduate Program in Curatorial Practice

In the Bookshop


Selected CRB Programs

on View

Case Studies: Blueprint for Counter Education

Our fifth Case Studies exhibition uses the 1970 publication Blueprint for Counter Education by sociologist Maurice Stein and his collaborator Larry Miller as a launching point for a month-long look at alternative pedagogical models.

California College of the Arts Seminar Highlight


Artists and Designers: Publishing as Practice

This course is a practicum concentrated on real-world engagement with artists, with a focus on the formats of the studio visit and the interview. Students conduct, document, and present studio visits and interviews with artists, with a view to accumulating a substantial body of knowledge about contemporary artistic practice.

From California College of the Arts Curatorial Practice

CCA Student

Orly Vermes

CCA Faculty

Michele Carlson


Josiah McElheny

CCA Alum

Petrushka Bazin Larsen

On View at Institutions Nearby


The Sea Ranch: Architecture, Environment, and Idealism

California College of the Arts

32nd Annual Barclay Simpson MFA Award Exhibition

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts

Julius Eastman—Gay Guerrilla

Fraenkel Gallery

Wardell Milan—Parisian Landscapes: Blue in Green

CRB Dispatch Archive

Issue 1, Sep 2018: “Institution”
Issue 2, Oct 2018: “Audience”
Issue 3, Nov 2018: “Place”
Issue 4, Dec 2018: “Corporate Mentality”
Issue 5, Jan 2019: “Counter Education”