10 Readings Toward a Future for Arts Education
This list of readings is selected for a reading group composed of faculty in the Fine Arts Division at California College of the Arts in San Francisco. The readings provide an opportunity to learn about varied perspectives on arts education and the changing role of the artist in society today, while giving faculty a means to convene over shared interests toward academic excellence.
Olafur Eliasson, “What Is an Art Education?,” in School: A Recent History of Self-Organized Art Education, ed. Sam Thorne (Berlin: Sternberg, 2017).
In this interview with Sam Thorne, Director of Nottingham Contemporary, Eliasson talks about his five-year school program organized around shared meals, food experiments, hospitality, social gatherings and the projection of learning outside the walls of an academy, alongside a host of intersecting practitioners and visitors.
Olafur Eliasson is an Icelandic-Danish artist who led the Institut für Raumexperimente (Institute for Spatial Experiments), an experiment in arts education affiliated with the Berlin University of the Arts.
Pamela Lee, “The Social History of Art: On ‘In the Belly of Anarchitect,” in Kunst Lehren Teaching Art, Heike Belzer and Daniel Birnbaum (Köln: König Books, 2007).
Invited to visit and conduct a workshop at the renown Städelschule and its exhibition program Portikus in Frankfurt, Lee reflects on the value of transforming and interweaving academic and exhibition spaces into shared social sites for learning from one another, all examined within the context of Gordan Matta-Clark’s pioneering work “Food.”
Pamela M. Lee is Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art at Yale University.
“How can we imagine a school culture based on solidarity?,” Ahmet Ögüt in conversation with Florian Malzacher, and Pelin Tan, “The Silent University as an Instituent Practice,” in The Silent University: Towards a Transversal Pedagogy, eds. Florian Malzacher, Ahmet Ögüt, and Pelin Tan (Berlin: Sternberg, 2016).
The Silent University (2012–) is the artist Ahmet Ögüt’s ongoing project which brings together a peripatetic network of teachers, researchers, and fellows who participate in education models that support refugees, asylum seekers, and migrants. The interview between Ögüt and Florian Malzacher is an introduction to The Silent University, exploring the pedagogical benefit of pulling together regional intellectual and creative communities into a shared learning site, while Pelin Tan’s essay looks at The Silent University as an artistic practice and how it embodies facets of research, collaboration, and social engagement.
Ahmet Ögüt is a Turkish artist based in Amsterdam. Florian Malzacher is Artistic Director of Impulse Theater Festival in Düsseldorf, Cologne, and Mülheim/Ruhr. Pelin Tan is Associate Professor in Architecture at Mardin Artuklu University in Turkey.
Friedrich Nietzsche, Anti-Education: On the Future of Our Educational Institutions (1872), ed. Paul Reitter and Chad Wellmon (New York: New York Review Books, 2016).
In 1872, Nietzsche delivered this series of lectures critically reflecting on the role of academic specialization and the increasing instrumentalization of education for a specific outcome and function.
Friedrich Nietzsche (1844–1900) was a German philosopher who was appointed at the age of twenty-four to faculty at University of Basel.
Allan Sekula, “School Is a Factory,” in The Phantom of Liberty: Contemporary Art and the Pedagogical Paradox, eds. Tone Hansen and Lars Bang Larson (Berlin: Sternberg, 2014).
In this photo essay and accompanying postscript, Sekula reflects on education as another form of industrial production in capitalism where artist, teacher, and institution perform engrained regulatory roles in arts education as part of a capitalist functionary that upholds the myth of the artist figure.
Allan Sekula (1951–2013) was an American artist who produced his photo essay “School Is a Factory” while a visiting art lecturer from 1978 to 80 (with a postscript written in 1982).
Chus Martinez, “Time to be Loose,” in Forms of Education: Couldn’t Get a Sense of It, ed. Aeron Bergman, Alejandra Salinas, and Irena Borić (Portland, OR: Institute for New Connotative Action Press, 2016).
In this essay Martinez reflects on the value of reinserting open-ended and “looseness of thinking” back into an academic curricula for the arts, which have increasingly become rigid and time-constrained.
Chus Martinez is Head of the Institute of Art at the FHNW Academy of Art and Design in Basel.
“Practice,” Mary Jane Jacob, in Jacob, Dewey for Artists (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2018).
In this chapter titled “Practice” of Mary Jane Jacob’s book the author explores a wide-ranging perspective on creative practice through work, communication, community, and general attention to daily life, examined through the lens of John Dewey’s philosophy on the aesthetic experience of everyday life.
Mary Jane Jacob is professor and director of the Institute for Curatorial Research and Practice at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Karen van den Berg, “Fragile Productivity: Artistic Activities beyond the Exhibition System,” in Art Production beyond the Art Market, eds. Karen van den Berg and Ursula Pasero (Berlin: Sternberg, 2013).
This essay explores the different directions an artist can take today, from artist as researcher and social engineer, to project developer and activist, along with analyzing the requisite educational tools and perspectives needed for work beyond the art market.
Karen van den Berg is Professor Art Theory and Curating at Zeppelin University in Friedrichshafen, Germany.
Lars Bang Larsen, “The Mass Utopia of Art Activism: Palle Nielsen’s ‘The Model—A Model for a Qualitative Society,” in Palle Nielsen—The Model: A Model for a Qualitative Society (1968), ed. Lars Bang Larsen (Barcelona: Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona, 2010).
Using the little known exhibition called The Model, which occurred at the Moderna Museet in Stockholm in 1968 where the museum was transformed into a massive playground, Lars Bang Larsen explores in this essay the important role of unstructured play in education.
Lars Bang Larsen is Professor at Haute École d’Art et de Design (HEAD) in Geneva.
Stefan Hertmans, “Masters of Unpredictability: Academies and Art Education,” in Teaching art in the Neoliberal Realm: Realism versus Cynicism, eds. Pascal Gielen and Paul De Bruyne (Amsterdam: Valiz, 2013).
In this essay Stefan Hertmans provides in-depth analysis on the paradoxical position of art education today to provide students routes toward economically sustainable futures while refuting the instrumentalization of education under increasing pressures from the arts and culture industries.
Stefan Hertmans is writer, poet and essayist on art education. He served previously as head of the study center at the University College Ghent.