Eric Fredericksen - firstname.lastname@example.org
Office Hours: Fridays, 10:30-11:20am, Room 328 SoA
An immersion into current modes of art practice, this course is structured around nine artist lectures and a selection of essays by artists, theorists, and curators. The course is intended as an active, critical engagement with active debates within contemporary art. Presenting a range of artists’ approaches to practice, the course seeks to understand artmaking itself as an approach to ideas, materials, and situations. Subjects include art education, appropriation, repetition, spectacle and the sublime, social practice and participation, artist-run organizations, and art economies.
The Friday discussion sections are a crucial aspect of the course. Students will meet weekly to discuss the artist lectures and readings, in an open format. Given the limits of discussion available in a lecture hall, these sessions will offer time for students to address issues of the course directly, without the mediation of the lecturer.
Participants in the class will directly engage in the lectures and reading, wrestling with issues in conversation and in online posts. The goal of the course is not for a student to master various strains of contemporary thought on aesthetics and practice, but to openly engage the issues and artistic practices presented during the course.
Please note that all readings are to be completed in preparation for the date listed.
Week 1: Jan 10
Lecture: Course introduction; What is it to be contemporary?
Reading: Boris Groys, "Comrades of Time" from e-flux Journal #11, December 2009; “Comrades of Time” Lecture given at Tate Modern July 22, 2010
Suggested reading: Giorgio Agamben, "What is the Contemporary?", from What is an Apparatus? (Stanford University Press, 2009)
Week 2: Jan 17
Artist talk: Raymond Boisjoly (Vancouver)
Readings: Jorge Luis Borges, “The Quixote of Pierre Menard” from Labyrinths (New Directions); Jan Verwoert, “Living with Ghosts: from Appropriation to Invocation in Contemporary Art" in Art & Research, Summer 2007
Week 3: Jan 24
Exhibition Report Due
Artist talk: Jason Dodge (Berlin)
Theme: Social Objects
Reading: Bruno Latour, “The Berlin Key, or How to Do Words with Things" in Paul Graves-Brown (ed.), Matter, Materiality, and Modern Culture (Routledge, 2000)
Week 4: Jan 31
Artist talk: Tue Greenfort (Berlin)
Reading: Mark Fisher, Capitalist Realism, chapters 1 and 6.
Week 5: Feb 7
Artist talk: TBA
Reading: Jan Verwoert, “Exhaustion and Exuberance: Ways to Defy the Pressure to Perform” a pamphlet for the exhibition Sheffield 08: Yes No and Other Options; Herman Melville, “Bartleby the Scrivener”
Week 7: Feb 21
Artist talk: Sam Lewitt (New York)
Reading: Anthony Huberman, “Naive Set Theory”. Previously published (in slightly longer form) as “I [Heart] Information” in Afterall
Week 8: Feb 28
Artist talk: Tamara Henderson
Reading: Umberto Eco, "Two Hypotheses About the Death of Art", from The Open Work.
Week 9: March 7
Artist talk: Makan (Diala Khasawnih and Ola Khalidi) (Amman, Jordan)
Reading: Jan Verwoert, "Gathering People Like Thoughts".
Suggested reading: Dexter Sinister "Re: The Serving Library".
Week 10: March 14
Artist talk: TBA
Jacques Rancière,"The Ignorant Schoolmaster" (Stanford University Press, 1991), Chapter 1.
Week 11: Final due March 21
All written assignments will be turned in via UW Catalyst.
Students will visit and respond to an art exhibition from the exhibition list. The writing should focus on description and analysis over evaluation: it’s less important what you think of the work than what you can think with it. Larger, group shows will be hard to address in a report of this length; I suggest narrowing your focus once you have a sense of the show as a whole, and discussing a piece or two, or one or two artists, rather than the entire exhibition.
Like a Valentine: The Art of Jeffry Mitchell at Henry Art Gallery through Jan 27
Jeffrey Simmons at Greg Kucera through Feb 16
Adam Satushek at Platform through Feb 9
Richard Rezac or Eric Elliott at James Harris Gallery through Feb 16
Stephen Sewell at Gallery 4Culture through Feb 1
Elles Seattle (a companion show to the touring show Elles from the Pompidou) at SAM through Feb 17
The Distant Relative Who Calls at Midnight at SAM through May 5
Moment Magnitude at the Frye Art Gallery through Jan 20
The Rug Pulled Out from Underneath; You Lie on the Floor at the
Hedreen Gallery, Seattle University, through Jan 27
Selecting from a set of questions or quotations provided by the instructor, students will write responses drawing from their readings, the lectures, and their own work in discussion sections and online posts. Using these varied materials, students should look for connections and throughlines, bringing them into conversation with each other. The Midterm questions can be downloaded here.
Students will have a week to respond to selections from a set of questions or quotations handed out in class, drawing again from their work in the course. The Final questions can be downloaded here.
Exhibition Report (10%)
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