This past May and June, MoMA’s Education and Research Building mezzanine was the site of MoMA Studio: Breathe with Me, an interactive space that explored the intersections between art, therapeutic practice, and the ways in which we relate to objects and people through physical encounters. Read more
Warm Up, MoMA PS1’s vibrant annual music series, has become a staple of New York City summers. The series features a curated program that explores a vast range of experimental music, live bands, and DJs. Read more
We are entering the fourth week of MoMA Studio: Breathe with Me and want to share some of the highlights of the artist-led workshops that have activated the space so far. Each one revealed the ways in which Lygia Clark’s work continues to resonate with contemporary artists and their hopes to engage the public in experiences of art that are physical and social in nature. Read more
Last Friday, May 16, we celebrated the opening of MoMA Studio: Breathe with Me, an interactive space that has been organized in conjunction with the exhibition Lygia Clark: The Abandonment of Art, 1948–1988, on view in the sixth-floor galleries through August 24, 2014. Taking Clark’s art as a reference point, the Studio presents a series of drop-in programs, participatory experiences, and artist-led workshops that explore the intersections between art, therapeutic practice, and the ways in which we relate to objects and people through physical encounters.
Like all previous MoMA Studios, MoMA Studio: Breathe with Me is a free, interactive space open to visitors of all ages, and offers experiential learning experiences that complement looking and talking about works of art in the galleries, allowing for engagement with art in hands-on, creative ways. Visitors can experiment, learn, play, and create as they make connections between their lives, their own creativity, and the processes and materials of modern and contemporary art.
The process of putting this particular MoMA Studio together has been a unique experience due to the nature of Lygia Clark’s work, which is often dynamic and sensorial in nature—a quality that is highlighted in the exhibition itself, which has a central component that is about engaging the public in participatory ways within the galleries. This aspect of the exhibition parallels the planning of our Studio programming and has allowed for a fruitful collaboration with the curatorial team and the exhibition facilitators.
In developing the focus and scope of MoMA Studio: Breathe with Me, and in the hopes of revealing the profound resonance Clark’s work has had with contemporary artists, we have collaborated with a talented group of artists from near and far, to present an exciting series of programs for this MoMA Studio. These artists include Ricardo Basbaum, Carlito Carvalhosa, Stephanie Diamond and Tamara Vanderwal, Michel Groisman, Jeanine Oleson, and Allison Smith.
Perhaps more than previous Studios, this one is conceived as a space that comes alive most with the activation of the workshops and events by willing participants, in collaboration with artists. This week the workshops kicked off with Carlito Carvalhosa’s public action in the The Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden and MoMA Studio on May 20 and 21, followed by Michel Groisman’s Polvo and Sirva-Se workshops, which begin tomorrow, May 22 and run through the Memorial Day weekend. We are following Clark’s philosophy, “the work is in the act,” and we invite you all to join us! Visit MoMA.org/MoMAstudio for details.
UPNEXT is a comprehensive parenting program operating through Midtown Community Court that helps fathers to support their children both emotionally and financially. The UPNEXT program offers assistance to fathers who are struggling with unemployment and having difficulty paying child support; who are engaged in seeking custody of or visitation rights with their children; or are simply looking for ways to be more involved in their child’s life. Read more
What happens when the Museum turns into a laboratory for artists?
This year MoMA’s Department of Education invited artists Allison Smith, Paul Ramirez Jonas, and the creative collective The Office for Creative Research to be part of the second year of Artists Experiment, an initiative to develop public engagement experiences through collaboration with contemporary artists. Exploring MoMA’s history, resources, and spaces, each of these artists approaches the Museum like a laboratory—a place for thinking, collaborating, and experimenting with the museum experience and our visitors.
San Francisco–based artist Allison Smith’s work investigates the cultural phenomenon of historical reenactment, or “living history,” using it as a means of addressing the relationship between American history, social activism, and craft.
At MoMA, Allison is researching the history of the Department of Education, specifically exploring the work and programs developed by MoMA’s first director of education, Victor D’Amico. Allison is considering how MoMA’s rich history can speak to our current education practices, mining strategies and ideas from the past to inspire new experiences at the Museum today.
Brooklyn-based artist Paul Ramirez Jonas is interested in articulating shared stories and histories, working with and transforming different forms of public art and public symbols.
Paul has been looking at the visitor experience at MoMA, exploring public spaces designed for interaction including the bookstore and the Museum’s information desks.
He asks the question, how can we build on the visitor experience at MoMA.
New York–based collective The Office for Creative Research (O-C-R) includes artists and data experts Jer Thorp, Ben Rubin, and Mark Hansen, a multidisciplinary research group exploring new modes of engagement with data, through unique practices that borrow from science, technology, and the arts.
O-C-R is looking at massive amounts of information from the Museum’s collection database. From image titles to notes on how to install a work, O-C-R is thinking about how this data can be explored and activated by Museum visitors to facilitate interaction, learning, and exchange.
What can you expect?
Throughout the winter and spring, Artists Experiment will present a range of programs and interactions developed with each of these artists. To kick things off, we invite you to join us for the January 29 launch event, Social Exchange: Artists’ Reception. This special event is a chance to meet the artists in person and get a little taste of what’s to come. The Office for Creative Research and Allison Smith are creating an interactive, performative work for the evening, and Chef Lynn Bound is preparing a special menu in collaboration with Paul Ramirez Jonas. We hope you’ll join us for this warm, winter celebration!
Look out for other upcoming Artists Experiment programs at MoMA.org/artistsexperiment.
Recently, Family Programs staff were interested in testing out some of the activities under consideration for MoMA Art Lab: Movement before it opened (on October 10, 2013). Formative evaluation is a “try it out” method that is less formal than other evaluation types. Read more
As part of my research for Artists Experiment, I went to MoMA to sit side by side with the volunteers that staff the information desks. I was not 100% sure what I would find, but my instincts told me that there was something interesting about the situation Read more
Teaching a workshop on art and game theory is the second cooperative venture Pablo Helguera and I have undertaken in the last couple of years. The first was a diet. Bear with me; the two are not unrelated. Frustrated with our personal efforts to shed a couple of pounds, we were ready for an experiment. A website offered a new set of motivations: We were required to report our weight to one another on a weekly basis, to allow our wives to monitor our progress, and (here is the kicker) we gave them our credit card information with the understanding that if we failed to lose the specified weight, we would automatically donate money to the National Rifle Association (NRA). How is this related? Game theory studies how and why people make decisions. Pablo and I wanted to lose weight but we also enjoyed eating —and the latter was prevailing, one dessert at a time. The structure of the diet added new elements to our decisions—our weight became public, our competitive natures were activated, and given our feelings about the NRA, our political and moral sense was now at stake in our menu decisions. No donations were made. The pounds melted away. It would have been a considerably different situation if the rules had been changed—for example if there were a slim and happy winner and a loser who ignominiously and publicly contributed to the NRA. Had we entered a diet with those rules we might have emerged even thinner, but as friends, we most likely would not have joined in the first place.
Game theory opens a set tools to think about rational and irrational decisions. These decisions are always conceived in terms of pairs and groups—otherwise they are not games—so we can begin to understand how we decide what to do in relation to other people. If we are interested in art that is relational, interactive, cooperative, or participatory perhaps we should look at this theory of relations. Pablo and I are not experts in game theory. But we both think games like the Prisoner’s Dilemma, the Dictator Game, the Ultimatum Game, and others are interesting starting points for a discussion of interpersonal behavior. When played in public—as we intend to do in the class—the games have an interesting performative quality that can lead to a rich conversation on a topic we are quite conversant in—participatory, cooperative art. Quite frankly, as much as we have written about social practice art, this is a new field, and we are all still struggling to get a handle on how to think about it.
I’m looking forward to the workshop as an experiment in this emerging discussion and hope you will join us on October 22 and 24 at MoMA for Games Artists Play: The Game as a Socially Engaged Art Form.