During my first solo trip to the West Coast, which I wrote about in my first blog post, I continued to cover ground across Los Angeles and visited several of the many city museums. In addition to a walk through the LACMA collection and the Hammer Museum, I also managed to visit MOCA where I met up with Ed Giardina, one of five people in the Los Angeles–based collective Finishing School.
Posts tagged ‘Machine Project’
Equipped with insider tips and a thorough guidebook, and having arranged several meetings ahead of time, I recently embarked on my first solo trip to the West Coast. As the Kress Fellow in the Education Department at MoMA, I received a travel grant to broaden my knowledge of a specific area of contemporary art. I chose to go to Los Angeles to meet with various artists, collectives, activists, and educators whose practices are guided by socially constructive aims and whose creative projects seek to engage communities in environmental issues.
My last blog post pondered whether a museum could be a place to foster your own creativity rather than simply appreciating that of the “masters.”
In her book Museum Legs: Fatigue and Hope in the Face of Art, Amy Whitaker makes the case that “teaching people to make art can also be politically disruptive because it teaches people to have their own opinion, giving them a say.”
Marcel Duchamp was definitive on the point of viewers having a say: ”All in all, the creative act is not performed by the artist alone; the spectator brings the work in contact with the external world by deciphering and interpreting its inner qualifications and thus adds his contribution to the creative act.”
Duchamp’s view defies traditional assumptions about art and viewers, often considered the art museum “dance”—the museum leads, the viewer follows.
Often people think they need extensive amounts of information from experts to fully appreciate art, but all that’s really needed is the confidence and opportunity to share your thoughts and opinions, and perhaps a bit of context as a framework—a kind of a personal trainer to help guide the way, but not do the “creative work” of interpretation.
In planning the programs for MoMA’s Bauhaus Lab, we wanted to give the public the opportunity not only to experience original Bauhaus curricula, but also to meet contemporary artists with multidisciplinary practices in an experimental spirit similar to the Bauhaus. The L.A.-based collective Machine Project most definitely falls into this category. (Machine’s approach to pedagogy as performance was previously presented this year at MoMA during the symposium Transpedagogy: Contemporary Art and the Vehicles of Education.)
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