Art as Social Action: An Introduction to the Principles and Practices of Teaching Social Practice Art

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5.9 X 8.9 X 1.1 inches | 0.85 pounds

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About the Author

Gregory Sholette is an artist, writer, and activist focused on excavating the history and theory of socially engaged art. His books include Delirium and Resistance: Activist Art and the Crisis of Capitalism and Dark Matter: Art and Politics in an Age of Enterprise Culture. He is a graduate of the Whitney Independent Studies Program, holds a PhD from the University of Amsterdam, and teaches Social Practice Queens, Queens College, CUNY, which he cofounded with Maureen Connor and the Queens Museum in 2010.
Chloë Bass is an artist and public practitioner focused on scales of interpersonal intimacy and daily life as a site of deep research. She is a regular contributor to Hyperallergic, where she writes about the urban environment, performance, social practice, and race. Her artistic work has been supported by many organizations, including the Laundromat Project, the Pulitzer Foundation, and Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. A graduate of Yale and Brooklyn College, she is an assistant professor of art, teaching in Social Practice Queens, Queens College, CUNY.


"Art as Social Action presents a sharp set of pedagogical tools for teaching and learning about art as a vehicle for social engagement. Having evolved from an innovative collaboration between Queens College and Queens Museum, the book's offerings are embedded in the workings of both community and artists, breaking down the very idea of what participation means in art and non-art contexts. Key questions of authorship, which audiences are served, how does engagement happen, and whose needs are met and how are addressed with forthright vigor. The volume importantly provides rigorous interrogation of the process as well as the outcomes; it is an essential guide to deepening social art practices and teaching them to students." --Laura Raicovich, president and executive director, Queens Museum, NYC
"It's no small thing to educate at the intersection of art and social justice. It's a scope of inquiry that has tripped up art historians, artists, and college deans for multiple decades. This contribution is valuable to educators in its insight, pragmatism, and breadth." --Nato Thompson, artistic director of Creative Time, author of Culture as a Weapon: The Art of Influence in Everyday Life
"This book is a great resource that connects the dots between the pedagogy for socially engaged art and the most pressing pressure points for social change. In doing so, it reinforces the urgency of this art practice, and signals clearly that social practice prioritizes societal change over academicism." --Paul Ramirez Jonas, artist and professor, Hunter College CUNY
"Art as Social Action is a powerful testament to the resliience of artists and educators in keeping critical thinking and creative expression central to how we define ourselves as a people in the era of late capitalism. Chloë Bass and Gregory Sholette bookend this anthology of methodologies with their key wisdom on how, where, and why art and education blur into the social realm. Now more than ever there is a need to recognize the plurality of voices, approaches, and directions that socially engaged art practice offers. This book shows that the many-headed beast of social art practice cannot be defined singularly or sold in duplication. Any practitioner working with communities or any educator looking for strategies for engagement would benefit from the wealth of information in these pages." --R. M. Sánchez-Camus, PhD, Social Art Network, UK
"Art as Social Action is not your typical book about socially engaged art. . . . It is a collection of texts by teachers who, together with their art students, look for creative ways to enter in a discussion with society outside the classroom about topics as different as labour conditions, immigrant rights or mining on sacred Native American sites. Texts by teachers who want to make works with rather than about local communities. And, hopefully, make this world a slightly fairer and kinder one." --we make money not art (blog)