Professor Todd Ayoung
The Frankfurt school philosopher and sociologist Herbert Marcuse's brief, but relevant remarks from a 1969 essay about form, and it's relation to politics titled,"Art as a form of reality", will be our framework for this course.
This text, although symptomatic of it's time, is also revealing given our post 9/11 wartime situation. Marcuse tracks the struggle many artists had then, with the traditional notions of form, and it's disability with the changing realities of the social, specifically around the global upheavals of the 1960's' and 70's.He weights the possibility of a socially engaged art in a period of "the end of art", without the historical persistence of traditional aesthetics.Along with unpacking Marcuse's essay in detail, this course will also mine other readings, images, performances, videos, and exhibitions to understand the many paths avantgarde art movements have taken in the 20th century, specifically during the 1960's till now.How do these artist, or artists collectives reconcile historical aesthetics, with the "art into life" drive that has defined art since Constructivists to Interventionists? How did notions of aesthetics change in order to engage a politics of Revolution at the beginning of the 20th Century; Confrontation during the 1960's, 70's, 80's, and 90's, and currently notions of Interventionismin our post 9/11 condition? How do approaches to aesthetics and politics vary, say, for sexually, racially, culturally, and ethnically different socially "marginal" groups? How do notions of the private, and public sphere relate to how artists understand art and politics, in an age of "terrorism", and government surveillance? How do our current notions of art and politics engage the "alienated nomad" who drifts through a multitude of frameworks? Students will research a wide range of tactics in groups from , X PRZ, Critical Art Ensemble, Interim Sites, Yes Men, PAD/D, Group Material, Guerrilla Girls, RepoHistory, Godzilla, Retort, and a diverse group of artists working with the many faces of political action, from Adrian Piper, Hans Haacke, Joseph Beuys, Martha Rosler, Conrad Atkinson, Jenny Holzer, Barbara Kuger, David Hammonds, Alfredo Jaar, Felix GonzalezTorres, William Pope, Johan Grimonprez, Krzysztof Wodiczko, Mel Chin, Santiago Sierra, Thomas Hirshhorn, DJ Spooky, and Mierle Ukeles. Students for the first half of the term are required to research, critique, and formulate an art and politics ontology of their own, based either on "revolutuion", "confrontation", "Intervention", or a cut 'n' mix. For the second half of the term students will develop a model(s) articulating this way of being in the world, by giving possibility ( in the form of a performance, speech, website, music, video, action, street stencil, fashion, bumper stickers, manifesto, rally, etc) to this reality.