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Lesson Plans

Re: A&E.O

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Thu, 20 Nov 1997 00:29:50 -0600

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At 4*31 AM 11/19/97, Kate Menke wrote:
>I am writing in regards to a lesson plan that I am trying to develop. In
>reaction to Ann Hamilton's privation and excesses, her idea that we have
>become isolated from one another in this society, I wanted to find a
>solution. I though that it would be interesting to look at art as
>solution to this problem.
>I would like to present some artists and works that use art to bring a
>community togeather to illustrate possible solutions. Then I would like
>the students to examine this problem and how it applys in their
>community, be it their school, their neighborhoods, city, or state.
>After examining the problem of isolation in these different community I
>would like them to come up with a possible solution and then impliment
>If anyone has any ideas how to do this more effectively, or specific
>artists I would greatly appreciate any information. Thanks in advance
>for any help you may give.
>Kate Menke

Part of the problem when discussing art that brings communities together is
we tend not to problematize the implications of "community." What exactly
is it? Where does it come? We need to problematize "community" and ask
questions such as; when communities are involuntary can there be a common
good, is it realistic to assume that consensus and community will always
be progressive forces, can an artist go too far in the direction of
consensus and community, isn't there danger in not recognizing the
tensions and conflicts within any group interaction (small community) for
the sense of consensus (common good), o the multiple voices include those
that do not label the project "art," and can the artist speak for
communities from which the artist does not belong, and can the artist speak
for communities from which the artist does not belong? These are issues
that underly any artist working towards community building. Remember that
any implied understanding that "Community" is a transcendental signifer is
dangerous, and a dead end pedagogically.
With that said, it might interest you to research artists such as
Mierle Ukeles, Dominique GW Mazeaud, Suzanne Lacy, Suzi Gablik, Judith
Bacca, Group Material, Tim Rollins, Guillermo Gomez-Pena, Goat Island, and
the Guerrila Girls. After looking at some of these works, you may want to
read "The Return of the Political" by Chantal Mouffe. It is slightly dense
at certain points, however it addresses issues of community an public in an
exciting way.


Kevin Michael Tavin Ph.D. Candidate
Dept. of Art Education
The Pennsylvania State University
School of Visual Arts

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