Illinois at the Phillips & The Phillips Collection Center for the Study of Modern Art present:
2008 Symposium -- "Issues of Pedagogy: Museums of Modern and Contemporary Art Today"
April 26, Krannert Art Museum, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
The event is free and all are welcome.
"Issues of Pedagogy: Museums of Modern and Contemporary Art Today," focuses on how public engagement with modern and contemporary art in museums is affected by the interventions of museum educators. Should these interventions take place at all? Can they teach or help individuals to look more rigorously at the world, increase their pleasure in the objects, socialize people, and if so, do they conventionalize people or nurture their creativity and individuality? What do works of contemporary art do for society and how are museum educators facilitating this? By presenting the public with "experts" in the gallery -- people with more knowledge about the objects than the general viewer -- do we perpetuate a hierarchy that disempowers the viewer, whether adult or child? Or do we heighten the viewer's intellectual independence and deepen his or her understanding through a directed dialogue framed by accepted "knowledge" about art objects?
The day's speakers include a presentation of the art collective Otabenga Jones & Associates (represented by Robert Pruitt and Jamal Cyrus) and Josef Helfenstein, Director of the Menil Collection who will talk about their collaboration on a radical classroom set up in the Menil Collection in 2007; lectures by French philosopher Jacques Rancière (Professor, University of Paris) on the issues of museum pedagogy and Howard Singerman (Professor of Art History, University of Virginia) on the history of museum pedagogy; presentations of pedagogical approaches by museum educators Adam Lerner (The Laboratory of Art and Ideas at Belmar, Lakewood, Colorado), David Henry ( Director of Education, The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston), and Suzanne Wright (Director of Education, The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC), with Jennifer Burns (Adjunct Professor of Art History University of Illinois U-C) as discussant; and a panel discussion of artists and curators about museum pedagogy and including artists Conrad Bakker, Jamal Cyrus, Robert Pruitt, and Buzz Spector and curators Manuel Borja (Artistic Director, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid) who will moderate the panel, Josef Helfenstein, Eik Kahng (Curator and Head of the Department of 18th- and 19th-century Art at The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore), and Elizabeth Turner (Professor of Art History& Vice Provost for the Arts, University of Virginia, and former Senior Curator, The Phillips Collection).
The papers and selections from the panels from both sessions will be available as a book, Issues of Content and Pedagogy: Museums of Modern and Contemporary Art Today, to be published by the University of California Press under the imprimatur of The Phillips Collection Center for the Study of Modern Art and Illinois at the Phillips.
Jacques Rancière: "Emancipation in the Museum?"
Art institutions are more and more committed to issues of Education : education as a means of resistance against the global market and the global power. This commitment raises a lot a questions: do artworks teach us anything? Do institutions emancipate anybody? Can we identify emancipation with resistance? and so on. About those issues it may be interesting to hear again the strange lessons of the theory of intellectual emancipation.
Howard Singerman: "A Short History of Museum Education"
A Short History of Museum Education" will focus on the episodic and American, with some mention of various 19th century museum schools (such as those affiliated with the MFA Boston and the Philadelphia Museum of Art) and modern educational collections such as those of the Barnes Collection and Fisk University. It will continue in the 1960s and '70s and end with more recent moments of institutional self-examination.
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