Art Education

Special Projects, Partnerships, & Events

Art21, Inc.
An ongoing partnership with the non-profit contemporary art organization, Art21, introduces students to resources for integrating contemporary art and artists into the classroom. Art21's mission is to increase knowledge of contemporary art, ignite discussion, and inspire creative thinking by documenting artists at work and in their own words. Art21 illuminates the creative process for students, teachers, and the general public by producing films and videos, books, curricular resources, screening-based public programs, and web-based videos and multimedia content, as well as a growing film and video archive featuring a diverse selection of visual artists working in the United States today. Graduate students have access to all filmic and curricular resources produced by Art21 and participate in workshops and presentations by Art21 staff.

Artistic Activism Research Group at NYU
The Artistic Activism research group creates a forum to discuss and develop the study and practice of arts and aesthetics in the practice of civic activism. Activities include bi-monthly research meetings, curricular development, communications and publications, and a series of sponsored workshops. Workshops have included collaborations with Gran Fury (see below) and Greg Sholette. The research group is headed by NYU professor and co-director of the Center for Artistic Activism, Stephen Duncombe, and NYU professors Dipti Desai and David Darts of the Department of Art and Art Professions.

Conflux Festival, October 2009 & November 2010

Psy-Geo-Conflux (better known as Conflux) is the annual New York City festival dedicated to psychogeography, where visual, performance and sound artists, writers, urban adventurers, researchers and the public gather for four days to explore the physical and psychological landscape of the city. Conflux was co-founded by David Mandl of the Brooklyn Psychogeographical Association and Glowlab's Christina Ray. The Department of Art and Art Professions hosted the 2009 and 2010 festivals when Art Education faculty member and Department chair David Darts served as the curator. Graduate students from Art Education and other Steinhardt programs have the opportunity to participate in this annual event.

Current Issues in Art Education with guest artist Krzysztof Wodiczko, Spring 2007

This Art Education course used a seminar/workshop format to explore New York City and the nature of urban public pedagogy through the eyes of artists and educators. Co-taught by artist Krysztof Wodiczko and educator Jessica Hamlin, students investigated urban public art including performance art, political interventions, documented social engagements, functional/sculptural devices for city living, and architectural proposals as a rich landscape where artists have sought to reconsider and redefine the relationships we maintain with our urban environments. Discussion focused on what these interventions have to do with the ways we learn from and read the city, are taught the limits and possibilities of citizenship and democratic participation, are informed about history and current events, and are inspired to consider new ways of learning and reading the city with students, neighbors, and strangers. Students looked at the historical context of site-specific public art and the continuing development of contemporary interventionist strategies that directly involve audiences and institutions in an effort to better understand how we shape learning, frame participation, and construct knowledge in both formal and informal educational spaces.

Gran Fury Workshop, Spring 2012
"Gran Fury: Read My Lips" at NYU’s 80WSE Gallery was the first comprehensive exhibition documenting the work of Gran Fury, the influential AIDS activist arts collective. Gran Fury's work raised public awareness of AIDS, put pressure on politicians, and opened up a broader spectrum of understanding about the political and collective art practices that flourished in downtown New York during the 1980s and 1990s. An important aspect of the "Gran Fury: Read My Lips," exhibition was educational. Through a series of workshops at 80WSE Gran Fury worked with a select group of 11 NYU students from the Steinhardt Department of Art and Art Professions and the Gallatin Activism Center, as well as 5 participants from the Village Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Center to think about the contemporary relationship of art and politics, and to produce activist and collective oriented art works corresponding to contemporary public strategies. 

Parking Day

PARK(ing) Day an annual worldwide event where artists, designers and citizens transform metered parking spots into temporary public parks. Students in the Spring 2011 Media Literacy course created their own installation for Parking Day on the NYU campus, engaging the public in imagining the possibilities for reclaiming urban spaces.

Port Huron Project, Spring 2012
2012 marked the 50th anniversary of the Port Huron Statement written by Tom Hayden, the foundational document of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and a vision for a new kind of society based on participatory democracy. The anniversary came at a time of renewed interest in student-led democracy movements around the world, and an online context that was impossible to conceive when the original statement was written. In recognition of this historic document major conferences on the Port Huron Statement took place at UCLA, UCSB, NYU and elsewhere. 

In connection with the NYU conference, graduate students in the Art Education program participated in a grassroots effort to connect the mission of the Students for a Democratic Society and the Port Huron Statement to the lives of New York City high school students through the lens of participatory democracy. Art Education students worked with high school students in New York City to explore ideas about participatory democracy using the Port Huron Statement as a source of inspiration.

Unhappy Readymade Exhibition, Jan. 17-Feb, 4, 2012
Unhappy Readymade
was an interactive exhibition featuring students in the Art Education program presented in the Commons Gallery in the Department of Art and Art Professions. Installed as a collection of prompts or instructions, the exhibition required viewers to enact the requests of participating artists using available materials. The show was inspired by the work of Marcel Duchamp and contemporary artists interested in pedagogical strategies and forums for their work. In 1919 Duchamp created a wedding gift in the form of instructions to be carried out by his sister and new brother-in-law. His gift, titled Unhappy Ready-Made, anticipated a shift in the way we understand the role of the artist. By imagining the artist not only as maker, but simultaneously as catalyst, agitator, or facilitator, a new precedent for the artistic act was established—and with it, new questions about the nature of both making art and teaching art to others. How can art take educational forms? Is teaching itself an artistic act?