From the Editor
by Claire Ruud
Recently, the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex has been home to a cluster of exhibitions and artist projects in vacant commercial and residential spaces. In large part, this issue is devoted to those, with features on Modern Ruin (which occupied a never-occupied WaMu building and, to everyone's delight, drew the attention of NPR's Marketplace) and November House (which occupied an vacant residential rental property.) Next weekend, the Metroplex will be home to another such event, Three Propositions and a Musical Scenario in empty storefronts in an artist studio complex.
Looking ahead to the coming months, we're hoping to publish a series of features that join the conversation about contemporary art and pedagogy. Artist-run schools have been popping up right and left. Close to home, Skydive in Houston launched a Saturday Free School last year, and in Austin Fluent~Collaborative helped bring Mary Walling Blackburn’s Anhoek School to town in January and Anna Craycroft's Union of Initiatives for Educational Assembly is opening an investigation of “educational methodology, theories of selfhood and identity” at the Blanton next weekend. Elsewhere, I can’t even begin to list the number of artist schools in existence, though the School of the Future has a pretty comprehensive list of mostly North American artist-run schools.
Questions abound regarding these schools. In future issues, we’re hoping to present some possible answers. In this issue, I’ll simply pose some of the questions we’re asking.
(1) What is the difference between a school-as-school and a school-as-art? (In other words, between a school founded by artists and a school framed as an artwork?)
(2) What is the relationship between the history and practice of relational aesthetics and the present pedagogical turn within the field of art production?
(3) What happens to an artist-run school when it moves inside the walls of the museum? (For example, Fritz Haeg’s Sundown Schoolhouse at the Whitney or Anton Vidokle’s Night School at the New Museum.)
(4) What is the relationship between the expansion of educational and public programs departments in Museums over the past decade and the rise of the artist-run school?
(5) Artists and critics often discuss the artist-run school as a response to the MFA system. What type of critique of or alternative to this system do such schools offer?
(6) When are artist-run schools actually about pedagogy, and when is pedagogy simply a means to another end?
These are questions others are asking, too. If you want to read up on what others have already said, check out Martha Schwendener on The University of Trash in the Village Voice, Roberta Smith on Bruce High Quality Foundation University in The New York Times and, my favorite, Adam Kleinman's Artist Run Schools Permeate My Membrane on Cassie Thorton's Trust Art website. Kleinman's list of questions on this topic is spot-on, another productive place to start. Presumably, inquiries into such questions will be taking place live inside the walls of Craycroft's exhibition at the Blanton, and we're hoping to get some down on (virtual) paper here at ...might be good, too.
Claire Ruud is Associate Director of Fluent~Collaborative.