Art School

There is an exten­sive his­to­ry of artists mak­ing art­work in the con­text of their uni­ver­si­ty class­room, of incor­po­rat­ing meth­ods of teach­ing as an artis­tic prac­tice, and of col­lab­o­rat­ing with stu­dents to real­ize works of art. For exam­ple, Joseph Beuys who was influ­enced by edu­ca­tor Rudolf Stein­er, was known to devel­op his course on the spot and in col­lab­o­ra­tion with stu­dents. Allan Kaprow and Her­bert Kohl devel­oped a school-type work called ‘Project Oth­er Ways,’ which invit­ed artists, teach­ers and stu­dents to exper­i­ment with per­for­mance and con­cep­tu­al art by replac­ing cur­ricu­lum plans with ‘event scores.’ Sim­i­lar­ly, Grze­gorz Kowal­s­ki col­lab­o­rat­ed with his stu­dents at the War­saw Acad­e­my of Fine Arts in Poland incor­po­rat­ing a series of teach­ing games into the stu­dio class­room and his own work (Krstich, 2012; 2013). How­ev­er, such work is often eclipsed in the larg­er dis­course regard­ing con­tem­po­rary art prac­tice, as it took place in class­rooms, which were often seen to ‘lack an audi­ence’ (Bish­op, 2012) and there­fore not as val­ued in the larg­er art market.

Increas­ing­ly con­tem­po­rary artists who are employed as full time fac­ul­ty, ses­sion­al instruc­tors, or as teach­ing vis­it­ing artists are using the uni­ver­si­ty class­room as a site of cre­ative prac­tice, col­lab­o­rat­ing with their stu­dents to cre­ate work as a mod­el for think­ing about the pro­lif­er­a­tion of ‘school’ plat­forms and the dis­cur­sive, research-based mod­els of cre­ation and rep­re­sen­ta­tion in the con­tem­po­rary art world.

The con­se­quences of this teach­ing-as-art prac­tice are sig­nif­i­cant in that it: i) chal­lenges tra­di­tion­al art cur­ric­u­la and assess­ment mod­els, ii) impacts how future artists con­ceive of mak­ing work with par­tic­i­pants, iii) it requires Uni­ver­si­ty pro­grams to re-think teach­ing meth­ods and offer dif­fer­ent degree options, iv) and sub­se­quent­ly shapes how grad­u­ates of such cours­es go on to prac­tice as teach­ers in K‑12 schools, in com­mu­ni­ty arts spaces, or in muse­ums; in oth­er words the larg­er net­work of art education.

Using historical/archival research and a case study research-cre­ation mod­el this new research extends pre­vi­ous res­i­den­cies in K‑12 schools through exam­ples of con­tem­po­rary art as ped­a­gogy in Uni­ver­si­ty classrooms.