Summer 2019 Issue
“Tipping Points”


Teaching with Contemporary Art

Action Verbs

When I greet my students at the door at the beginning of art class, invariably a few eager voices will chime, “What are we doing today?” I’ll usually respond with something like, “Come in and find out!” or “Making art, of course!” But those answers are too simple. They don’t ask, "What are we making today?" If they did, the answer would likely be: a drawing, a painting, a collage, a sculpture, or a print.

Mel Chin’s Fundred Project Takes the Next Step

How can an artist respond to catastrophe? After the 2005 hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, Mel Chin visited the Crescent City to see what art can do, if anything, to remedy such a circumstance. In 2008, Art21 partnered with Mel Chin to announce the Fundred Dollar Bill Project, a creative currency initiative to raise public awareness of lead levels in the soil of New Orleans. After thirteen years of tours and workshops held across the nation, engaging hundreds of thousands of participants, resulting in collaborations with politicians, Chin has decided to end this part of the initiative—now referred to as the Fundred Project—so that it can realize its full potential of achieving a lead-free environment nationwide.

Reading at the Edge of the World: The Horizon Toward Which We Move (Part II)

A conversation between artist and educator, Jerome Reyes and curator and educator, PJ Gubatina Policarpio. The second installment of a two-part interview, Reyes reflects on his artistic practice at large, and how he mixes contemporary art and advocacy for his public artwork, Abeyance (Draves y Robles y Vargas), featured in Policarpio's exhibition, Solidarity Struggle Victory.

Reading at the Edge of the World: The Horizon Toward Which We Move (Part I)

A conversation between PJ Gubatina Policarpio and Jerome Reyes. Policarpio is the curator of Solidarity Struggle Victory, and Reyes is one of the artists in the exhibition. In this conversation, both Policarpio and Reyes meditate on the larger implications of the show’s thesis in relation to time, pedagogy, movements, and camaraderie. This is the first installment of a two-part interview.

The Intrinsic Openness of the Hive Mind

We’re so inundated by images that we think we know everything about them. We give images tremendous weight, even though they’re really just the set decoration of our social landscape—the sky, rocks, and trees—and we barely think twice about how they came to be or appear in front of us; they are like the background in a cartoon. Images help us define how we think about ourselves, collectively, but most of us never consider them critically, even images that resonate with us, like “Silence=Death.”

Teaching with Contemporary Art

Creating a Platform for New Voices

I first encountered the work of Mel Chin in 2011 while on a tour of the Fabric Workshop and Museum in Philadelphia, chaperoning a group of eleventh-grade students from Kensington Culinary High School. Lining the walls of the public studio space were hundreds of Chin’s “Fundreds,” designed by students from the Philadelphia region. It may have been the first time I’d experienced a contemporary artist using social engagement practices to involve youth directly.

Francis Alÿs: A Moment of Collective Complicity

Editor’s Note: Francis Alÿs discusses the unexpected circumstances during the production of his collaborative film Don't Cross the Bridge Before You Get to the River (2008), which was shown as a part of the eleventh Sharjah Biennial. This interview was conducted by Ian Forster and Diane Vivona at the Sharjah Art Foundation in 2013. The film is available to view at the end of the text.