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Object Relations: Reading and Talking Together

Jarrett Earnest

"There really is no such thing as art. There are only artists."
                                                — E.H.Gombrich The Story of Art (1950)
        "Let us suppose that the idea of art can be expanded to embrace the whole range of man-made things, including all tools and writing in addition to the useless, beautiful, and poetic things of the world."—George Kubler The Shape of Time (1962)

The art we make and the art we like is connected to the ways we live, the things we read and the adventures we have. However, the nature of these relationships and how they produce art is anything but straightforward—closer to gravitational orbits than direct causal chains.The focus of this class is to think and talk critically about such interconnections via weekly conversations with a visiting artist who assigns a text of their choosing. Participants should be interested in broader interdisciplinary issues of art and culture as discussions will span Kubler's "tools, writing, and the useless, beautiful, poetic things of the world."

This is a seminar and everyone is asked to commit to reading and attending each week of the entire ten-week course. We meet Sunday afternoons October-December. Recordings of last term's "Object Lessons" are available free online for interested students, which will give you a sense of what to expect "( and (

Our introductory meeting will be on September 14th where readings and schedule will be distributed. For this class please read and be ready to discuss Kubler's The Shape of Time.

Visiting artists will include:

Anna Betbeze
Francesco Clemente
Coco Fusco
Ann McCoy
Ira Sachs
Jacolby Satterwhite
Michael Taussig
Ann Waldman
Lisa Yuskavage
Please find the syllabus here (
Course readings:

First Class: Sunday September 14th, 3pm

Sundays, 3pm / September 2014


Humor and the Abject

Sean J Patrick Carney

This seminar-based course will expose participants to various critical and theoretical frameworks on humor and its relationship to the abject. Abjection has been described and interpreted in many ways by a diverse group of thinkers and artists, though a consistent and integral aspect is that it represents that which exists between the subject and the object. In comedy, we witness regular engagement with the volatile, the vulgar, and the violent, as its practitioners employ their craft to explore the things that we think but dare not say. Throughout the semester, we will read various perspectives on humor and abjection, engage with regular visitors whose work explores these topics, and view examples of the wildly varied field of contemporary comedy. 
It will also be funny. 
First Class: Sunday September 14th, 7pm

Sundays, 6pm / September 2014


Show And Tell, a Sculpture Forum

Elizabeth Jaeger

This course will focus on sculpture in an artistic, curatorial and commercial discourse. Visiting critics include a variety of artists, curators, writers, and dealers by vocation.  As a class we will pose the question:Where should, and does, sculpture go?  The semester will be used to formulate an answer in dialogue with visiting guests. In conjunction, each week 2-5 students will be invited to bring their work in for critique, and to discuss their particular aesthetic, ideas, and intents. Field trips will also be available outside class, as decided on by the class. 


First Class: Wednesday September 17th, 7pm

Wednesdays, 7pm / September 2014


The Only War That Matters Is The War Against The Imagination: A Poetry Workshop

Ana Božičević & Sophia Le Fraga

Thinkers have warned against the imagination as the Pandora's box of the mind or a kind of trick oracle. Kant called it the "blind, yet indispensable function of the human soul" that deals breakthroughs and breakdowns alike. Blind yet image-making, imagination haunts artistic discourses and shares with art the liminal zone between ideal and real, between intellect and feels.
Taking as our point of departure Diane di Prima's caution that "the only war that matters is the war against the imagination," we'll examine imagination's cultural and political implications, focusing on the poetic: from the Romantics, for whom it was a sacred tool of inquiry, to contemporary experimental poets who rigorously imagine their textual sculptures into hard or digital materiality.
We'll discuss the work of the imagination in our own creative work, regardless of genre. We will create new or used poems, textual and multimedia pieces in response to class discussions, and welcome a number of guest speakers — poets, artists, filmmakers, translators, and activists. 
Each class will work as its own unit of inquiry, and anyone is encouraged to attend any meeting; for maximum effect, follow the course to completion. The semester will culminate in a collective performance whose nature you will help us imagine.
First class: Thursday September 18th, 7pm

Thursdays, 7pm / September 2014


Image Ecologies

Aily Nash & Andrew Norman Wilson

This class will be based on screenings of recent moving image work that offers multiplicitous impressions of the world as a whole rather than as composed of separate natural and social realms. Formally these artists combine heterogeneous production processes, found imagery, and artistic disciplines within a single work. Students examine the formal and conceptual qualities of film and video and learn how contemporary artists are exploring ecologies of images. The class will consist of short screenings and discussions of readings. Artists include Trisha Baga, Camille Henrot, Mark Leckey, Sterling Ruby, Jordan Wolfson, and more. This is an eight week discussion-based seminar running from mid October to mid December, and will be capped at around 25 participants. 


First Class: Tuesday October 28th, 7pm

Tuesdays, 7pm / October 2014


Collage and the Grammar of Images

James Brittingham

Communists, Capitalists, Fascists, even Anarchists all practice forms of collage. So will we. We will use collage to investigate the role image-culture has played in the development of character and ideology. Projects (to be supplemented with Power Point lectures) will include:
Imaging the ideal objects,
Imaging ideal subjects,
Misrepresenting historical events,
Designing covers for books that never were and never will be,
Memorializing the living,
and of course
Through discussion and practice we will uncover the Grammar of Images.
Supplemental readings will be provided where appropriate.
We will have old magazine and newspapers and all kinds of blades.
First Class: Monday November 3rd, 3-6pm

Mondays, 3pm / October 2014


Ball Gowns vs Mini Skirts: Painting Critique with Nicole Wittenberg

Nicole Wittenberg

In this class we will talk about what paintings actually look like, because as Oscar Wilde said: "It is only shallow people who do not judge by appearances. The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible." Our focus will be on playfully inventing a shared language to discuss each other's paintings—defining together terms like "image energy", "decorative manners", "constriction vs. composition", "visual cuisine", "recessive vs. aggressive styling", and "mini skirts vs. ball gowns".
Each week 5-10 participants will bring 3-5 paintings for critique, joined by a guest artist. Classes being at 7pm with a brief interview with our guests focusing on process and what we really do in the studio. Participants will be able to request which guest artist they would like to critique with. Guests critics will be announced October 15th, our first session will be on November 3rd. 
First Class: Monday November 3rd, 7pm

Mondays, 7pm / November 2014



Thank You!