Relational Aesthetics

Students of Modern & Contemporary Art Practices (Art 179E HM, Spring 2019)

April 25, 2019, 4:15-5:30 p.m.
Platt Lawn, Harvey Mudd College

View of a park-like, outdoor setting where a girl does tightrope walking and a small group of people stand in a circle in distance.
“Relational Aesthetics,” a pop-up exhibition

“All art is potentially participatory, if viewers are willing to engage with the work.”

-Nadja Rottner

The term “Relational Aesthetics” was coined in the mid-1990s by French art critic/curator/philosopher Nicolas Bourriaud. It refers to a type of art practice that is intended to blur the lines between artist, artwork, art space, and viewer. The artist is to act as an engineer of situations filled with potential rather than the maker of discrete objects to be contemplated. The goal is often to give “audiences access to power and the means to change the world.” The conversations the work generates and the experiences of the participants, rather than the aesthetic of the work, are the most important things. Artists associated with the movement have made and served food in museums, organized parades, constructed elaborate playgrounds, started libraries, given people voices, led tours, set up bars, and more.

In this exhibition of student artwork from Modern & Contemporary Art Practices (Art 179E HM, Spring 2019), nearly hundred artists will be present to engage the viewers and consider power in situations, both familiar and unusual.

Modern & Contemporary Art Practices is taught by Professor Ken Fandell.

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