This week, our Blue Basho has been thinking about returning to work on the educational ‘Turning’ marginalia we produced.
We have focused on examining and exploring some key examples of the ‘Educational Turn’ in contemporary art throughout the previous weeks. We started from a personal perspective, thinking about mapping where some examples are situated globally. Are they emerging from one part of the world more than another? Or are we simply hearing more bout some examples than others? Following this, we considered the catalyst that encourages the turn? and it has to be said that all of these causal arguments. After that, we discuss the schools, artworks, and exhibitions that might enable us to learn more about what forms the turn takes and what it might be aiming to do. Finally, we discussed the educational aesthetic is much harder to map in causes terms; it is harder also to relate it directly to realpolitik.

This process was all bout helping us to see that we have learned more above the Educational settings and debates that the educational turn has taken place within, and trying to think three questions of educational turn in contemporary art, origin stories & causality and educational aesthetics.


Q1. Some examples of ‘Educational Turn’ in Contemporary Art:

1. Joseph Beuys’s Free International University in Düsseldorf and the AntiUniversity in London.

2. A contemporary example of educational turn is the Useful Art Association, set up by the artist Tania Bruguera.

This resources is from Tete Modern gallery:

The Useful Art Association was started in New York by the Cuban artist Tania Bruguera and promotes the idea of art as a process that should have real effect in society as part of everyday life, rather than a rarefied spectator experience. An example is Tatlin’s Whisper 5, held at Tate Modern in which mounted police enacted crowd control, corralling visitors and controlling their movements.

3. James Ritson and Kate Lindsay The Art of Placemaking for Online Learning.

To provide accessible, relevant and cost-effective postgraduate and undergraduate degree and apprenticeship programs, enabling students to enhance careers, increase professionalism and contribute to a better built environment.


Q2. Origin Stories & Causality

1. Curator, Gallery and Museums

Education turns to a focus on the process of teaching art itself. For example, the use of discourses, teaching methods and situations both inside and outside the exhibition (discourse/exhibition display/performativity). Thus, this leads to a democratisation of knowledge acquisition. A shift in the position of exhibition galleries, museums and curators towards the public.

Freire (2007) pointed out that one of the main objectives of artists and curators working in the field of contemporary art is to build ways of sharing knowledge that allow for more flexible and counter-bureaucratic practices in addition to, or instead of, the transmission of hegemonic value systems, which also need to take into account the issues at hand and the needs of the participants.


2. The Turn to Experience in Contemporary Art

The work and creative practices of some artists are often considered ‘participatory genres’ (Bishop 2012), but many of their jobs and conditions of production are concerned with more than just participation, activity and writing. It seems to me that they are concerned with the commitment and potential of experience. In other words, what does experience do and how does it do it? That is, the role of experience and how it is and can itself be a catalyst for the educational turnaround. Public and artist participation does not merely provide an experience; even more, participation activates a transformation of a person, with the result that a person becomes something other than what they were before participation, or rather becomes a different person (Grosz, 2011).

For example: at the New Museum, New York, as Carsten Höller: as “Carsten Höller: Mid-career Retrospective” (October 2011-January 2012): Giant Psycho Jar, 1999; Aquarium, 1996); Untitled (Slide), 2011; Carousel of Mirrors, 2005; Upside Down Goggles. (2009)


Q3: Educational Aesthetics

Educational aesthetics is an educational process or aesthetic production. The educational turn manifests itself in different forms, processes and outcomes in schools, artworks, curators and exhibitions. However, some art institutions and galleries present some vague educational structures. At the same time, artists do their best to explain their production process. This needs to be explained to the public differently to understand the attitude of the ‘educational turn’ of art institutions and artists. Others see this educational aesthetic in work with suspicion. The turn is a vague model. The educational turn is very much linked to realpolitik, as the educational turn is considered differently in different educational contexts and factors.

Audiences have different needs for educational aesthetics, as they have different positions and perspectives from art schools to students, artists to audiences, exhibitions to scholars, and artworks to the market. Therefore, there is not a consensus on the structure of the educational turn; for example, everyone acquiesces to the pedagogical forms of exhibition institutions and the models of some free universities. The models developed have to be questioned by each other.

I believe that the way education turns to find the same relationships and logic in different educational institutions, within the school, how it is taught, by whom it is taught, the means and tools, and finally, the outcomes for the students. Although some institutions contribute to the way of working, for example, an installation by American artists Jennifer Dalton (1967-) and William Powhida (1976-) in the Winkelman Gallery in New York (19 February – 20 March 2010). The gallery has been transformed into an art classroom where visitors study the process of making art. However, many educational institutions and capital investors wish to adopt the education turn model, and this causal relationship is unclear.