Problem Solving Social Practice in Art: Variations, Instances, Tendencies, Trajectories, and Discourses

From June 16 to June 20, 2014, a group of scholars, community organizers, and artists will meet to cast a wide net on the idea of “social practice in art,” examining and exposing gaps in the topic both in scholarly terms and in how those terms relate to community actions and organizations. Through a potpourri of practitioners and perspectives, this working group will contribute to a collaborative conversation and document a unique cross section of the current trends on the subject.

Directors Anita Jung (Art & Art History, CLAS) and John Engelbrecht (Public Space ONE) hope to address problems and fill gaps in knowledge relevant to the field of “social practice art” (including this designation itself). By bringing together a wide range of artists, teachers, and thinkers whose daily art practice and way of life position them within this field, they hope to map out a variety of case studies and approaches to successfully engage with (or existing alongside) this field in contemporary culture. Through creative documentation and opportunities, the group will make its work together available in an online and printed publication for future use and dialogue.

In addition to the week of Obermann scholarship and presentations, Jung and Engelbrecht intend to instigate and activate the community at Iowa and in Iowa City. The partnership for this symposium represents a collaboration between the University (both the Obermann Center for Advanced Studies and the School of Art & Art History) and the Iowa City grass-roots, community organization Public Space ONE. This partnership highlights an example and a possibility of how we are teaching people to be artists, how we are teaching them to make a living and make meaningful work, and how a research initiative at a university can lead to greater support for its community while pushing forward a dialogue that stretches from the local to the national and international level.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014 (All day)
Co-director , University of Iowa , Art & Art History
Anita Jung is Professor of Intaglio and Print Media in the School of Art & Art History. While getting her MFA from the University of Wisconsin–Madison, she worked as a fine art printer at Off Jones Road and Tandem Press. Jung’s interdisciplinary collaborative work began as investigations regarding violence toward women. She created several major pieces and events at such venues as SPACES in Cleveland, Ohio, and The Peace Museum in Chicago. She is an artist whose work is grounded in traditions of the readymade, appropriation and art as an everyday occurrence. Anita investigates the act of...
Co-director , Iowa City, Iowa , Public Space One
John Engelbrecht is Director of Public Space ONE (PS1), a community arts venue in Iowa City. Since receiving his MFA from the University of Iowa in 2009, he has continued to be engaged in the Iowa City arts community creating, managing, and sustaining many socially-engaged art programs such as Free @rt School, Iowa City Community Supported Art, The Seagull Society, SOUP, ps·z & the Zenzic Press, and the Works-in-Progress festival. Over 60 local, national, and international exhibitions have happened in his tenure at PS1 along with a nearly daily program of performances, dialoguess,...
Participant , The University of Iowa , Art Education
Daniel Kinney is currently an Art Education doctoral student working with groups to create murals that are more than just decoration. “Murals are meaningful in that they are in environments where people live,” he said. “They’re a way for stories to be told, and by involving communities in that process, my goal is to give communities ownership of their environment.” Kinney spent two summers working with students in Uganda to paint a mural depicting what their country means to them. As a teacher at...
Participant , Public Art Saint Paul , Director of Development
Eric Asboe is an artist, writer, and cultural worker based in the Twin Cities. He is Director of Development for Public Art Saint Paul, and he writes regularly for Bad at Sports and other arts publications. Asboe’s creative works prioritize process over product and explore the boundary between practice as improvement and practice as way of life.  
Participant , Legion Arts , Executive Director
Recently, Legion Arts Executive Director F. John Herbert has traveled from South Korea to Denmark, establishing contacts, scouting out new performers, and seeking models for how Legion Arts can further expand its emphasis on diversity and international exchange.On his visit this fall to Seoul, South Korea, John toured the innovative Seoul Art Space MULLAE, which provides work, living, and exhibition space to artists who are revitalizing crumbling industrial areas of the city. The program also provides incubator services.On an earlier trip to Sao Paulo, Brazil, John was able to observe the...
Participant , Pittsburgh’s David L. Lawrence Convention Center
Félix de la Concha was born in León, Spain, in 1962. As a child, he painted landscapes as he accompanied his father on fishing trips. From 1981 to 1985, he studied at the Facultad de Bellas Artes in Madrid. In 1989, he was awarded the prestigious Prix de Rome at the Academia de Bellas Artes and lived and worked in Rome until 1994. While there, he created large-scale works including Nine Months in Donna Olympia, The Cypress at the Circus Maximus, and A Promenade at Doria Pamphili, all of which have been exhibited in museums around the world. Another of his most important...
Participant , University of Iowa , Associate Professor; Director of Graduate Studies, Studio Division
Isabel Barbuzza received a B.F.A. and an M.F.A. in sculpture, printmaking, and book arts from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She taught sculpture, printmaking, and book arts while at UCSB. Barbuzza received an Old Gold Fellowship in 1997. She has had exhibitions in Santa Barbara, Calif.; St. Petersburg, Russia; New York, N.Y.; Buenos Aires, Argentina; and Ontario, Canada, to name a few.
Participant , Portland State University , Assistant Professor of Art and Social Practice
Jen Delos Reyes is an artist originally from Winnipeg, MB, Canada. Her research interests include the history of socially engaged art, artist-run culture, group work, band dynamics, folk music, and artists’ social roles. She has exhibited works across North America and Europe, and has contributed writing to various catalogues and institutional publications. She has received numerous grants and awards including a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Grant. Jen is the founder and director of Open Engagement, a conference on socially engaged art practice and herself speaks...
Participant , Vanderbilt University , Assistant Professor in Film Studies and Assistant Professor of Art
Jonathan Rattner is a lens-based artist who primarily produces experimental nonfiction films and videos. In his work, he employs a mixture of documentary (found footage, interviews, historical research) and lyrical (soft-focus imagery, collage, jump cuts, non-diagetic sound design, long-duration wide shots) filmic elements. By doing so, he strives to create a cinematic space in which viewers are invited to interact with what they see on the screen and create meaning by reflecting on their own experiences, ideas, and truths.Rattner holds M.F.A’s in Film and Video Production and in Intermedia...
Participant , Multi-media Artist
Katie Hargrave is a multi-media artist interested in the production of American identity through politics, history, mythology, and narrative. Her work elevates stories from popular culture, those hidden in the archives, and the everyday conversations from passerby’s and participants. Originally from Chicago, Katie received an MA in Cultural Production from Brandeis University and a MFA in Intermedia from the University of Iowa. See more at: http://northern.lights.mn/...
Participant , University of California , Spatial Studies
Kim Yasuda is professor of Spatial Studies in the Department of Art at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and is program coordinator for Art + California Initiatives.  She established the Friday Academy, a temporary instructional environment within the University that maintains its own academic calendar and experimental curricula to conduct year-round, off-site, and project-based learning within an itinerant classroom setting. 
Participant , UW-Milwaukee , Department of English
Lane Hall is a multi-media artist, writer and professor in the Department of English at UW-Milwaukee. He has been active in the recent labor struggles in Wisconsin, and has written extensively about pragmatic activism. He was a founding member of the Playground Legends PAC which focussed on voter enfranchisement in some of Milwaukee's African American neighborhoods, and has more recently co-founded the Overpass Light Brigade (OLB) which is a direct action group aimed at DIY political messaging, visibility, and the creation of community through the power of play. His art installations have...
Participant , University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee , Associate Professor in Art & Design
Lisa Moline is an artist and designer living in Milwaukee. She is Associate Professor in the Department of Art & Design at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She is co-founder, along with Lane Hall, of the Overpass Light Brigade, a tactical media performance project that has grown into national prominence within art and activist circles. OLB's public displays of lighted messages generally focus on issues of social justice, citizen empowerment, and environmental sanity. In addition to the Overpass Light Brigade, Moline's artwork has been exhibited nationally and internationally at such...
Participant , University of Wisconsin-Madison , Theatre and Drama
Michael Peterson is Associate Professor and Director of Instruction in the Department of Theatre and Drama at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He teaches research methods, performance studies, dramatic literature, feminist theatre, and other subjects both in the PhD program and at the undergraduate level, as well as experimental production and performance art. Peterson's research includes a critical study of Straight White Male Performance Art Monologues (Mississippi UP). a forthcoming book on performance culture in Las Vegas (Michigan UP), and work on animals, food, and objects...
Participant , Grand Valley State University , Associate Professor
Paul Wittenbraker received a BA from Wabash College and his MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art. He was director of the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts in downtown Grand Rapids, and he is now Associate Professor at Grand Valley State University (GVSU). In 1999, he started Civic Studio, for which he received a Michigan Campus Compact Award. Wittenbraker also led the development of the Visual Studies studio major, which focuses on new media and contextual practice. In addition to teaching and advising in Visual Studies, he is developing the Office for Public Culture. The Office is a...
Participant , The University of Iowa , Professor
White is a recent recipient of the Joan Mitchell Foundation Award in Painting and Sculpture, the National Endowment for the Arts as well as being one of seven artists in Iowa filmed by Iowa Public Television for a Iowa Master Artist Series. She is also a recipient of a three-semester grant from the University of Iowa, Faculty Scholar Award, given to five faculty in the university, a two year Dean's Scholar Award which recognizes newly promoted faculty members who excel in both teaching and creative work· She also received two international awards for the Project Milagro Del Dia. AMACUP Award...
Participant
Traci Molloy is a Brooklyn-based artist and education activist. In her artwork, she explores themes of adolescent culture, loss, and violence through installation, painting, printmaking, and drawing. Along with her individual exhibitions, Molloy creates multi-media installations and two-dimensional collaborations with adolescents. Molloy’s collaborations have been featured in national and regional publications, and on Good Morning America, ABC Evening News in Washington D.C. and Boston, CBS Evening...
Participant , LA County Natural History Museum , Program Manager
Vanessa Vobis's ecological interests began while growing up in rural Germany down the street from cow and chicken farms. Later, after emigrating to Northern California and gaining art and art history degrees from UC-Berkeley and the University of Iowa, she began filling art galleries with water, algae, and terrariums at shows across the U.S.  Since her move to Los Angeles, her research lies at the intersection of education, horticulture, and art.  As a Program Manager at the LA County Natural History Museum Vanessa oversees educational events related to the Museum's Nature Gardens, field...