USC Master of Public Art Studies Program: Final Call for Applications

USC Master of Public Art Studies Program: Final Call for Applications

University of Southern California

March 23, 2009
USC Master of Public Art Studies Program: Final Call for Applications

Joshua Decter

For more information on the Master of Public Art Studies program at USC, please contact us at [email protected] or visit our website at

Master of Public Art Studies Program
Art in the Public Sphere
University of Southern California
Roski School of Fine Arts
Watt Hall 104 University Park Campus
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0292
Telephone: 213 743 8540
Fax: 213 743 4563

Under the leadership of curator, critic, and theorist Joshua Decter, in conjunction with a faculty of curators, art historians, organizers, critics and artists, the Master of Public Art Studies Program (MPAS) at the University of Southern California Roski School of Fine Arts in Los Angeles functions as a hub for critically rethinking the role of art in the public sphere, and analyzing art’s complex interconnection with social space. Students from a range of academic backgrounds and professional interests engage in a rigorous academic curriculum that offers a productive balance of theory, history, critical writing, and practical curatorial/organizational models.

The MPAS Program provides a unique context for the study of key notions of public space and the public sphere, and the influence of these ideas upon contemporary curators, historians, theorists, writers, artists, and architects who seek to:

• rethink the interrelationship between cultural production, public space, and the public sphere

• re-imagine the public sphere in terms of the challenges of city-space and the urban

• public art vis-à-vis broader art histories

• interrogate the role of the curator—and curatorial practice—in city-based exhibition

• evaluate processes of social collaboration, networks of participation, and relational

• analyze strategies of location-driven, site-specific, and situational engagement

• debate concepts and realities of community-based practice

The program’s cross-disciplinary curriculum is comprised of lectures and seminars; a curatorial practicum wherein students work collaboratively on an exhibition project for two years; directed research opportunities; conversations with guest speakers. Students participate in the development of a hybrid cultural discourse—and adventurous modes of organizing exhibitions in public space—that draws from art history and criticism, curatorial practice, urban theory, architectural history and theory, social science, geography, and urban planning. The MPAS program examines how public and private space is fundamentally interconnected on conceptual and experiential levels, and how the most compelling art projects and exhibition initiatives seek to critically and dynamically re-script lived environments within city-spaces, challenging our assumptions about control, openness, access, and social interaction. The program prepares students for careers in curatorial practice, the administration/organization of art projects in the public sphere, art writing, as well as opportunities within academia; and encourages them to imagine—as agents of change—new forms of cultural-political citizenship in relation to the renewed democratic potential of the public sphere. Fellowships and scholarships are available on a competitive basis.

Guest speakers (fall 2007 through spring 2009): Andrea Fraser, Krzysztof Wodiczko, Teddy Cruz, Marjetica Potrc, Norman Klein, Anne Pasternak, Mark Dion, Patricia Phillips, Gregory Sholette, Ute Meta Bauer, Doug Aitken, Paul Ramirez Jonas, Rudolf Frieling, Peter Zellner, Steve Dietz, Bulbo, Sam Durant, Michael Krichman, Rick Lowe, Rochelle Steiner, Allan McCollum, Miwon Kwon, Nato Thompson, Hou Hanru, Daniel Joseph Martinez, Grant Kester, Tirdad Zolghadr.

Full-time Faculty: Rhea Anastas, Visiting Assistant Professor, USC’s Master of Public Art Studies Program. From 2001–2008 she was Visiting Assistant Professor, The Center for Curatorial Studies and Art in Contemporary Culture, Bard College. Anastas co-edited Dan Graham: Works 1965–2000 (2001) and Witness to Her Art: Art and Writings by Adrian Piper, Mona Hatoum, Cady Noland, Jenny Holzer, Kara Walker, Daniela Rossell and Eau de Cologne (2006), and was a co-founder of Orchard Gallery, New York.

Adjunct Faculty: Edgar Arceneaux: Artist; Director, Watts House Project; Lauri Firstenberg: Director/Curator, LAXART; Carol Stakenas: Executive Director, Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE); Anne Bray: Curator, Executive Director, LA Freewaves; Rita Gonzalez: Assistant Curator, LACMA; Karen Moss: Curator, Deputy Director for Exhibitions and Programs, Orange County Museum of Art; Donna Conwell: Curator-Producer, Writer, Art Historian; Janet Owen Driggs: Writer, Artist, Curator; Christina Ulke: Artist, Co-Editor/Co-Publisher, Journal of Aesthetics and Protest; Susan Gray: Cultural Arts Planner, CRA/LA

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March 23, 2009

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