What is your public sphere experience?: Public Art Studies at USC

What is your public sphere experience?: Public Art Studies at USC

USC Roski School of Art and Design

March 10, 2008
What is your public sphere experience?: Public Art Studies at USC
Is this public space?

The PAS program has extended its application deadline for the 2008-2009 academic year to June 2, 2008, to seek students from a range of academic, disciplinary, and
professional backgrounds.

This 2-year graduate masters program currently confers a Master of Art Studies (MPAS) degree, and offers a unique context for the study of key issues regarding the history, current manifestations, and the future of art practices in the public sphere. We examine the complexities of community engagement, modes of collaborative and participatory art production, the historical and contemporary conditions of site/location-specificity, and the debates around relational aesthetics, among other topics. Issues are rigorously investigated through a cluster of seminars, directed research opportunities, practicums, and guest lectures. The program functions as a hub for critical thinking regarding the role of art in the public sphere, and the analysis of cultural interventions in spatial territories.

The PAS program considers urban, suburban, and disurban environments as porous zones in which real and imaginary borders are continuously under construction and erasure in terms of ethnicity, immigration/migration, labor, and class. Public space encompasses a complex flow of bodies, capital, cultural representations and social desires, as well as frictional contact with the private domain. If artistic, architectural and other cultural interventions within city-spaces constitute a kind of urban acupuncture, is there a crisis in the experience of today’s public sphere that requires treatment?

We offer a cross-disciplinary curriculum structure, incorporating discourses/methods from art history, art criticism, urbanism, architectural history and theory, social science, and urban planning. Students interrogate the ways in which artists, architects, theorists, and curators seek to critically re-script lived environments; they are encouraged to consider new forms of cultural-political citizenship in relation to the democratic potential of the public sphere. Currently, the PAS program is one of the institutions partnered with the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles for their “Allan Kaprow—Art as Life” exhibition; students are collaborating with the Tijuana/Los Angeles-based art collective, Bulbo, to reactivate a 1970 Kaprow Happening in the public space of Los Angeles.

The Program currently features a dual-degree program with Planning in the USC School of Planning and Development, as well as a dual degree with Hebrew Union College, Los Angeles. Discussions are underway to develop cross-disciplinary affiliations with USC graduate programs in Architecture, Art History and the Masters of Fine Arts degree. Fellowships and scholarships are available on a competitive basis.

The current PAS faculty includes:
Lauri Firstenberg, Carol Stakenas, Anne Bray, Karen Moss, Donna Conwell, Janet Owen Driggs, Susan Gray. Guest speakers and seminar leaders in the 2007-2008 academic year include: Bulbo, Sam Durant, Michael Krichman, Rick Lowe, Rochelle Steiner, Allan McCollum, Teddy Cruz, Miwon Kwon, Nato Thompson, Hou Hanru, Daniel Joseph Martinez, Grant Kester, Tirdad Zolghadr.

For more information on the Public Art Studies Program at USC, please contact Elizabeth Lovins at [email protected]

The Roski School of Fine Arts at the University of Southern California provides a well-balanced education in the creative, interpretive, and critical processes essential to the practice of art. In lectures, seminars, and studio crits, students and faculty energetically challenge fixed notions of art and culture. The Roski School offers BFA, BA, Master of Fine Arts (MFA), and Master of Public Art Studies (MPAS) degrees, as well as Fine Arts Minor for undergraduates. Studio areas include Painting and Drawing, Photography and Intermedia, Graphic Design, Sculpture, New Genres, and Ceramics.

University of Southern California
Roski School of Fine Arts
Watt Hall 104
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0292
Telephone: 213 740 2787 | Fax: 213 740 8938


For more information go to: http://roski.usc.edu/pas

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March 10, 2008

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