Fiona Banner, Gallery guide stack, 2016, 9,500 pages of gallery notes, glue, installation view, Buoys Boys, De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill-on-sea, 2016
In expository writing, the first task is to identify a central thesis. Often this is expressed as a question or a tension and the job of the subsequent writing is to answer or resolve. Keeping in mind that we are writing to discover or illuminate thought as it relates to your work rather than prove an argument, writing out of a sense that you are answering a question or exploring and resolving a tension or instability nonetheless is a good way to build a coherent text.
“Work on good prose has three steps: a musical stage when it is composed, an architectonic one when it is built, and a textile one when it is woven.” — Walter Benjamin, One Way Street
- Reading discussion: Isabelle Graw, “Talk Til You Drop: The Art Conversation and the Communication Imperative” (Mousse 56, pdf)
- 5 True Things
- Workshop: Reverse Outline:
Exchange drafts with a partner. Read through and write one sentence that summarizes the content and purpose of each paragraph. This will produce a reverse outline which will make the skeleton of your thought more apparent.
Discuss each other’s draft with your partner and be prepared to answer the following in a group discussion:
- Were you able to summarize each paragraph in a sentence or do some paragraphs require several? Do any have too much diverse information?
- Are there gaps? Missing parts?
- Do the ideas flow in some kind of logical sequence from one to the next?
- Does anything seem to be in the wrong place?
- is there anything that should be eliminated (unnecessary or repetitive)?
- Does this outline, in itself, clearly convey what you want your paper to convey?
Assignment for 4/20:
(Jordan and Kayley drafts due to committee April 19)
Bibliography draft (rough is fine, just get your sources down.)
“It’s Not Personal, It’s Business”
What, if any, personal history or experience is relevant to the discussion of your work? Does this function as an essential entry point or is it an unnecessary distraction?
What are key words or phrases that come up repeatedly in your haikus, your interview, your drafts? Are there buzz words you use when describing your work? Note them (we may point some out) and define what they mean for you. This could give you useful alternatives. No hiding behind your own personal jargon! Target: 3-5 words or phrases + definitions.
Overview of course and resources.
Discussion: Expectations (yours & the program’s) for GPS
- What kind of approach and format?
- What writing have you already done?
- What resources have you gathered?
There’s all this good time that you could be wasting in many different ways, but I know you won’t.
So let’s get organized.
Over the winter break and into January:
- Barthes, “From Work to Text”
- Williams, How to Write About Contemporary Art (the whole thing, really, if you haven’t already)
Look through Frieze.com’s Writing Surveys: ‘What writing has most influenced the way you think about art?’ Writers, artists and curators reveal the often surprising literary influences – from Theodor W. Adorno to Lester Bangs, Gertrude Stein and P.G. Wodehouse – that have shaped their thinking.’
*begin to draft your AS bibliography
1. 20 Haikus about your work
Haikus, as you know, are short meditative poems of a specified structure that often express an image, sense or feeling:
5 syllables for the first line
7 syllables for the second line
5 syllables for the third line
Japanese haikus are more complicated than English. For our purpose, keep it simple. Use the restrictive quality to quickly set down some things you think and feel about your work. Keep it focused on your work but don’t overthink. Let the haikus write themselves. If nothing that you like comes out, do more until you have 20 you feel ok about.
2. Artist-writer Mentors
Find 2 examples of artist’s writing you admire (upload pdfs to this the GP Writing site) and DECONSTRUCT one. Mark up a hard copy of that text (use colored highlighters or any other method) to identify the central point and method of organization.
- What is the central question or focus?
- What is the relationship between content and tone?
- What kinds of transitions are used to move from one idea to the next?
- What kind of material is used to support assertions or arguments (backup)? How is this done in the text?
- What is the manner of conclusion?
- What do you know of the artists’ visual work and how does this piece reinforce or change what you think?
- What is it that attracts you? What, if any, elements would you like to bring into your own writing?
Find a partner and interview each other (or round robin).
- Prepare 10 good questions aimed at the heart of what you think your partner’s work is about.
- Prepare 10 good questions aimed at the heart of what you think your own work is about.
- Prepare 10 good questions aimed at the heart of what you think your partner’s work is about.
- Discuss the two combined sets and agree on the 10 most piercing questions for each of you.
- Answer your own interview questions fully. You may do this in writing or in conversation with each other and transcribe.
- Exchange and edit until you both have a well-written, articulate document.
see Bomb Artists-in Conversation http://bombmagazine.org/; The Brooklyn Rail “In Conversation” http://www.brooklynrail.org/
Curating and the Educational Turn
Edited by Paul O’Neill, Mick Wilson. Text by Daniel Buren, Charles Esche, Liam Gillick, Ute Meta Bauer, Raqs Media Collective, Irit Rogoff, et al.
Published by Open Editions/De Appel Arts Centre
In recent years there has been increased debate on the incorporation of pedagogy into curatorial practice—on what has been termed “the educational turn” (“turn” in the sense of a paradigmatic reorientation, within the arts). In this new volume, artists, curators, critics and academics respond to this widely recognized turn in contemporary art. Consisting primarily of newly commissioned texts, from interviews and position statements to performative text and dialogue, Curating and the Educational Turn also includes a number of previously published writings that have proved primary in the debate so far. Companion to the critically acclaimed Curating Subjects, this anthology presents an essential question for anyone interested in the cultural politics of production at the intersections of art, teaching and learning. Contributors include David Aguirre, Dave Beech, Cornford & Cross, Charles Esche, Liam Gillick, Tom Holert and Emily Pethick.
General Idea: Imagevirus
Published by Afterall Books, 2010
With a conversation between AA Bronson and Gregg Bordowitz
General Idea: Imagevirus, a new book by Gregg Bordowitz for Afterall Books’ One Work series.
Imagevirus started in the mid-1980s, when AA Bronson, Felix Partz and Jorge Zontal, working together as General Idea, created a symbol using the acronym AIDS, boldly arranging the letters in a manner that resembled Robert Indiana’s LOVE logo. This launched a series of paintings, sculptures, videos, posters, exhibitions and ephemera that from 1987 to 1994 used the mechanism of viral transmission to investigate the term AIDS as both word and image.
Emerging out of the 1960s Canadian communal counterculture, an environment populated by experimentations with gender, media and polymorphous perversity, General Idea came together as a three-man outfit of anti-art art-pranksters who worked prolifically and exploited almost every medium, from print and exhibition to broadcast. The group thrilled and confounded, but always delivered an extraordinary display of control over both format and dissemination. Imagevirus is one of their most important works, and the perfect illustration of their way of working.
In the book, Gregg Bordowitz, an artist and a professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, analyses Imagevirus from the perspective of his own involvement with activist art initiatives in New York during the 1980s and 90s. Reconsidering the battles fought over sexuality and representation in those years, he explores how Imagevirus infected urban spaces across the world, offering a new model for artistic production, one strongly suited to ideological struggle.
Think of revision as re-envisioning your work. To re-envision is to re-see, re-think, reconsider your writing.
You’ve done a first draft, received feedback from classmates and me, and have taken it further in a second draft. You may find that you began writing in a direction that is not useful to you overall. The important thing at this point is to take a hard eye toward what you have done, mark out what is useful for your purpose (make sure you are able to clearly articulate what that is!), discard what is not useful and identify what you need to fill in the holes.
From here, we will be looking at three levels of revision:
Global Revision. This asks you to reconsider the ideas in your paper. Step back and look at the main ideas. Are they strong and focused? Is your intention clear? Are you communicating what you want to with your reader? A reverse outline or intention outline can help you do this.
Organizational Revision. This level asks you to reconsider the basic structure and organization in your writing. Here, it will be important to consider the structure of your introduction, paragraphs, transitions and your conclusion
Sentence-level Revision. This level is the polishing phase. Read your essay out loud to yourself (and classmates) to catch the flow, rhythm and grammar problems that may have slipped through. Read it and re-read it. Tinker with words until you like the way it sounds.
In class on February 17, we will continue to work on reverse outlines. Homework for February 23 is to write two different introductions.