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Copyright 2015Seed Space Press
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A LIVING EXHIBITION OF SOCIAL PRACTICE ARTWORK
SEPTEMBER 2014 JANUARY 2015
A SHOW ADDRESSING OBESITY PREVENTION
SEPTEMBER 2014 JANUARY 2015
FLEX IT!MY BODY MY TEMPLE
03. An Introduction to FLEX IT!
05. Social Practice and the Athens of the South
Essays on a Living Exhibition
13. Flexing the Curatorial Muscle, Mary Jane Jacob
17. A conversation on art, politics, and DEVO, a conversation between Amy Mackie and Nato Thompson
25. Pushing Against the Parthenon: Three Social Practices, Samuel Shaw
29. Title, Adrienne Outlaw
31. ArtFear and Badminton: Observing the Museum Visitor, Susan Shockley
35. Stretching Minds and Bodies, DeeGee Lester
37. Breaking Boundaries, Wesley Paine
Projects Commentaries by Erica Ciccarone
Words on FLEX IT!: Reflections from Participants
75. Go Slo-mo, Carrington Fox
79. Making Connections, Wan Rashid
81. The Art of Community, Blake Schreiner
83. Experiencing True Social Practice, Kayla Saito
85. Artists and Contributors
Table of Contents
41. SUSAN OMALLEY (Berkeley, CA, 1976-2015)
Your Body is the Architecture is a series of six signs located on park grounds on the southeast corner of the Parthenon.
45. BRYAN LEISTER (Denver, CO, b. 1963) and BECKY HEAVNER (Denver, CO, b. 1962)
Pygmalions Challenge is an app that unlocks sculptural markers located near the museums east entrance.
49. PUBLIC DOORS AND WINDOWS HARRELL FLETCHER (Portland, OR, b. 1967) MOLLY SHERMAN (Portland, OR, b. 1985) and NOLAN CALISCH (Portland, OR, b. 1984)
The One Mile Loop is a series of public signs installed along the parks walking trail. Musical performances took place October 11, 2014.
For The Highlander Spring Project, located inside the museum, visitors drink water collected from the Highlander Folk School spring while learning about Highlanders history.
57. ADRIENNE OUTLAW (Nashville, TN, b. 1970)MeetUp is an evolving video installation. Located inside the museum, it highlights community events organized for park visitors by the artist.
61. MOIRA WILLIAMS (Brooklyn, NY, b. 1962)Socrates Wagon Sings with Demeters Torch is a community-built oven and wagon available for use on park grounds. Yeast packets and sourdough starter are located inside the museum.
65. NICOLE CORMACI (Portland, OR, b. 1982)
Yoga for Truckers (+Everyone) is a series of yoga sequences to be performed while sitting. Sessions are held in the museum and on park grounds.
69. LEUNG MEE-PING (Hong Kong, b. 1961)
Chronicle is an installation of guidebooks located inside the museum. Visitors may also speak with elderly people seated at the work.
We would like to thank our sponsors and partners.
National Endowment for the ArtsThe Martha Rivers Ingram Commons at VanderbiltScarritt Bennett CenterMetro Board of Parks and Recreation
Nashville Arts MagazineNative Magazine
The Conservancy for the Parthenon and Centennial ParkSeed SpaceThe Arts & Business Council of Greater NashvilleBradley Arant Boult CummingsFort HoustonCentennial SportsplexWatkins College of Art, Design & FilmGlobal Education CenterCompany H Signs First
The Parthenon Museum and Centennial Park are pleased to present the ongoing work of ten nationally and internationally exhibited artists for the social practice exhibition FLEX IT! My Body My Temple. Each artist has completed a residency at the Parthenon, during which time they worked with the community to create participatory artworks addressing obesity prevention.
The artists works are exhibited both in the Parthenon Museum and on the grounds of Centennial Park to engage audiences in a hands-on exploration of healthy lifestyle choices. Working within the evolving framework of social practice art, FLEX IT! draws from the communal and societal values of both the original and recreated Parthenon to generate conversation, ideas and action regarding obesity prevention. Through a series of engaging and educational participatory artworks, this exhibition realizes collaboration between artists and the public in a way that is both challenging and accessible to a broad audience.
Social practice is an exciting new territory for the Parthenon. Preceded by a complex lineage of socially-oriented art movementssuch as Happenings, Fluxus, Performance, Body Art and Feminist art movementssocial practice has emerged in the last three decades as a bold new art form committed to addressing community issues through artistic collaboration with the public. Social practice artwork is made with a dedication to community participation. After gaining notice and popularity during the activities surrounding Occupy Wall Street, social practice has continued to explore the possibilities of an art form that uses humans and human interaction as media.
The artworks exhibited in FLEX IT! My Body My Temple are created by and for Nashville. Whether in the form of clay pieces made by the community, words exchanged during public workshops, or interaction with visitors to Centennial Park, the ideas and objects presented are the result of direct engagement with the people of Nashville. As such, FLEX IT! is a unique example of the possibilities of community action and awareness.
An Introduction to FLEX IT!
Parthenon exterior, view from the west.
SOCIAL PRACTICE AND THE ATHENS OF THE SOUTH
FLEX IT! participant plays Pygmalions Challenge.
Social practice art, though relatively young, has a rich and complex lineage in socially-oriented art, evolving out of a series of movements that each challenged conventional methods of art-making. During the twentieth century, artists began to explore what it might mean to forgo brush and canvas and instead make art out of the materials of everyday life. Some artists approached this challenge literally, making paintings and sculptures out of found or ready-made objects.
Others, however, began to question material in general: Could a work of art exist not as an object to behold, but as a place for audiences to enter? Could a human being serve as an art object? Could an action? Could thought itself exist as a work of art? Questions like these gave rise to decades of bold new art movements, many of which are still evolving today. One of the most recent and exciting developments in this tradition is social practice art.
In the 1960s, an explosion of social activity spawned a range of new art movements that encouraged human interaction. American artist and theorist Allan Kaprow coined the terms Environment and Happening to refer to designated places and specific performed actions as works of art, thus welcoming audiences physically into the artworks themselves. In these situations, the audience would remain a distinctly separate entity from the artwork itself, but the manner in which they viewed the work became more personal and interactive than ever before. Meanwhile, the development of performance art allowed for yet another dimension of human interaction with the art world. As performers, artists were able to explore the possibility of a human existing simultaneously as art-maker and art-object. The growth of these practices spread into the 1970s. From Kaprows ideas sprouted numerous other facets of social art. Fluxus artists experimented with the idea that life itself can be structured as art, simply by scoring and performing ones actions. Conceptual artists explored the notion that materiality is optional in art makingthus, a thought or a process, rather than paint or clay, can serve as the medium. The 1970s also saw a growth in socially conscious art in the activities of the feminist movement, which often used interactive or performance artwork to explore social structures and hierarchies of the time.
It is out of this history that social practice art eventually emerged. In the early 1990s, socially engaged art began to develop under the name relational aesthetics, exploring forms of participatory performance art that used people,
Installation view of the gallery.
specifically audience members rather than performers, as a medium. Over the next two decades, artists continued to toy with relational aesthetics in relative obscurity. However, more and more traditional artists began to be interested in a kind of art-making that not only included community audiences, but collaborated with them on their turf. One notable example of this, which still draws attention today, is Rick Lowes Project Row Houses in Houstons Third Ward. In the mid-1990s, Low turned his attention from socially inspired paintings to a socially engaged project. Project Row Houses turned a series of run-down properties in a struggling neighborhood into usable spaces such as artist