Assignment blog

Fred Wilson in the Classroom

[Editor’s note: this week’s post provides a few ideas on how to incorporate the work of a specific artist into the overall program of a class. This method expands upon the traditional ways in which art and artists are shared with students.]
[1] Institutional Critique: Following Fred Wilson and Mark Dion                                                                                      Maura Coughlin

Although I used to be in artwork historical past departments for my first eight years of educating, I have been a school member of the Department of English and Cultural Studies at Bryant College since 2007. This can be a very vibrant, interdisciplinary division that has formed my methods of educating and has supported my own interdisciplinary scholarship. The course that this task comes from, Introduction to Visible Culture, has advanced over that point, from a lecture-based survey to a class that is principally discussion-based and that has tasks and brief papers as an alternative of exams. For several weeks, we now have been speaking about the visual culture of gender and surveillance, racism, taxonomies and classifications in natural historical past, resistance and activism. This challenge has a number of objectives: to get college students off campus and into native collections, to interact critically with the literature on museums and display, and to assume creatively in response to Fred Wilson and Mark Dion’s practices of institutional critique.

Mark Dion, Landfill, 1999–2000.

Fascinated by museum areas, amassing, taxonomies and visible activism, we will probably be visiting two very totally different collections (The Art Museum and the Nature Lab) on the RISD campus in Providence to think about these areas of display and illustration and the ways in which they form and present information. Each of those areas serve the artwork and design group at RISD and in addition welcome guests from the basic public. Understanding their features helps us to contextualize these collections. The methods in which they body or contextualize pictures usually are not value neutral; none of the curatorial decisions which were made are inevitable or clear. By comparing the works of Wilson and Dion that interact in Institutional Critique, we’ll work to construct visual analyses of those shows. Lots of the themes that we’ve got explored this semester come into play into the modern debate over museums’ display of visual culture. You’re inspired to make use of concepts from earlier weeks’ readings in your discussion.

FIRST: learn these assigned items very rigorously before you visit the museum:

Michelle Henning, “Object” from Museums, Media and Cultural Principle (Open University Press, 2005).

Andrew McClellan, “Collecting, Classification and Display” in The Artwork Museum from Boullée to Bilbao (College of California Press, 2008).

Walter Mignolo, “Museums in the Colonial Horizon of Modernity: Fred Wilson’s Mining the Museum (1992)” from Globalization and Modern Artwork (Wiley-Blackwell, 2011).

Maurice Berger, “Viewing the Invisible: Fred Wilson’s Allegories of Absence and Loss” from Fred Wilson: Objects and Installations (Middle for Artwork and Visible Tradition, UMBC, 2002).

Miwon Kwon, “Interview with Mark Dion”  from Mark Dion (Phaidon Press, 1997).

Ruth Erickson, Mark Dion: Misadventures of a 21st-Century Naturalist, choices (Yale University Press, 2017).

And watch:

Fred Wilson “A Change of Heart”

Mark Dion working at the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Middle

The ICA Boston:

And at Vassar:

Once we go to RISD- Deliver a notebook and pencils. You will need to examine your coat and backpack.


  • What sort of narrative or story do the displays at RISD’s areas inform? Should you have been asked to intervenein the histories that the museum or nature lab presents, as Wilson or Dion did in their tasks, what would you add, subtract or alter and why? What “decolonizing perspective” (Mignolo) can you apply? How may you remix the two collections should you have been a curator? At the art museum, choose one sort of display (one room, or one cluster of paintings) for interested by how, as Michelle Henning notes, “museums turn things into objects.” At the Nature Lab, find a show that addresses what Dion calls “problems of taxonomy.” How are you going to examine these?
  • Take lots of pictures and mirror on what you have been drawn to. How may you’re taking these shows and remix them to tell a unique story or to “mine” the university collections in a new approach?What techniques of classification would you employ?  How would your intervention converse in another way or converse to a unique viewers?

Your essay(minimum 1000 phrases) shall be a synthesis of no less than three of the readings above (properly cited)  with YOUR artistic interpretation of this task.

Please word:  Citation of a Portray, Sculpture, or Photograph

  • In a caption line beneath the picture, embrace the artist’s identify. Give the title of the paintings in italics. Provide the date of composition. If the date of composition is unknown, place the abbreviation n.d. in place of the date. Finally, present the identify of the institution that houses the paintings adopted by the location of the establishment. Do not put the picture in your works cited listing: that’s for TEXTS.
  • Source:

The right way to cite info in a Museum label/plaque

In your textual content, paraphrase or quote and embrace “(wall text, RISD).”  In Works Cited: Museum identify. Museum label for Artist, Title of Paintings. Metropolis, Date seen.

Example: Rhode Island Faculty of Design. Museum label for Edouard Manet, Repose. Windfall, 15 April, 2019.

Embrace your photographs in your document and upload to Blackboard by April 25.

Venture One: Create a Dion-style Cabinet of Curiosities or a Fred Wilson fashion “mining” of Bryant’s assortment in the library.

Challenge Two:  What kind of assortment would you wish to make at our university?

[2] Educating with Fred Wilson’s Mining the Museumin a Modern Artwork Course.                                            Erin L. McCutcheon

My semester-long Modern Art course is structured in order that Fred Wilson’s Mining the Museum(1992) intervention in the Maryland Historical Society matches into a unit devoted to “Memorials, Memory, and Trauma.” Before coming to this material, we may have spent the past two weeks taking a look at memorials devoted to collective, nationwide, and cultural traumas around the world (paying specific attention to the AIDS crisis, Vietnam Conflict, Holocaust, and violence during times of dictatorship in Latin American nations). Attention may have been on artists working outdoors of institutional areas, whereas Wilson’s work offers a crucial shift in the direction of representing trauma and revealing hidden histories in the museum. A good way to transition between these subjects is through Wilson’s proposal for the monument, E Pluribus Unum(2007) in Indianapolis, which was finally rejected (you’ll be able to study more about the specifics of the venture right here).

Previous to our dialogue of Mining the Museum, I provide college students with shade photographs of the installation, which may be discovered here, and place them in three teams that correspond to the totally different colored rooms of the installation: pink, blue, and green. College students should choose one object or image that corresponds to their designated colour grouping and write a brief visible analysis response to convey to our subsequent class assembly.

In school, I cut up college students into groups with an equal distribution of every shade grouping (ideally six students per group – two purple, two blue, two green). In these small groups, they talk about their object decisions and analysis, and work collectively to brainstorm the potential meanings behind Wilson’s selection of different colors for the rooms in the exhibition and the way their objects hook up with them and to one another as an entire. This strategy of working collectively to seek out which means is beneficial in positioning the college students in the place of the common customer to the Maryland Historic Society who would even have to do this comparable crucial considering to seek out which means when inside the area. It additionally permits for us to spend time digging into the specifics of the set up in a means that isn’t overwhelming and is student-driven as the object decisions have been made by the college students in advance. We then come back collectively as a category to discuss their approaches, and I assist in outlining more of the specifics of the exhibition in addition to facilitate more targeted visible evaluation on Wilson’s decisions. A video of Wilson speaking about the undertaking and its implications could be discovered here.

In subsequent courses, we contemplate Wilson’s apply in relation to different works that disrupt the museum as a space of colonial trauma and create extra complicated conversations surrounding cultural identities, similar to James Luna’s The Artifact Piece(1986) and Coco Fusco & Guillermo Gomez-Peña’s The Couple in the Cage(1992–93). Combining this in-class dialogue with a visit to the local museum works to probably hook up with the students own personal histories, in addition to provides an understanding of whose histories “matter” to the place in which they reside. Final yr I used to be lucky to have direct access to the fantastic Civil Rights Museum in Jackson, MS situated subsequent door to the Museum of Mississippi Historical past that allowed us to think about the impetus for the creation of those museums, as well as the methods in which histories have been introduced in every area, to whom, and from what perspectives. Even without access to a comprehensive institution, students might brainstorm how they might imagine telling the histories of communities in the location they are dwelling in now, or the place they’re initially from. How would they cope with the intersecting and typically compete narratives and views stemming from communities based mostly in that location? How have these narratives shifted over time? What objects can be essential to inform these tales and how would they interact with one another? What can be the greatest method of presenting these objects to a broad audience? What tales do you assume shall be necessary to inform in the future?