Introduction

OPEN ENGAGEMENT 2013

MAY 17-19, 2013

Open Engagement is an international conference that sets out to explore various perspectives on art and social practice and expand the dialogue around socially engaged art making. Directed and founded by Jen Delos Reyes and planned in conjunction with the Art and Social Practice students, this year’s conference features keynote presenters Claire Doherty, Tom Finkelpearl, and Michael Rakowitz.

These artists and scholars touch on subjects including public art, politics, art in context, and education. Tom Finkelpearl has written extensively on public art, served as the director of New York City’s Percent for Art, is currently the director of the Queens Museum and is one of the founders of the Contemporary Art and Social Practice Pilot MFA program at Queens College. Claire Doherty has been a key voice in writing around context and place in contemporary art. Doherty leads Situations, a research and commissioning program which further investigates these topics. Michael Rakowitz is an artist whose work has broached complex political and social issues through personal and intimate means. His works ranging from paraSite, Return, and The Breakup have grappled with issues of homelessness, political conflict, popular culture, and personal narrative.

For Open Engagement 2013 we are bringing together these voices to reflect on publics, contexts, and institutions in relation to the current state of socially engaged art, education, and institutional practice.

Through conversations, presentations, workshops, interviews, open reflections, and related projects created for or presented at the conference, we will be investigating, questioning, celebrating, and challenging the current state of art and social practice. This conference is a site where an intergenerational exchange can occur between emerging artists and established artists. This is also a site where transdisciplinary conversation is possible.

Open Engagement is a free conference that will take place May 17-19, 2013, in Portland, Oregon. Contributors are not asked to pay a registration fee and the public will not be charged to attend. Selected contributors to the event will be supported in the following ways: participants from out of town may be housed in Portland homes and select meals during the conference will be provided emphasizing community dining.

We are organizing thematic groupings throughout the conference: Contexts, Publics, and Institutions.