Mary Jane Jacob
Mary Jane Jacob, Curator and Professor at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, participated in the TALK Series program.
April 30, 2015
Experiencing Social Practice
Mary Jane Jacob, Curator and Professor at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, participated in the TALK Series program. Jacob gave a lecture titled “Experiencing Social Practice”.
We have seen a pronounced acceleration in the number of projects that involve working directly with people. Artists speak passionately about this work; curators find it rewarding as they stretch their practices; and audiences are changed. Meanwhile critics seem confused by what it is all about, their writings bounded by socio-political theories or art histories, without consideration for the lived experience of the participant-viewers.
In the lecture, Mary Jane Jacob drew upon American philosopher John Dewey whose understanding of human experience led him to conclude that art is a powerful agent of self-realization and social change. From this perspective, Jacob addressed what processes we undergo in the art experience; art as a lived practice for artists; and how art—and especially socially engaged art projects—affords others access to living life as a conscious practice.
Mary Jane Jacob is a curator who, through hundreds of exhibitions, site-specific and community-based projects, and public programs, has worked with artists to expand the practice and public discourse of art as a shared process. Study into the nature of the art experience has led to the anthologies: Buddha Mind in Contemporary Art, Learning Mind: Experience into Art, Chicago Makes Modern: How Creative Minds Changed Society, and The Studio Reader: On the Space of Artists. As Professor and Executive Director of Exhibitions and Exhibition Studies at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, she is recently spearheaded a major research project leading to the Chicago Social Practice History Series.