Lynne McCabe: Room to be (Ms.)understood: A Social Sculpture Workshop


August 28-December 4, 2012
Tuesday evenings from 5:30-8:30 pm

Blaffer Art Museum and the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts are proud to host multi-disciplinary artist Lynne McCabe in residence for a class cum exhibition during the 2012 fall semester. McCabe makes interactive work that explores the potentialities and limits of “social sculpture”. The term designates art that is produced collectively, often through a series of flexible parameters that the artist defines for herself, her participants, and her audiences. By focusing on process, collaboration, interaction and conversation, McCabe’s work is a product of social engagement and active negotiation between all participants. These processes take varied forms for McCabe and include performance, installation, text, events, video and sound works.

Social relations and experience-as-medium have become increasingly common in contemporary art, for many artists orchestrate social gestures and services as primary modes of working. Room to be (Ms.)understood aims to interrogate the origins and genealogies of these practices by looking to a different, often neglected history of feminist writing, performance, and site-specific interventions from the 1970s. A foundational text for the project will be French feminist philosopher Luce Irigaray’s book Speculum of the Other Woman, which was published in 1974 and translated into English in 1985. McCabe’s method will be pedagogical and interactive, transforming the Blaffer Media Gallery into an incubator where Irigaray’s text will literally paper the walls. Housed within the pages of the book, McCabe will lead participants through a series of lectures, performances, and workshops in collaboration with visiting artists and scholars that seek to restore this history and also enact it as a living archive for relational practice and for conversation in the present.

McCabe’s social sculpture workshop will take place at Blaffer Art Museum on Tuesday evenings from 5:30-8:30 pm, beginning August 28 and ending December 4, 2012. The workshop is open to all. Students, faculty and members of the public are encouraged to partake in the experience (class credit available for students enlisted in I-Art). This class-as-exhibition builds upon important precedents such as “Night School” at the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York, “Public Engagement” at the Hammer Museum at UCLA, and “Pick Pocket Almanack” in San Francisco. The project will have an afterlife as a Blaffer publication. Participants will have a role in determining the form of the book and its contents, which may include photographic documentation, scholarly texts and interviews that contextualize McCabe’s residency and the practice of “social sculpture”. McCabe, along with Blaffer and Mitchell Center curatorial staff, will also maintain a blog about the project which may find other digital life as a podcast.

Originally from Scotland, McCabe received her B.A with honors from The Glasgow School of Art in 1999 and recently received her MFA in Social Practice from California College of the Arts. She has exhibited nationally and internationally, most recently as part of the 53rd Venice Biennale, and was a recipient of a 2008 Artadia Award. Her work was featured in the 2008 Houston Area Exhibition at Blaffer Art Museum.

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