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Week Ten: Disability Aesthetics and "Outsider Art"

Kristin's picture

1) I want to make more time in class this week to discuss and process your experiences at CCW. To that end, please bring your lab notebooks to class. We will be using them both to discuss your interactions at CCW and to think toward the exhibition and exhibition catalog. 

2) I'd also like us to think more generally about the work of so-called "outsider artists," and the questions that get asked about their work from the perspective of art critics and the art world, disability theorists, and mainstream media. We will focus on a particular case: the Creative Growth Art Center in Oakland, CA, and the work of Judith Scott, one of the best-known contemporary disabled artists, who made her work at Creative Growth. I'm not trying to make any easy parallels here to CCW, which operates quite differently than Creative Growth, but rather to get us to think about the kinds of questions and ideas that circulate around disabled artists, especially those with developmental disabilities, and to push back at or extend some of these questions. We'll also consider what Siebers means by "disability aesthetics" and how Riva Lehrer is redefining "beauty." Here are the readings and clips:
"Sometimes We Need to Get Uncomfortable"
"Art House," in NY Times Magazine:
Preview to "Outsider: The Life and Art of Judith Scott"  (2 1/2 minutes) 
"Judith Scott at the Museum of Everything:"  (7 1/2 minutes) 
Tobin Siebers, Disability Aesthetics, Chapter 1: "Introducing Disability Aesthetics:" (20 theoretical pages with images, focus on pages 15-20) 
Riva Lehrer, " Beauty in Exile" (pdf attached, 8 pages) 
3) On Serendip, please post a comment in response to one or more of the readings or viewings.  
4) We will schedule individual meetings next week and the following week to start discussing your final projects and to think about reading or other preparation. It's OK if you don't know yet what you want to do; we can brainstorm together.