I am finishing my doctorate in Art and Art Education at Teachers College. I am writing my dissertation now. My research interest in my academic career has always been artists networks and exhibitions. My department at Teachers College is Art and Art Education. What is more educational for artists or the public than to generate, participate or get to visit a show by engaged and motivated artists? I also have felt scorn for the "discover me" syndrome. Artists spending an inordinate amount of time trying to be discovered by experts who have , or are assumed to have the power to create or break a reputation. My belief is that developments in the art world are generated by groups of artists, networks of artists, and collaborative groups. I have done several experiments, which will be a part of my dissertation. One of the experiments was a series of exhibitions that I organized with a small group at Teachers College and my professor Dr. Sullivan. The experiment was to create an exhibition of antiwar posters on the web and to explore where that might lead. How are art networks formed and propagated? Who are the audience for such exhibitions? Usually in experiments we try to minimize the variables. In art research there are two kinds of experiments. Experiments about perception, human response and brain research. They can be considered quantitiative or qualitative research. The experiments that I do are different kinds of qualitative research. Many kinds have developed in recent years. I use Action Research, which is a research problem that is determermined to be important to improve a social situation or community. The researcher determines the problem, works with the community conceives of a remedy and implements it. There are also narrative research and other kinds of ways to learn about experience, study it and be able to learn from the past to help the future. My studies are more open-ended. In "Art Aginst War"
I wanted to create an attractor, a response to an important social problem that was causing me, and many others to feel angry. Discussions about the war were disregarded and seemed futile.
I wanted to do an antiwar show. the war in Iraq seemed so misguided. My art experiment was to organize an art exhibition where anyone in the world could create work, send it to me via email or regular mail. Artists could send a file and would pay a small fee for printing as a digital poster. I sent the word out to a many art lists. A supportive group called at Teachers College, formed to create educational networks experimental art classrooms, named Drinkink, built a website for the work we were doing as a group. and added a section for the antiwar show. Other artists with web skills volunteered to build or add a section for the show. The exhibition spread virally. which means that people told each other about the show. Galleries, Museums and spaces volunteered to host the exhibition. Three spaces in France, four in the United States, One in England, and it was shown on huge banners in Mumbai, at the Social Forum lV. The experiment was very successful in some ways. I have a 40 page paper which I will post here detailing the experiement
There were other variables and interests that motivated my experiment, that I did not mention in the blog post. One of my interests has been , how can groups of artists who meet in cyberspace, build on their affinity, enough to create stong enough connections to create real art exhibitions. My interest also was also pragmatic. How much would it cost? What kind of galleries or spaces would be interested? What kind of artist would participate in such a show? Would the work have artistic quality, even though that was not a condition or for acceptance in the show? So the basis was to start with nothing, no money, create an idea, send the word out on the web, and see where those initial conditions would lead to.
In that regard, it certainly was a fascinating experience and led to artist participation, exhibition and world wide connection on an important issue. One of the premises is that art is a powerful medium and generates ripples in the cultural matrix far beyond the initial group that makes the art or sees it. so frankly there are so many aspects to this experiment, I could have written my dissertation with this part alone.
The investigation of the topic for me is another magical quality. When I started doing research on war posters, many sources cite the first war posters were indulgences of the Church that sought to fund a crusade against the Sultan. Before that indulgences were small, mere chits of paper, but they were printed relatively larger by the new printing process and displayed on walls, windows and public places. So the first posters were a similar cultural clash to the one