Some Thoughts Collected

Since 2014 I’ve been (very periodically) writing small texts mostly related to the topic of Art and Social Practice and posting them on my website under the heading “Some Thoughts.” This PDF version puts them all together in chronological order for anyone who might want to read them that way printed out or on a… Continue reading Some Thoughts Collected


Imagine finding some writings or drawings that you had done ten years earlier. At the time that you made them you had no thoughts about publishing or exhibiting the work, but now much later you see value in considering them differently, so you go about formalizing the work for the public to be able to… Continue reading 7.9.19


As soon as I finished writing short descriptions for the first set of terms and topics related to social practice (see the previous post) I immediately started compiling a new list. So here are an additional twenty-two terms and topics with subjective definitions, I’m sure there will be more to come. Duration The amount of… Continue reading 1.26.19


Each week in the PSU Art and Social Practice MFA program we have an hour of what we call “topical discussion.” During that hour we explore a topic related to art and social practice. Some of the topics are very basic like collaboration, or site-specificity, but there are also terms like “A Touch of Evil”… Continue reading 12.24.18


12.22.18 I want to digress a bit from Social Practice and go into a more general topic, or topics—letters of recommendation, and open calls. I’m often asked to write letters of recommendation for students or past students for everything from small awards to PhD programs and I have grown to question their value. In fact… Continue reading 12.22.18


12.19.18 I’ve been talking with my students lately about the radical potential of conceptual art. Part of what I’m suggesting is that conceptual art or “conceptualism” (the art historical term for that category of work) was radical in the sense that it challenged existing formalism, and attempted to offer alternatives to the status quo commercial… Continue reading 12.19.18


I brought this topic up with my grad students last Spring. It seems obvious, but I think people can loose track of this for a variety of reasons—the idea of actually enjoying the work you do as an artist. Being an artist is an unorthodox thing to do in society in general with various struggles… Continue reading 9.5.18


I’ve been negligent about writing for a year or two, these things happen. I’m going to try to get back into writing regularly again. Ok, so here is a topic—the potential positive relationship between studio art and artists and projects by artists doing social practice type work. There has always been some level of antagonism… Continue reading 4.7.18


I wrote the following for this year’s group of PSU Art and Social Practice MFA students to consider in an attempt to understand their own intentions for their practice and work. It might be of use to other folks as well:   How would you like to see your practice as a whole function? By… Continue reading 9.2.16


Gabo Camnitizer asked me to write a text for the show that he curated in Sweden called Meaning Making Meaning, below is what I came up with.  In 2007 I was given an opportunity to start a new MFA program at Portland State University where I had been teaching for three years. I used a… Continue reading 4.26.16


I took a little break from this weekly writing project (like a nine month break or something like that, not sure what happened) but I want to start doing it again, maybe every other week or once a month is more realistic, we will see what happens. Writing is eventually what I really want to… Continue reading 3.12.15


The question of whether social practice work belongs in museums has been brought up many times recently, partly as a result of several different museums attempting to include social practice in their programming. There are a variety of approaches to include social practice work going on or in the works at the moment with various… Continue reading 6.21.14


When I was a kid, sometimes at night when I was trying to fall asleep lying in bed I would imagine that my legs stretched out away from my body so that my feet were miles away from my head, it was an interesting sensation. I know that doesn’t have anything to do with social… Continue reading 6.3.14


I’ve often been asked about how to get the ball rolling towards making a living producing art. It’s a tough question. For every artist who somehow figures that question out there are probably a thousand or more who don’t. Imagine if people going to medical school only had a one in a thousand chance of… Continue reading 5.26.14


An approach to creating projects that I’ve employed many times (other artists have as well) and that I think is an interesting option generally, but is not often used by emerging artists (I’ve rarely run across MFA projects of this sort), is what I’ll call the delegated model. My sense is that because there is… Continue reading 5.19.14


Something that I think is often thought of as insignificant or annoying, but which I think actually holds great power and possibility is the artist resume. It is standard that artists follow existing examples of what goes into a resume, often that approach is also taught in professional practice classes in art departments and schools… Continue reading 5.10.14


Something that I think is often thought of as insignificant or annoying, but which I think actually holds great power and possibility is the artist resume. It is standard that artists follow existing examples of what goes into a resume, often that approach is also taught in professional practice classes in art departments and schools… Continue reading 5.10.14


The topic of reproducible project models in social practice has come up a few times recently. Of course the primary characteristic (in my opinion) that is particular to social practice work (as opposed to most studio based work) is that it happens in site and context specific ways, but that doesn’t mean that each project… Continue reading 5.4.14


I just returned from a trip to Vancouver, Canada where I presented my work and took part in some discussions at the Purple Thistle and the Contemporary Art Gallery’s Field House with Broken City Lab. Carmen Papalia and Kristin Lantz organized and took part in the events. One of the participants who came and contributed… Continue reading 4.28.14


This is just a thought, not fully formed at all. I was talking to a professor of psychology the other day; he specifically works with PhD students who do research about the impacts of meditation and “mindfulness activities” on people who experience stress and trauma including police officers. It sounds really interesting in general, but… Continue reading 4.20.14


I’ve been asked many times for a short description for the term Art and Social Practice. There are various reasons why this is hard to produce, but maybe I’ll give it a try. It could be that it’s best to actually come up with a few different options. An aspect of Art and Social Practice,… Continue reading 4.13.14


When I was in graduate school developing my practice I was very interested in the possibilities of social engagement, but had few examples to model my work on. Back then, before the popularization of the internet, it was much harder to locate really current information, especially if it was about subjects outside of the mainstream.… Continue reading 4.6.14


There are a few different types of artist residencies that exist out there. One is the classic where artists go out to a natural type area so that they can “get away from it all” and concentrate on their work. Those places are nice, I’ve been to a few of them, but personally I spend… Continue reading 3.30.14


I recently had an idea for a way to attempt to level the playing field a bit between conventional, commercial, studio/gallery art and more socially engaged project based work. The commercial system dominates in so many ways that it makes alternative approaches hard to sometimes seem possible much less sustainable. Most art and artists are… Continue reading 3.22.14


I have very early collaborative impulse memories. I loved drawing on the same piece of paper with someone else and would often do that with my dad. I shared an improvised darkroom with a high school friend and we worked on each other’s prints. In my early years of college, at Humboldt State University, my… Continue reading 3.15.14


I have a long list of social practice related topics that I have discussed in class and informal situations for many years. I’ve been wanting to get my ideas about those topics down in writing, so I’m going to try to address them here. For some people these concepts will be very familiar, but for… Continue reading 3.8.14


Creating a new website took a long time. There were a number of factors (possibly excuses) at play. Since the last major posting on the old website I’ve become a parent, gone through several family deaths, started a MFA program, etc. etc. I also went through many different ambivalent feelings about my relationship to the… Continue reading 2.14.14