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Lecture – Mary Jane Jacob
Friday, March 19, 2010
In her lecture, Mary Jane Jacob will talk about her work: an intersection of artistic, curatorial, public, and community practices. It focuses on cultivating our capacity to widen our perceptions; it affects the ways artists conceive and present their art, the way audiences respond and reflect through art, and the way communities can imagine change. Deeply engaging the very processes of artmaking, she works with those who seek to bring art into direct relation with everyday life. At the heart of it all is a desire to advance the parameters of artists’ public practices and open up public expectations about who the audience is for contemporary art and just what is the art experience.
Mary Jane Jacob is a curator who holds the position of Professor in the Department of Sculpture and Executive Director of Exhibitions and Exhibition Studies at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. As chief curator of the Museums of Contemporary Art in Chicago and Los Angeles, she staged some of the first U.S. shows of American and European artists. Shifting her workplace from the museum to the street, she has critically engaged the discourse around public space. She first organized a major site-specific exhibition for the Spoleto Festival USA called “Places with a Past” in 1991. Returning to Charleston ten years later, she steered a number of artists-and-community projects for Spoleto from 2001-2008. In her recent anthologies, Buddha Mind in Contemporary Art (University of California Press, 2004) and Learning Mind: Experience into Art (University of California Press, 2009), she presents works by some of the artists shown in Charleston, among others, focusing on the relationship of art and audiences. Her new anthology is The Studio Reader: On the Space of Artists. (University of Chicago Press, 2010). In 2010, Jacob was awarded the Women’s Caucus for Art Lifetime Achievement Award and the Lifetime Award for Achievement in the Field of Public Art from Public Art Dialogue.