Creative Time's Living as Form: 20 Years, Over 100 Artists and Projects, 25 Curators, 6 New Commissions, 3 Public Talks
Living as Form

Living as Form is an unprecedented project that explores over 20 years of cultural works that blur the forms of art and everyday life, and emphasize participation, dialogue, community engagement, and activism around social issues. Living as Form provides a historical look at these socially engaged alternative practices, and the role artists have played in reshaping our world. Presented by New York City-based public art presenter Creative Time, the project brings together 25 curators, document over 100 artists projects in a survey exhibition at the historic Essex Street Market building, create six new social based commissions throughout the Lower East Side, hold three public talks, and culminate with a book that addresses this complex field of cultural production.


The Exhibition

The 15,000 square-foot Essex Street Market building in the Lower East Side of Manhattan will serve as the base for Living as Form from September 23-October 16, 2011. It will house the archival exhibition—a vast collection of twenty years of socially engaged art projects and actions from around the globe—as well as play host to a series of events and performances, and offer dynamic areas for artists and collectives to work in residence for brief periods on installations and collaborations throughout the show. The Living as Form archival exhibition will feature 140 projects assembled in consultation with a wide array of curatorial advisors, including Caron Atlas, Negar Azimi, Ron Bechet, Claire Bishop, Brett Bloom, Rashida Bumbray, Carolina Caycedo, Ana Paula Cohen, Common Room, Teddy Cruz, Gridthiya Gaweewong, Hou Hanru, Stephen Hobbs and Marcus Neustetter, Shannon Jackson, Maria Lind, Chus Martínez, Sina Najafi, Marion von Osten, Ted Purves, Raqs Media Collective, Gregory Sholette, Superflex, Christine Tohme, Bik Vanderpol, and Sue Bell Yank. Collected over the course of a year, the materials will produce a complex chronology that spans geographic as well as interdisciplinary terrain. The exhibition will be on view September 16-October 16, 2011 at the historic Essex Street Market building in the Lower East Side of Manhattan.


The Commissions

Living as Form offers an opportunity to experience six "living" commissioned artist projects, located in the Lower East Side. Carolina Caycedo, Surasi Kusolwong, Superflex, Temporary Services, Time/Bank (Julieta Aranda and Anton Vidokle), and Bik Van der Pol will each produce a project embodying some of the key tenets of socially engaged art. Following a period of research for the artists, these commissions will operate out of multiple fixed locations and will run throughout the exhibition.

The Talks

A series of three public talks will offer an opportunity for artists and audiences to raise key questions and further discussion around this complex field of cultural production through a variety of programming and events, including three free public talks leading up to the exhibition. Featured speakers include Claire Bishop, Associate Professor in the Ph.D. Program in Art History at The Graduate Center, The City University of New York, on May 18th, art critic, cultural theorist and activist Brian Holmes on June 30th, and Living as Form Curator Nato Thompson on August 2nd. Each talk will be followed by a Q&A moderated by Mariam Ghani, artist and teacher at The Cooper Union School of Art, Yates McKee, critic, and Doug Ashford, artist, activist and Associate Professor at The Cooper Union School of Art, respectively. The talks will be held in the Rose Auditorium at The Cooper Union School of Art, and are free and open to the public.

The Creative Time Summit

Audiences are invited to engage with some of the international artists behind projects in the Living as Form archive at the third annual Creative Time Summit, which kicks off the exhibition's opening weekend on September 23th. A conference bringing together cultural producers to discuss how their work engages pressing issues affecting our world, the Summit will include participants ranging from art world luminaries to those purposefully obscure, and will provide a glimpse into an evolving community concerned with the political implications of socially engaged art.

The Book

The project will culminate in a book, published by Creative Time Books in partnership with MIT Press, that will highlight projects from the exhibition archive, and feature transcripts of the three talks, as well as commissioned essays from noted critics and theorists in the field. Detailing some of the most important socially engaged art works over the last twenty years, this catalogue will provide key examples of projects that allow insights into methodologies, contextualize the conditions of site, and broaden the range of what constitutes this form. The publication marks the first time a book has been published surveying this participatory art form.