Imagine there is a snake in every painting 2017

Produced for Sarah Wolf Newlands' faculty office at Portland State University.

Sarah Wolf Newlands commissioned this installation for her office as a way to start conversations about the function of art during office hours with her first-year experience students at PSU. Sarah does a lot of work with students at the Portland Art Museum - asking them to look slowly, create site-specific performances related to the work there, etc. We worked together on various projects between 2014 and 2017, so I wanted to create a zine and installations using questions that came up for me during our work together (these questions are also featured as part of my book, Can art inspire me to think critically about...?

Excerpt from the zine produced for the exhibition:

"The following nearly unanswerable questions were derived from a project called, “Can art inspire me to think critically about…?” The questions came out of my experience working with first year students at Portland State University in the Portland Art Museum.

Through a series of assignments and workshops, we examined how a work of art or an exhibition can be viewed as a primary source document for understanding non-art related things about the world. We used the artwork at the museum as a starting point to discuss and reflect on topics like social justice, sustainability, government surveillance, police brutality, globalization, and politics more generally.

After our work in the museum, I posed these questions to ten Distinguished Socially-Engaged Art(ist) Educators—some of the most radical thinkers I know, and I asked them to respond with an essay. All of that information wound up in a book, available for purchase. Profits from the book go directly to a scholarship fund for student museum passes.

For this publication, I’ve created a new set of assignments in response to each question, sort of a circular exploration of things coming out of other things and inspiring new things; circular like a snake. These prompts can be completed by anyone at any art museum, and in designing these prompts, I’m borrowing from all kinds of artists and other people who are interested in institutional critique as part of their practice. I suggest trying out these ideas at the most conservative museum near you.

The prompts are inspired by these people and many others…Andrea Fraser, Paul Ramirez Jonas, Julie Ault, Harrell Fletcher, Miranda July, Molly Sherman, Erin Charpentier, Sarah Wolf Newlands, Lisa Jarrett, Ariana Jacob, Roya Amirsoleymani, Zoë Sessums, Yoko Ono, Stephanei Syjuco, Spencer Byrne-Seres, and Allison Knowles."