Relational (aesthetics)Aesthetic theory consisting in judging artworks on the basis of the inter-humanrelations which they represent, produce or prompt.Relational (art)A set of artistic practices which take as their theoretical and practical point ofdeparture the whole of human relations and their social contexts, rather thanan independent and private space.
FROM MASS ORNAMENT TO THE Encounters in the Socialverse: Community and Collaborative Art PracticesMASSES: THE SHIFT FROMRELATIONAL AESTHETICS TOSOCIAL AND PUBLIC PRACTICEDevelopments in Relational AestheticsImages left to right: Rirkrit Tiravanija, Exhibition View,Secession, 2002. Harrell Fletcher, Lawn Sculptures.Portland, Oregon, 2002.
Top left and right, installation views of Rirkrit Tiravanijas Untitled 1992 (Free) (re-created 2007).Above left and right, installation views of Untitled 1992 (Free) and a re-creation of Gordon Matta-Clarks1972 piece Open House (2007), all at David Zwirner Gallery.(Photo: Clockwise from bottom right, courtesy of David Zwirner/Gavin Browns Enterprise andRon Amstutz/David Zwirner/Gavin Browns Enterprise)
Social PracticesOverview: The Field of Social PracticesSocial practices incorporates art strategies as diverse as urban interventions, utopianproposals, guerrilla architecture, "new genre" public art, social sculpture, project-basedcommunity practice, interactive media, service dispersals, and street performance. Theﬁeld focuses on topics such as aesthetics, ethics, collaboration, persona, media strategies,and social activism, issues that are central to artworks and projects that cross into publicand social spheres. These varied forms of public strategy are linked critically throughtheories of relational art, social formation, pluralism, and democracy. Artists working withinthese modalities either choose to co-create their work with a speciﬁc audience or proposecritical interventions within existing social systems that inspire debate or catalyze socialexchange.
Social practice starts and ends not in rarified spaces, but out in theworld, although there are intersections with studios/galleries whennecessary or appropriate. Social practice is not restricted to anymedium, but instead uses various forms, methods, and approaches as thesituation dictates; any combination of media might be used in thecreation of a project. Sometimes social practice might look more likesociology, anthropology, social work, journalism, community outreach,or environmentalism than art, yet it retains the original intention ofcreating significance, engagement, and/or accountability between theaudience and artist more than conventional art does.There are as many possible projects as there are people and lifesituations to work with. In some ways a social practice artist is adocumentarian with agency. Instead of recording what is happening inthe world, the social practice artist is also affecting the world,setting things in motion, fostering connections between people, andorganizing everyday life so that it can be seen as engaging andmeaningful. In this way the artist becomes engaged on a new level withthe artists target audience as well as issues related to life.The new Art and Social Practice MFA at Portland State University is atwo year program that will educate and activate students to developand utilize their artistic skills to engage in society and transcendtraditional studio art paradigms. Students will learn about a varietyof working artists and non-artists who have engaged in civic activity,and will apply their knowledge and abilities to initiate, develop, andcomplete projects with the public - individuals, groups, andinstitutions. Collaboration is highly encouraged.-Harrell Fletcher
Graduate Public PracticeThe program, under the leadership of Suzanne Lacy, the renowned artist, educator,theorist of socially engaged public art and author of the inﬂuential Mapping the Terrain:New Genre Public Art, enriches an arts environment marked by a remarkable mix of artschools and a distinguished history of artistic innovation.Current students are working on a project in Californias San Joaquin Valley, centeredin Laton. The project is supported by a planning grant from the Ford Foundation, andfocuses on the environment (some of the worst air quality nationally), the poverty(some of the highest poverty and school drop-out rates nationally), the economics offood production (especially vis-a-vis ever-increasing energy prices), and the loss offarmland (which also impacts housing).
Students from the PSU Social Practice program, Otis Public Practice and CCA Social Practice participatingat a panel at the SFMoMA title Social Practice West.
Harrell FletcherStreet Selections2003The Drawing CenterNew York, NYA xerox publication called The Report. It is a template ﬁlled with dictated notes and drawings fromconversations Fletcher had with various interesting individuals. Each issue focuses on one person.For the Drawing Center show he exhibited ﬁfteen issues that were then reproduced and gave outfor free in both the gallery and in ﬁve neighborhood locations.
Otis College Public PracticeSan Joaquin Valley IntitiativeLed by Suzanne Lacey2009
There is No Two Without Three2008Published by the Social Practice MFA concentrationat the California College of the Arts