Course 2019-2020 a.y.


Department of Social and Political Sciences

Course taught in English
Go to class group/s: 31
CLEACC (6 credits - I sem. - OBS  |  L-ART/03)
Course Director:

Classes: 31 (I sem.)

Suggested background knowledge

Good oral and written command of English. Strong interest in the subject taught. Basic knowledge of keys artistic movements and practices that followed the World War II till the formation of the global artistic networks of the late 60s.

Mission & Content Summary


The course aims to introduce students to the complex historical intersection between art and educational practices in contemporary art. This relationship is thus considered as peculiar framework through which understanding languages ​​and forms of visual art, its contexts to the questions and knowledge they generate. How and why did – and still do –  artists look pedagogical tools and contexts (presentation / lecture / classroom / blackboard / slideshow etc., etc.) and borrowing forms and contents in their artistic practice? How far the interest of contemporary artists in educational and participatory projects did contribute to redefining the status of artwork and the role of the artist in society? How did and still does the institution respond to these changes? This course takes thus into consideration an historical framework moving from the Second Post-War to the present times considering the relation between artists, works and institutions in a thematic perspective. Topics addressed would consider question of materiality and immateriality of the artistic labour, authority and delegation, the clash between social aspects and institutional breakdown, always merging the historical discourse with the development of artistic practices.


The course is divided into three sections, each related to specific topics addressed 'amd' corroborated by a series of historical case studies.

  1. The first section is devoted to the theme of the artist's atelier, and more precisely to the artwork "in the studio" as a starting point for the production, circulation and reception of the idea.
  2. The second section focuses on Schools and Academies as contexts of relatoinships and interdisciplinariety where the condition of learning is affectinc the notion of art itself.  
  3. And then the thirds art continues with a selection of singular study cases that testify the transition from school (collective institution) to individual players (artists that run themselved schools as a form of art), with a peculiar concern on artists incorporating pedagogy as a “medium”. This third section is thus finally devoted to an open discussion on institutional systems  and museum studies approacing the historical transformation of an art institution from place for exhibiting towards center for learning. 

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILO)


At the end of the course student will be able to...
  • Appreciate and articulate the ability of artworks of any form to interrogate the way we teach and we learn.
  • Grasp the potential of artworks to convey the distinction between art, research and entertainment.
  • Understand the complex historicity of artwork –  and their changing meanings over time – as well as the role of the artist as active agent of social transformations.


At the end of the course student will be able to...
  • Approach artifacts beyond their aesthetic appeal, and examine them in relation to their cultural, social and political milieu.
  • Formulate critical arguments about the interconnection – and distinction –  between convey art, research and entertainment.
  • Problematize the changing forms of arts, its notion and the role of art institution as learning center.

Teaching methods

  • Face-to-face lectures
  • Guest speaker's talks (in class or in distance)
  • Company visits
  • Individual assignments
  • Group assignments


This course  combines traditional frontal teaching (lectures) with seminar-based activities and off-campus visits to relevant collections, art galleries, institutions and /or exhibtions.

  • Guest lectureres are invited to join the class presenting their reserach and methods in talks, dialogues or film screenings. 
  • The course is thus shaped paying attention to the individual experience, evaluation and re-elaboration of the contents proposed in the classroom.  
  • Image - based exercises and presentations ( both individual and in group) are assigned throught the course. Students are expected to participate in class discussions. 

Assessment methods

  Continuous assessment Partial exams General exam
  • Oral individual exam
  • Individual assignment (report, exercise, presentation, project work etc.)
  • Group assignment (report, exercise, presentation, project work etc.)
  • Active class participation (virtual, attendance)


Students are required to take final exam (100% of the grade). The exam is an oral individual exam. Students are asked to present a short paper (max 15 minutes, topic choosen during the course) followed by a discussion and a mix of open-ended and image-based questions. The exam is based on course readings, as well as on seminar materials, on site visits and discussions held in class. The exam aims to assess student’s engagement with the understanding of textual and visual evidence and their ability to interpret such evidence critically, showing and understanding new forms of arts and their effect in the politics of spectatorship as well as in the development of art institutions.   


Students are required to take final exam (100% of the grade). The exam is written, and students are asked to answer a mix of open-ended questions. The exam paper is based on reading list that students receive when they enter the course. The exam aims to assess student’s familiarity with the main issues addressed by the assigned readings; their ability to summarize and critically interpret the narratives and arguments advanced by those readings.

Teaching materials


Attending students are required to read a given selection of chapters taken from books and readings which includes:

  • C. BISHOP, Artificial Hells. Participatory art and the politics of spectatorships, Verso, London, New York, 2012 (any editions).
  • B. O’ DOHERTY, Inside the white cube (any edition).
  • READINGS (anthology given in class).


Non attendind students are required to read the following books:

  • C. BISHOP, Artificial Hells. Participatory art and the politics of spectatorships, Verso, London, New York, 2012 (any editions).
  • F. ALLEN (edited by), Education, MIT press, Whitechapel, Documents of contemporary Arts, 2011.
  • B. O’ DOHERTY, Inside the white cube (any edition)

One book from the list:

  • J. MILLER, M. KELLY, Educational Complex, Afterall Books, One work, MIT press, 2015.
  • D. DEZEUZE, T. HIRSCHHORN, Deleuze Monument, Afterall Books, One work, MIT press, 2014.
  • S. THORNE, School: A Recent History of Self-Organized Art Education, SternbergPress, 2017.
Last change 01/06/2019 15:40