Night School

Night School

Artist: Anton Vidokle

Night School is an artist commission in the form of a temporary school. For this project, artist Anton Vidokle is organizing a yearlong program of monthly seminars and workshops that use the Museum as a site to shape a critically engaged public through art discourse. Night School is comprised of eleven seminars organized around three thematic tracks. The program begins with three series of seminars, workshops and film/video screenings conducted by Boris Groys, Martha Rosler and Liam Gillick that examines progressive cultural practices. During the spring and summer months, the focus of the program turns to artistic agency today, and includes seminars with Walid Raad & Jalal Toufic, Paul Chan, Maria Lind and Owkui Enwezor. The fall program considers self-organization in the field of cultural production, presenting seminars and workshops with Rirkrit Tiravanija, Zhang Wei and Hu Fang, Natascha Sadr Haghighian and Raqs Media Collective. All topics will be addressed from the perspective of ongoing research and production, and as such will constitute the core structure of the school. Lectures, screenings, and conversations will take place in the New Museum theater, the 5th Floor Museum as Hub space, and informal locations throughout the local neighborhood. Night School takes place on the last weekend (Thursday-Sunday) of each month, January 2008 through January 2009.*

In the tradition of free universities, many of Night School’s events are open to all those interested to take part. A core group of 25 participants will be selected by application, to participate in additional private workshops and discussions, and will be offered complimentary New Museum membership for one year. The Night School is now accepting applications from cultural producers including visual artists, architects, writers, filmmakers, journalists, curators, composers, performers, and others who can commit to participating in the full program throughout the year. Accepted participants will be expected to attend all monthly seminars and be present in New York for the duration of the project.

Night School is the second in a series of art projects organized around a temporary school format and initiated by Anton Vidokle. Vidokle initiated research into education as site for artistic practice for Manifesta 6, which was cancelled. In response to the cancellation, Vidokle set up an independent project in Berlin called Unitednationsplaza—a twelve-month project involving more than a hundred artists, writers, philosophers, and diverse audiences. Located behind a supermarket in East Berlin, UNP’s program featured numerous seminars, lectures, screenings, book presentations and projects including the Martha Rosler Library.

Anton Vidokle
Night School, 2008-09
Monthly weekend seminars; wood, chairs, books, seminar documentation on DVD, televisions, DVD players, refrigerator, and house plant
Courtesy the artist

For “Six Degrees,” Vidokle presents a station of texts and documentation of previous Night School seminars while additional seminars continue in the Museum theater. Compiling the group of local and international artists, writers, and theorists that have led seminars, the titles includes philosophy, art theory, fiction, and a range of other resources related to the core ideas examined in the seminars: leftist politics, artistic agency, and self-organization. Visitors also have an opportunity to view the previous seminars in their entirety. An extension of the seminar series, Vidokle offers an inviting environment created from found objects and including domestic elements in which to engage with the ideas of Night School. Sharing information and the resulting discourse around these ideas is at the core of Vidokle’s project.

*Please note, all programs subject to change without notice. Up to date information will be available at www.museumashub.org.

Banner image
Benji Okuda instructing a life drawing class, an adult night school group at the Heart Mountain Relocation Center, Heart Mountain, Wyoming.
Courtesy of the National Archives, Records of the War Relocation Authority, 1941-1947