Shannon Stratton and Ben Fain
SCULPT 648 001/Art History 623 001
3 credit hours, 2 weeks
Party As Form takes the history of celebration as its point of departure for a class that blends cultural theory with current experiments in curating, social practice and performance. Through a combination of readings, discussions and deployment, students will study the history, aesthetics, labor and conventions for parties from the intimate to the public, religious to the secular. Designed as a theory and practice art history class, Party As Form challenges participants to experience Ox-Bow, a site for gathering, community, participation and production, through the lens of readings in sociology, cultural and art theory on ideas that critically address the event, celebration or party as the gathering, hosting and cultivating of a group. Topics include: liminality, community, formation of publics, spectacle, utopias, leisure, play and ecstasy. Class consists of a combination of reading and discussion, lectures and presentations alongside projects that anchor discussion through interpretation, conceptualization and the full design and hosting of on-site events. Students taking the course for Art History credit write critical and/or scholarly papers that locate their party or event within the context of contemporary art and art history. Students taking the course for Sculpture credit will be required to design, fabricate, and implement objects and scenarios that relate to the directives of the course. Party forms may include: weddings, raves, galas, Cinco de Mayo, parades, tea parties, debutante balls, masquerades, bar mitzvahs, Mardi Gras, New Years Eve, Chinese New Year, 4th of July, Bastille Day, Burning Man, sleepovers and more.
NOTE: SAIC students must have already taken Art History 1001 & 1002 in order to enroll in this course.
- Shannon Stratton -
Shannon Stratton is the Chief Curator at the Museum of Arts and Design. She was the founder and then Executive Director of Threewalls from 2003-2012. Her practice spans curating, organization building, writing prose and poetry and a past as a fiber artist and T-shirt designer.
- Ben Fain -
Ben Fain (American, born London 1980, lives New York) is best known for his public performances and films involving parade floats as allegorical sculptures. His parades and parade floats have been deployed in diverse communities around the country. Ben received his MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 2008. He has been awarded a Joan Mitchell Foundation Residency Grant, as well as a NEA grant (with collaborators Dos Pestaneos). Fain co–ran Alogon Gallery, an independent artist–run space in Chicago. He recently taught the self–designed course “The Parade Float as Guerrilla Art,” through Northwestern University’s Department of Art Theory and Practice.