Danh Vo, We The People, 2014. Photo: NML

Fall 2013 and Fall 2014
The Cooper Union

This course was survey of site-specificity in the context of New York art and art history and it relied heavily on class visits.

The first version of two similar courses aimed to locate the origin of the term “site-specific” historically in land art and minimalism, and then to track the way both the site and the artist’s responsive gesture to the site drifted from their initial meaning over the second half of the twentieth century. I split the syllabus between classroom discussion and off-campus excursions to site-specific work throughout New York City. We visited Thomas Hirschhorn’s Gramsci Monument in the Bronx—where we heard Frank B. Wilderson III speak about race—the Irish Hunger Memorial, the World Trade Center Memorial, Janet Cardiff’s installation The Forty Part Motet at the Cloisters Museum, and Pedro Reyes, The People’s UN (pUN) at the Queens Museums, among others.

The second version relied heavily on class visits including the African Burial Ground, the Memorial to Victims of the Injustice of the Holocaust at Madison Avenue, Walter de Maria’s New York Earth Room, Dream House, Danh Vo's We The People, Arturo Di Modica's Charging Bull, and Jeff Koons' Balloon Flower (Red). Theoretical and historical readings framed our analysis of "the site” and the following questions: is the site a physical place? An ideological context? Is it architecture or landscape? Can a public debate be a site? What is "community" if this is where an artwork is understood to be sited?

NOTE: There is very little on the site-specific murals in Harlem and the Bronx, graffiti in Brooklyn and Manhattan, or to self-organized cultural initiatives like community gardens and their art throughout New York in this syllabus. I now find the omission of this material irresponsible.

If you find this list useful, get in touch and tell me what you would edit or found lacking: natashallorens [at] gmail

Michael Fried, “Art and Objecthood” in Art and Objecthood: Essays and Reviews (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998)
Donald Judd, “Specific Objects,” Arts Yearbook 8 (1965): 74-82, repr. in Donald Judd, Complete Writings 1959-1975 (Halifax and New York: The Press of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and New York University Press, 1975), 181-189
Robert Morris, “Notes on Sculpture” in Continuous Project Altered Daily: The Writings of Robert Morris (Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, 1993)
Anna Chave, "Minimalism and the Rhetoric of Power" in Art in Modern Culture, ed. Francis Frascina and Jonathan Harris (New York: Harper Collins, 1992)
Philipp Kaiser and Miwon Kwon, Ends of the Earth: Land Art to 1974 (Los Angeles, California: The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, 2012)
Craig Owens, “Earthwords” in Beyond Recognition: Representation, Power, and Culture (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1992)
Robert Smithson and Nancy Holt, The Writings of Robert Smithson (New York, 1979)
Robert Smithson and Jack Flan, Robert Smithson: The Collected Writings (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996)
Rosalyn Deutsche, "The Art of Not Being Governed Quite so Much" in Hans Haacke ed., Rachel Churner (Cambridge, Massachusetts : The MIT Press, 2015): 165-184
Craig Owens, "From Work to Frame" in Beyond Recognition: Representation, Power, and Culture (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1992)
Daniel Buren, Five Texts (New York: John Weber Gallery, 1973)
Miwon Kwon, "Sitings of Public Art: Integration Versus Intervention," in Alternative Art, New York, 1965-1985 : a Cultural Politics Book for the Social Text Collective (New York: Drawing Center; Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2002)
Brian Gibson, “What Childhood Films are These?”
Albert Lamorisse, Red Balloon (1956) 35 minutes
Henri Lefebvre, The Production of Space (Oxford, OX, UK: Blackwell, 1991) (excerpts)
James Young, The Counter-Monument: Memory against Itself in Germany Today (Chicago : University of Chicago, 1992)
Theodore Adorno, "What does Coming to Terms with the Past Mean?" in Geoffrey H. Hartman, Bitburg in Moral and Political Perspective (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1986)
Pierre Nora, trans. by Marc Roudebush, ‘Between Memory and History: Les Lieux de Memoire’, Representations 26, Special Issue: Memory and Counter-Memory, Spring, 1989, 13
Rosalyn Deutsche, “Uneven Development” in Evictions: Art and Spatial Politics (Chicago, Ill: Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, 1996)
Miwon Kwon, “The Un-Siting of Community” in One Place After Another: Site-specific Art and Locational Identity (Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, 2002)
Grant H. Kester, "Aesthetic Evangelists: Conversion and Empowerment in Contemporary Community Art" in Afterimage 22 (January 1995)
Chantal Mouffe, “Artistic Activism and Agonistic Spaces,” Art & Research: A Journal of Ideas, Contexts and Methods, Vol. 1, No. 2 (Summer 2007): 4
James Meyer, “The Functional Site; or, The Transformation of Site Specificity” in Erika Suderburg, Space, Site, Intervention: Situating Installation Art (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2000)
Jane McFadden, “Towards Site” in Grey Room, 1, no. 27 (2007): 36-57
Dominique Laporte, Christo. (New York: Pantheon Books, 1986)
Christo and Lawrence Alloway. Christo (New York: Abrams, 1970)
Rosalyn Deutsche, “Louise Lawler's Rude Museum” in Louise Lawler and Helen A. Molesworth, Twice Untitled and Other Pictures (looking Back) (Columbus, Ohio: Wexner Center for the Arts, Ohio State University, 2006)
Helen Molesworth, "Work Stoppages: Mierle Laden-nan Ukeles' Theory of Labor Value." Documents, no. 10 (Fall 1977): 19-22
Mierle Laderman Ukeles, “Maintenance Art Manifesto” (1969)
Miwon Kwon, “One Place After Another” October Vol. 80 (Spring, 1997), pp. 85-110
Shannon Jackson, "Introduction" in Social Works: Performing Art, Supporting Publics (New York: Routledge, 2011)