This year-long seminar will explore the intersections of several modes of writing -- critical (evaluative), creative, functional -- that pertain to the world of contemporary art and culture. In the first semester the students will study modes of writing that relate to art: art-historical writing, art-critical writing, literary and especially experimental writing, functional writing (e.g. the press release, the artist's statement, grant writing). And students will keep some sort of journal or account of their own writing in response to visits to galleries, installations, performances, films, dance, theatre, etc. In the second semester, students will begin to work closely with the ICA's professional design staff on a publication project that will be created and designed to highlight the varieties of ways in which writers-about-art do their work. The working thesis serving as the basis of this magazine project is: Culture can be known through art, and perhaps vice versa; and writing is the conduit to this knowledge. The purpose of the course itself is to teach the diversity of ways people write about art and to underscore the idea that even the most experimental or "difficult" art is not separate from culture. (The course will continue, as English 166, in the spring semester of 2006--meeting at the same time and place.)
Students interested in taking the course should email Kenny Goldsmith a one- or two-paragraph statement describing why they want to be involved in this project and what academic (or perhaps non-academic) experience makes them especially eligible. Enrollment is by permission of the instructor.