Skip to Gallatin Navigation Skip to Gallatin Main Content

Arts of Intervention: Social Practices in Public Spaces

Semester and Year SP 2017
Course Number ELEC-GG2601
Section 001
Instructor Mark Read
Days T
Time 6:20 PM - 9:00 PM
Units 4
Level G


Open to advanced undergraduates with permission of the instructor (


The contemporary art world is replete with artists that perform or install works in public spaces as a method of provoking critical dialogue about the social, political, and economic conditions that shape modern life. In this course, you will engage with the emerging field of social practice: socially oriented research and practice by artists that includes but is not limited to urban interventions, utopian proposals, guerrilla architecture, “new genre” public art, social sculpture, project-based community practice, interactive media, service dispersals, street performance, and social media. This course examines how the idea of public space has evolved over time, up to and including considerations of virtual public space. In this course we will consider artists as members of society who intervene in and create structures of participation, frequently with the intention of changing the actual, economic and political conditions that construct social reality. We will research and produce projects about complex social sites of power like The Classroom, The Library, The Newspaper, The Walk, The Lecture, The Potluck, The Road Trip, The Party, The Salon, and The Community Center. Students will examine and discuss the work of contemporary artists such as The Guerilla Girls, Krysztof Wodiczco, The Yes Men, Martha Rosler, Rick Lowe and Suzanne Lazy. We will read and discuss the work of authors such as Lucy Lippard, Shannon Jackson, Clare Bishop, Henri Lefebvre, Guy Debord, Pablo Helguera, Nato Thompson, Greg Sholette and Grant Kester.


All Syllabi

Course Type

Graduate Electives (ELEC-GG)