Dear families! Please join us for a day of art workshops for children between 5 and 12-years-old, led by artist and educator, Gabo Camnitzer.
In the workshop Camnitzer will be engaging children in a discussion about different forms of abstraction – from abstract forms to abstract ideas. Participating children will be cutting abstract shapes out of fabric that enact different abstract concepts.
As part of the workshop children will have the choice of contributing to Camnitzer’s installation, Evil Shapes, which will be included in the upcoming exhibition, Queens International 2018: Volumes, opening October 7, 2018. Children who wish to contribute will be asked to cut a non-representational shape that somehow exemplifies evil to them, out of a large piece of fabric. The shapes will then be available for viewers to interact with as part of Camnitzer’s installation, over the course of the exhibition. Contributing children will have their names appear as collaborators in the final installation.
The workshop will take place in the Skylight Gallery if the museum. Each session will last approximately 30 minutes. Sessions will be running from 11am – 3:45pm and kids can sign up on site.
More information on the project:
“Evil Shapes,” is looking at the ways we as a society think about evil, and how we talk to our children about it. The point of departure of the project is the issue that children are seldom given a chance to participate in broader discussions of the political and discursive structures that shape their lives. This is particularly true with respect to questions of “evil” since we as adults understandably wish to protect them from painful and traumatic discussions. In this work I’m questioning if in shielding children, we may merely be socially reproducing an inability to make sense of such acts considered “evil,” in nuanced and complex ways. Our inability as a society to view acts of extreme antisocial violence as the effects of larger political and cultural factors, and thus to fully counteract them, has numerous origins, but many of them might be traced to how we conceptualize childhood. Notions of the child and childhood are so wrapped up in innocence and moral purity that we often become unable to view children as contextualized ethical and social agents, capable of immense cruelty, as well as kindness. That we often strip children who exhibit evil-like tendencies of their claim to childhood, is more a means of keeping our construction of childhood intact, than trying to understand the behavior of children. One of the reasons we find it so upsetting when children exhibit behavior that denotes evil, is that it short-circuits a simplistic moralistic mode of viewing social life. It forces us to confront the inadequacy of how we represent the individual in society. Maybe evil, as a signifier, only provides an alibi for something much more difficult to confront, an inability to locate discrete antisocial acts as the effects of larger social and political currents. With this work I’m asking if the youngest among us, before internalizing dichotomies of individual and society, and good and evil, can offer us guidance on these matters.
More information about Gabo Camnitzer:
Gabo Camnitzer is Assistant Professor of Professional Practice at the School of the Arts, Columbia University. He earned an MFA from Valand Academy, Gothenburg, Sweden, was a research fellow at the Royal Institute of Art, Stockholm, and attended the Whitney Independent Study Program. He has presented his work internationally, including at Artists Space, New York, NY; Exit Art, New York, NY; Tenthaus, Oslo, Norway; GfZK Leipzig, Germany; Bonniers Konsthall, Stockholm, Sweden; and GCAS, Melbourne, Australia. Camnitzer sits on the editorial board of the art journal, Paletten.
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