Hyde Park Art Center welcomes back artist Jim Duignan to expand on his previous work at the Art Center highlighting art and education in the city in PUBLIC SCHOOL on view in Gallery 1 and 2. Duignan, of the Stockyard Institute, works collaboratively with artist and educator Rachel Harper, of Seen + Heard to create a imagination-inducing installation of curious objects – including a fort, a stage, a tower, a piano, and a decommissioned school bus – to construct a new playground for all ages. At a moment when the Public Education System struggles to exist, Chicago artists ask: where is learning actually happening in this city and who gets to determine what we should know?
Over the four-month long run of the exhibition, the installation will be added to and activated by interdisciplinary projects from progressive Chicago-based artists and educators: Jacinda Bullie, William Estrada, Jaquanda Villegas, and Irina Zadov. “The space is a trigger for meaning,” explains Harper, “but it is completed when it is operationalized by the public, and it relies on neighborhood logic to rearrange its parts into a more useful whole.” Weekly workshops, classes, performances and talks will take place on Tuesdays and Saturdays in the gallery and in offsite locations across the Chicago vicinity. A calendar of daily events on the website will allow for the public to sign up to “teach” what they determine is important to being an educated person.
The opening of PUBLIC SCHOOL marks the 10th anniversary of Duignan’s 2007 exhibition, Pedagogical Factory, a highly interactive exhibition that engaged national and international artists, theorists and collaboratives including The Center for Urban Pedagogy (New York), rum46 (Denmark), Think Tank (Philadelphia), Artlink (UK) and AREA Chicago. The Art Center acted as a hub for research, lively discussion, free school supply exchanges, radio broadcasts and much more. PUBLIC SCHOOL assesses the development of art education ten years later by including weekly free programming with a particular focus on the work being done in Chicago to develop informal, self-taught, vocational, and even “unschooled” modes of education.
photos by Lauren Meranda