Spring 2018 X-Studio: Making Bodies: Artistic Production, Identity, and Embodiment – Gordon Hall

Making Bodies: Artistic Production, Identity, and Embodiment

Gordon Hall

Tuesdays 12:10 PM

PSAM 3702A

Martine Syms Incense Sweaters & Ice, (video still) 2017 Video (color, sound), 75 minutes

In this interdisciplinary seminar we will push ourselves to think deeply about bodies. What do we mean when we talk about “the body”? What are the points of intersection between the physicality of bodies and the immaterial realms of identity, beliefs, and cultural norms? Through readings, interdisciplinary studio projects, and written explorations we will explore the power, peril, and possibilities of living as embodied beings and makers. We will focus on artistic production and art history in order to probe the myriad ways that bodies can “appear” in art, seeking the presence of bodies beyond representation alone. Of particular interest will be the various ways that the discipline of sculpture has taken up these questions about bodies, embodiment, and identity. The course will be segmented into four units: “Discursive Bodies” explores theories of the body as an historical artifact, constituted through language and social practices in which gender, sexuality, and race emerge as historically specific and ever evolving categories. “Ritual Bodies” unpacks theories of gender performativity, with a focus on performativity’s reliance on ritualized reiteration of norms or counter-norms. In an effort to broaden our understandings of ritual as it relates to the body, we will also look at theories of religious ritual as an embodied material practice. The third unit, “Real Bodies/Virtual Bodies,” will examine discussions of virtuality in relation to bodies and identities and the ways that emerging digital and networked technologies have inspired alternative understandings of what it means to have or be a body. Finally, “Bodies and Pleasures,” will explore theories of social change in relation to embodiment, especially as they hinge on discussions of pleasure and fantasy. The course will culminate in a substantial creative project informed by the explorations from the course.

Gordon Hall makes sculptures and performances that have been exhibited and performed at Sculpture Center, in LIC, Brooklyn Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Whitney Museum of American Art, Movement Research, EMPAC, Art in General, Temple Contemporary, Night Club Chicago, Kent Fine Art, Foxy Production, Hessel Museum at Bard College, White Columns, Wysing Arts Centre, Abrons Arts Center, and Chapter NY, among others. Hall’s first institutional solo show will take place at the MIT List Center for Visual Arts in the spring of 2018, and Hall will be in residence at the Brodsky Center for Books and Editions at Rutgers University in the winter of 2017. As the organizer of the Center for Experimental Lectures, Gordon Hall has launched lecture and performance programs at MoMA PS1, Recess, Interstate Projects, The Shandaken Project at Storm King Art Center, and at the Whitney Museum of American Art, producing a series of lectures and seminars in conjunction with the 2014 Whitney Biennial. Hall’s writings and interviews have been featured in a variety of publications including V Magazine, Randy, Bomb, Title Magazine, Walker Art Center’s Artist Op-Ed Series, What About Power? Inquiries Into Contemporary Sculpture (published by SculptureCenter, 2015), Documents of Contemporary Art: Queer (published by Whitechapel and MIT Press, 2016), and Theorizing Visual Studies (Routledge, 2012). Hall was awarded a LMCC Process Space Residency, a Triangle Arts Foundation Residency, the LMCC Workspace Residency, and attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, ACRE, and the Fire Island Artist Residency. Hall holds an MFA and an MA in Visual and Critical Studies from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.