Art as Knowing


University of Minnesota
West Bank Arts Quarter
Regis Center for Art
Barbara Barker Center
for Dance

Free and open to the public


Schedule (PDF)

Art as Knowing:

A Public Conversation About Art, Ideas and Practice

This symposium begins with the presumption that art is a way of knowing integral to a wide range of disciplinary inquiry and cultural production.  Artistic practice is itself an epistemology.  Henry James's quip, "How can I know what I think until I read what I write?" resonates with practitioners of many disciplines.  Yet it has a particular relevance in arts disciplines, which are premised on processual, material, embodied engagements with a problem, in which "thought" does not precede but is produced in and by this process of engagement. What does art making reveal about knowing and creative practices generally?

Art disciplines could be thought of as privileged sites in which experiment can occur without either hypothesis or practical application. Artistic practices can foster radical methods and produce speculative or unsanctioned knowledges, and function as spaces in which to reconsider what we mean by and do with knowledge itself. This processual mode of inquiry is not peculiar to the arts. Its commonality to other endeavors provides the basis for a cross-disciplinary discussion in which artistic communities play a central rather than an ancillary role. 

Although terms like "creativity" and "process" have entered the corporate world fetishistically, one of art's great strengths remains artists’ relative control over their own work. Art objects and processes are studied in a range of fields such as neurology, psychology, psychoanalysis, anthropology, sociology, history, education, medicine and philosophy. Some of these disciplines have also begun to experiment with artistic practices as methodological models. Art is at the core of human culture and as such deserves a primary place in the discussion.

Some speculations the Art as Knowing symposium will explore include: