Posted by: Jeff Edwards | April 23, 2013

This Thursday from 5 to 8 pm: Mapping Thinking Spaces at 133 West 21st Street

MTS poster

This Thursday, April 25th from 5 to 8 p.m., the Visual & Critical Studies Department will present Mapping Thinking Spaces, a one-night-only exhibition of site-specific work by 1st, 2nd, and 3rd year VCS students, curated by VCS juniors Lily Lewis, Berny Tan, and Justine Wong. The exhibition will take place in room 404C on the fourth floor of 133 West 21st Street, at the same time as the 2013 VCS open studios, which I wrote about in the previous post.

Here is a little more information about Mapping Thinking Spaces, quoted from the show’s press release (you can download the entire document at this link):

One of the smaller classrooms on the floor, 404C presents specific spatial constraints unique to the classroom environment. As such, the curators have created an exhibition structure that allows the artists to respond to both these architectural characteristics and the knowledge production they accommodate. In doing so, they have chosen to eschew their conventional responsibilities of artwork selection and arrangement, and instead exert their authority through a form of legislation.

Each artist was asked to submit a proposal for a work that would allude to a larger space than that provided, as well as complete an accompanying questionnaire about their art school experience. The pages of the proposals were scanned and posted on the exhibition’s Tumblr in order of submission date, establishing a chronological map of the then hypothetical exhibition. This parallels the class syllabi each SVA student receives at the beginning of each class, which anticipates the entire semester but cannot possibly foresee how it will actually progress. Artists were encouraged to read and review each other’s proposals, perhaps modify their proposals in order to embark on any collaborative works, and work around cases where different artists proposed to use the same space.

The installation, taking place in a functioning classroom, naturally had to accommodate the scheduled classes. Thus, the artists were given a 24-hour window to install their work through an incremental schedule mirroring SVA’s process of class registration. The more senior the student and the better his or her grades are, the more time they had for installation. The artists also had to work around a class that was happening in the room on the day of the event. Through this staggered installation schedule, the classroom accumulated a form of creative spatial memory that the artists had to work around, suggesting the communal nature of the shared classroom environment.

As mentioned above, the curators have also set up a dedicated tumblr for Mapping Thinking Spaces, which you can find at

For more information or inquiries, please contact the curators by e-mail at

We hope to see you there.

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