Gregory Sholette

In an interview concerning his founding of  the collective, Political Art Documentation/Distribution, Gregory laments his experience at Cooper Union in the mid-seventies. “The importance of feminism and performance art was not felt in art schools at the time because second-generation abstract expressionists still dominated these institutions for the most part” (c-m-l.org). These problems served as a jumping point for his future politically based projects. In fact, it seems that all of Gregory’s work deals, at least in some way, with pointing out problems with the system.

He’s the former chair of Arts Administration at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Curator of Education at the New Museum of Contemporary Art, the co-editor of Collectivism After Modernism: The Art of Social Imagination after 1945 and The Interventionists: A Users Manual for the Creative Disruption of Everyday Life, and the founder of REPOhistory and previously mentioned PAD/D. He often collaborates with Janet Koenig.

PAD/D, active from 1980-88, is a  NYC based left-leaning artists’  resource and networking organization aiming to connect artists with society in order to demonstrate the political effectiveness of image making. REPOhistory, active from 1989-2000, is an artist collective that produced six major collaborative public projects in major cities like New York and Atlanta. Their stated goal is to “retrieve and relocate absent historical narratives at specific locations in the New York City area through counter-monuments, actions, and events” (repohistory.org).  The work produced is primarily in the form of street signs or public posters with a tendency to somewhat satirically poke at major political issues like gentrification, women’s and immigrants’ rights, and police brutality.

cdStreetArtcdGentrification

His personal work contains similar themes. His garage kits are small edition sculptures of social figures like arts chairman Frank Hodsoll sold for home assembly. These models aim to blend the sentiments of commercial use and DIY art making to make social critiques that vary in focus.

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The Stigmata of Degeneracy is a shadow box with the text of a early 20th century court testimony over the forced sterilization of declared mentally unstable men and women. Science at the time dictated that ear shape could determine the unfit mental or physical state of a human. Thus inside the box are those ears which would not have made the cut. The first showing was in 1992 as part of a REPOhistory exhibition.01

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Gregory Sholette

  1. just one important addendum to my personal experience in art school at The Cooper Union in the late 1970s: please note that I was very fortunate to have had the artist Hans Haacke as an instructor, his presence at the school was an exception to what was otherwise in many ways still a very formalist approach to the teaching of art at that time. Also, please note that the REPOhistory signs reproduced above (the first two images from top to bottom) were designed by artists George Spencer and Ming Mur-Ray respectively, while the bottom two images are of my own art work. – gs

  2. Katy

    Another little known fact – PSU’s Pat Boas worked on the L.A. version of PAD/D for a while.

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