Throughout its hundred-year history, The New School has commissioned works by artists relevant to our times as a vital part of the institution’s commitment to promote learning through aesthetic experimentation and radical creative practice.
The New School Art Collection and Parsons Curatorial Design Research Lab (CDRL) present a print and digital publication project that re-evaluates thirteen extraordinary site-specific works commissioned by The New School from 1930 to the present.
Published to coincide with The New School’s Centennial, the book, I Stand in My Place with My Own Day Here: Site-Specific Art at The New School and this website, represent the first comprehensive overview of The New School Art Collection’s site-specific works.
Serving as an extended resource for additional archival and pedagogical materials as well as other media, this website promotes opportunities for a deeper exploration of The New School Art Collection, foregrounding the university’s continued engagement with art as a valuable catalyst for dialogue, learning and activism.
About the Book
I Stand in My Place with My Own Day Here: Site-Specific Art at The New School features essays by more than fifty renowned authors considering thirteen works commissioned by The New School from 1930 to the present for its university campus. The New School’s Art Collection—ranking among the finest site-specific pieces in New York City—range from mural commissions by José Clemente Orozco to installations by Agnes Denes, Kara Walker, Alfredo Jaar, Glenn Ligon, Sol LeWitt, and Martin Puryear + Michael Van Valkenburgh. The book’s suggestive title is taken from Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, as quoted by Glenn Ligon in his artwork For Comrades and Lovers (2015). Alluding to the ways in which a piece’s meaning shifts according to a viewer’s perspective, this title—and the book as a whole—suggest that each generation has an opportunity to redefine a work’s meaning.
Providing a kaleidoscopic view onto major works by celebrated global artists, this richly illustrated volume explores each installation through a collection of texts contributed by critics, poets, and scholars from diverse fields, including anthropology, mathematics, art history, media studies, and design. These polyvocal texts are further complemented by longer essays reflecting on the art-historical significance of the site-specific commissions, the architectural contexts in which the works reside on the university’s campus, and the history of The New School and its relationship to adventurous art practice.
Analysis and insight come from acclaimed voices including Holland Cotter, Aruna D’Souza, Lucy R. Lippard, Reinhold Martin, Maggie Nelson, Olu Oguibe, Hugh Raffles, Claudia Rankine, Carl Hancock Rux, Luc Sante, Edward J. Sullivan, Wendy S. Walters, Mabel O. Wilson, and others. Also included is a roundtable discussion among leading arts educators who reflect on the pedagogical potential of a campus-based contemporary art collection. The book’s final section presents a history of each commissioned work, highlighted by archival images—some never-before shared. Award-winning designer Barbara Glauber of Heavy Meta studio designed the book.
About The New School Art Collection
The mission of The New School Art Collection is to advance the importance of art as an agent for personal and collective transformation. As a curricular resource for all areas of study, the collection conserves, interprets, and presents works of art to the students, faculty, and greater community. New acquisitions support the vision of the university as an environment for innovative thinking and artistic experimentation.
History of the Collection
The university’s legacy of supporting the freedom of artistic expression began in 1931 with the commissioning of two historically significant mural cycles: José Clemente Orozco’s A Call for Revolution and Table of Universal Brotherhood and Thomas Hart Benton’s epic America Today. Over the years, the university has hosted a roster of accomplished artists, writers, dancers, designers, historians, social scientists, and philosophers, creating a flourishing laboratory for experimentation and innovation. As an institution that embraced such diverse figures as poet Robert Frost, anthropologist Margaret Mead, art historian Meyer Schapiro, and composer/conceptual artist John Cage, The New School has always stood at the forefront of self-discovery and visionary social, intellectual, and aesthetic experimentation.
The New School Art Collection was established in 1960 with a grant from the Albert A. List Foundation. Albert List and his wife Vera, a life trustee, were dedicated patrons of the arts and of The New School. In addition to their generous donation of art, the Lists endowed the university with a commitment to art, both as a means of intellectual and aesthetic experimentation and as an agent in addressing the salient social and political issues of our time.
The collection, now grown to approximately 2,500 postwar and contemporary works of art, includes examples in almost all media by some of the most innovative and creative artists of our time. Installed throughout the university campus and transforming the public spaces into lively forums for examining contemporary art, the collection offers students and faculty a rare opportunity to engage with art on a daily basis, making it a distinctive component of their educational experience. The collection has continued its tradition of incorporating site-specific works into its public spaces. In addition to commissioned works by artists such as Sol LeWitt, Dave Muller, Martin Puryear, Brian Tolle, and Kara Walker, four recent site-specific commissions by Agnes Denes, Alfredo Jaar, Glenn Ligon, and Rita McBride have been installed in the University Center at 63 Fifth Avenue. A newly commissioned multi-venue site-specific work by Andrea Geyer will be installed in late fall 2019.
About Parsons Curatorial Design Research Lab
The mission of the Curatorial Design Research Lab at Parsons School of Design is to create new opportunities for The New School community to engage in research towards designing innovative curatorial platforms that generate trans-disciplinary learning opportunities, provoke critical and cross-cultural public dialogues about the function of visual and material culture in contemporary daily life, and ultimately inspire “hands-on” participatory design projects that aim to effect change within local and global communities.
About the Lab
The Curatorial Design Research Lab is formed by individual members whose affiliations include The New School Art Collection, Sheila C. Johnson Design Center, Kellen Design Archives, The New School Archives & Special Collections, the Vera List Center for Art and Politics, the Skybridge Curatorial Project, select Parsons’ graduate programs, and Eugene Lang College’s Visual Studies Program.
All Lab members work in tandem with Parsons and New School faculty, students from multidisciplinary academic programs, as well as a range of significant cultural venues and diverse communities throughout the world. Dedicated to deepening our collective understanding of visual and material culture’s capacity to transform global socio-political conditions, Lab collaborators generate and exchange scholarly research, institutional resources and multidisciplinary expertise to design coordinated curatorial platforms.