I Stand in My Place with My Own Day Here: Site-Specific Art at The New School features essays by more than 50 internationally renowned writers, considering thirteen monumental works of art commissioned by The New School between 1930 and the present. Forming the nucleus of The New School’s Art Collection, these wall-works and objects—which rank among the finest site-specific pieces in New York City—range from mural commissions by José Clemente Orozco and Thomas Hart Benton to more recent installations by Agnes Denes, Kara Walker, Alfredo Jaar, Glenn Ligon, Sol LeWitt, and Martin Puryear + Michael Van Valkenburgh, among others.

Providing a kaleidoscopic view onto these works, this richly illustrated volume explores each permanent installation through a suite of three to four short essays. Contributed by critics, poets, and scholars from diverse fields including anthropology, mathematics, art history, media studies, and design, these polyvocal texts are complemented by three longer essays reflecting on the art-historical significance of the site-specific commissions; the varying architectural contexts in which the works reside on The New School campus; and the history of The New School and its relationship to adventurous art practice. The volume also includes a roundtable discussion among leading arts educators considering the pedagogical potential of a campus-based contemporary art collection. The book’s final section presents a capsule history of each commissioned work, highlighted by archival images.

The book’s suggestive title, I Stand in My Place with My Own Day Here, derives from Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, as quoted by Glenn Ligon in his magnificent installation, For Comrades and Lovers (2015). Alluding to the ways in which an art work’s meaning shifts according to each viewer’s unique vantage point, this title—and the book as a whole—suggest that each generation has an opportunity to redefine a work’s meaning.


Foreword: Co-Designing a Kaleidoscope
Lydia Matthews

Silvia Rocciolo and Eric Stark

Various, Humane, Political
Holland Cotter

Schooled in the New: The Arts as Social Research
Julia L. Foulkes
Watch Julia Foulkes read an excerpt

Living and Learning from the University Center to West 12th Street; or, Arendt in Mar-a-Lago
Reinhold Martin
Alvin Johnson/J.M. Kaplan Hall 66 West 12th Street

Thomas Hart Benton
America Today, 1930–31

From The New School to The Metropolitan Museum of Art: The Odyssey of Thomas Hart Benton’s America Today
Randall Griffey

The Ghost of Progress Past
Luc Sante

Paid in Eggs
Mira Schor
Watch Mira Schor read an excerpt

José Clemente Orozco
Call to Revolution and Table of Universal Brotherhood
(The New School Mural Cycle), 1930-1931

Orozco’s New School Murals: Activating Revolutionary Thought
Anna Indych-López And Lynda Klich

The Chains in Orozco’s Murals
Otto Von Busch

Center of Gravity: Orozco
Roberto Tejada

Camilo Egas
Ecuadorian Festival, 1932

A Celebration of Dance
Michele Greet

Celebration as Resistance
Heather Reyes

New School Desires: “Poised Precisely Between Fantasy and Reality”
Jasmine Rault
Watch Jasmine Rault read an excerpt

Gonzalo Fonseca
Untitled, 1961

Gonzalo Fonseca and Universalist Modernism
Edward J. Sullivan

Solve et Coagula
Hugh Raffles
Watch Hugh Raffles read an excerpt

When a Mural Is a Blueprint
Mónica De La Torre

Martin Puryear and Michael Van Valkenburgh, Vera List Courtyard, 1997

Vera List Courtyard: A Brief History
Kathleen Goncharov

Inside Out: Outside In
Sarah E. Lawrence

Seats of Tension: Collaboration, Access, Security, Expression
Laura Y. Liu

Vera List Courtyard and the Culture Wars
Olu Oguibe

Dave Muller
Interpolations and Extrapolations, 2002-2003
Extensions (Interpolations and Extrapolations), 2008

Interpolating and Extrapolating
Stefano Basilico

Brand New
Jeffrey Kastner

Identity Interpolated and Extrapolated
Jamer Hunt
Watch Jamer Hunt read an excerpt

Arnhold Hall 55 West 13th Street

Sol LeWitt
Wall Drawing #1073, Bars of Color (New School), 2003

Tan Lin

LeWitt’s Problem(s)
Jennifer Wilson

One Sentence for Sol LeWitt
Saul Anton

Kara Walker
Event Horizon, 2005

History’s Worth of Fictions
Mabel O. Wilson

On Kara Walker’s Event Horizon
Maggie Nelson

Black Atlantis
Naomi Beckwith

Brian Tolle
Threshold, 2006

The Gentle Wind Doth Move Visibly
Shannon Mattern
Watch Shannon Mattern read this essay

Victoria Hattam

Of Two Minds
Carin Kuoni

Quiet Possibilities of the Subjunctive
G. E. Patterson

University Center 63 Fifth Avenue

Rita McBride
Bells and Whistles, 2009–2014

Mnemonics and Pneumatics
Robert Kirkbride
Watch Robert Kirkbride read this essay

Ringing Bells, Blowing Whistles
Daniel A. Barber

Breaking Out of School
Elizabeth Ellsworth

Alfredo Jaar
Searching for Africa in LIFE, 1996/2014

Searching Blindly
Radhika Subramaniam
Watch Radhika Subramaniam read this essay

An Absence That Conjures a Presence
Omar Berrada

Alfredo Jaar: Dialectic of Sight
Jennifer A. González

The Blink of Failure: Imagining Life in Africa
Tisa Bryant

Glenn Ligon
For Comrades and Lovers, 2015

Democratic Vistas of Space
Carl Hancock Rux

Among the Throng: Glenn Ligon Situates Whitman
Wendy S. Walters

Luis Jaramillo
Watch Luis Jaramillo read this essay

For Comrades and Lovers: a dialogue
Claudia Rankine

Agnes Denes
Pascal’s Perfect Probability Pyramid & the People Paradox – The Predicament (PPPPPPP), 1980/2016

In Formation
Aruna D’Souza

The one who is the one who is the one who is not many. Thoughts called forth by Agnes Denes’s Pascal’s Perfect Probability Pyramid & the People Paradox—The Predicament (PPPPPPP)
Andrea Geyer

Agnes Denes: Promethea of Paradox
Lucy R. Lippard

“Organized by Fascination”: A Roundtable Conversation on Art, Institutions, and Pedagogy
Carol Becker, Gregg Bordowitz, Pablo Helguera, and Lydia Matthews; Moderated By Frances Richard

Histories of the Commissions




The publication of this book is possible in part through the generous support of Joshua Sapan and Ann Foley, Beth Rudin DeWoody and the May and Samuel Rudin Family Foundation, Inc., and William B. Havemeyer. The New School Art Collection, The New School’s Provost Mutual Mentoring Grants, and Parsons Deans Council Cross-School Grants have provided additional support.