Paper $25.00 ISBN: 9780226580449 Will Publish October 2018
Cloth $85.00 ISBN: 9780226580302 Will Publish November 2018
E-book $25.00 Available for pre-order. ISBN: 9780226580586 Will Publish November 2018

Dewey for Artists

Mary Jane Jacob

Dewey for Artists

Mary Jane Jacob

176 pages | 24 halftones | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 | © 2018
Paper $25.00 ISBN: 9780226580449 Will Publish October 2018
Cloth $85.00 ISBN: 9780226580302 Will Publish November 2018
E-book $25.00 ISBN: 9780226580586 Will Publish November 2018
John Dewey is known as a pragmatic philosopher and progressive architect of American educational reform, but some of his most important contributions came in his thinking about art.
          Dewey argued that there is strong social value to be found in art, and it is artists who often most challenge our preconceived notions. Dewey for Artists shows us how Dewey advocated for an “art of democracy.” Identifying the audience as co-creator of a work of art by virtue of their experience, he made space for public participation. Moreover, he believed that societies only become—and remain—truly democratic if its citizens embrace democracy itself as a creative act, and in this he advocated for the social participation of artists.
          Throughout the book, Mary Jane Jacob draws on the experiences of contemporary artists who have modeled Dewey’s principles within their practices. We see how their work springs from deeply held values. We see, too, how carefully considered curatorial practice can address the manifold ways in which aesthetic experience happens and, thus, enable viewers to find greater meaning and purpose. And it is this potential of art for self and social realization, Jacob helps us understand, that further ensures Dewey’s legacy—and the culture we live in.
Review Quotes
Lucy R. Lippard
This book is a welcome reintroduction of John Dewey’s progressive ideas in relation to the work of contemporary artists trying to escape the ‘elitist’ reputation of the commercial art world. Nobody is better qualified than Mary Jane Jacob to craft such an intriguing fusion of Dewey’s democratic philosophy and the work of artists devoted to social interaction and social change—all the more pertinent in these dark times. Dewey for Artists, like the self-help book the title wittily mimics, is a rousing challenge to artists who perceive their work as shared experience, an integral factor in everyday life.
William Ayers
This entirely accessible reflection on art and experience is a small masterpiece. In exploring John Dewey’s passionate, lifelong engagement with the various arts and with the meaning of democracy, Mary Jane Jacob revitalizes his unique insights for a new generation, and illustrates how we might unleash our social imaginations and dance that dialectic today. This book is for artists, yes, but also for a much broader public, including anyone concerned with the practice of living artfully in these terribly troubling times.
Gregory Sholette, author of Delirium and Resistance: Activist Art and the Crisis of Capitalism
“The John Dewey that emerges from Mary Jane Jacob’s introspective and affirmative study speaks directly to the artist of the twenty-first century by insisting on the poetry of everyday experience, the necessity of making as a process of worldly understanding, and the universal significance of art as an essential form of human knowledge. Move over Joseph Beuys, there is a century-old theorist of socially engaged art to contend with who—thanks to Jacob’s compelling and accessible writing, as well as her deft use of specific contemporary art works as models of Dewey’s progressive-era ideas—springs forth to surprise and challenge us today.”
Andrea Phillips, Baltic Professor and Director of BxNU Research Institute, University of Northumbria
The ways in which Jacob finds in Dewey new and important ways to socialize and politicize experience is extremely valuable, as it is here that we find many arguments in favor of the continued understanding of the uses of art that often elsewhere have run out of philosophical and interdisciplinary steam.
For more information, or to order this book, please visit https://www.press.uchicago.edu
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