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Catalan artist reflects on the relations of academia with higher education

by Richard Meckien - published Aug 03, 2017 12:30 PM - - last modified Aug 10, 2017 05:53 PM
Rights: Original version in Portuguese by Mauro Bellesa.

Exposição "Sobre Academia", de Antoni Muntandas
Exhibition About Academia, by Antoni Muntadas

About Academia is the theme of the conference that Catalan artist and professor Antoni Muntadas, from the Institute of Architecture of Venice, will give on August 18, at 2.00 pm, at the IEA. He will discuss the project that he has presented in several countries. The event will be held in Spanish and broadcast live over the internet.

The project consists of an exhibition dedicated to the reflection on two aspects: the relationship between university teaching practices and academia - as an emblematic institution of knowledge in the West - and how the American system of higher education, with its public / private duality and its different cultural, economic, social and political forms, has influenced the education and consequently the different pedagogical models of the United States.

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When promoting the discussion about the project in another country, Muntadas proposes to hold a debate about local teaching and education models. This will be the case of the event at the IEA, organized by the Research Group Fórum Permanente: Cultural System Between Public and Private and coordinated by Martin Grossmann, professor of USP's School of Communications and Arts (ECA) and former director of the Institute.

The first edition of About Academia was developed and produced between March 2009 and October 2010 in Cambridge, USA, at Harvard University and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where Muntadas taught in the Visual Arts Program of the School of Architecture from 1990 to 2014. The exhibition was first presented at Harvard's Carpenter Visual Arts Center in March 2011. It was then shown in Vancouver and in Amsterdam. From September to November this year, it will be the turn of Seville to host it.

The artist clarifies that the project has direct correspondence with the work "Between Frames: the Forum", developed between 1983 and 1993, in which he proposed the observation and analysis of the art system through interviews with more than 150 "players" from different segments of the area (museums, galleries, collectors, critics and means of communication, among others).

Antoni Muntandas
Artist and professor Antoni Muntadas

For the current project, Muntadas has researched the historical development of academia from its creation in ancient Greece, its refoundation during the Enlightenment and establishment in the New World, until its current conception. In addition, he has interviewed a group of renowned professors from Harvard, MIT and other American research universities. Some of them are Carol Becker, Noam Chomsky, John Coatsworth, Fernando Coronil, Thomas Cummins, Bradley Epps, David Harvey, Ute Meta Bauer, Doris Sommer, Mark Wigley and Howard Zinn. This group was expanded in other editions of the project.

Muntadas was born in Barcelona in 1942 and lives in New York since 1971. His projects address social, political and communication issues, such as the relationship between public and private space within certain social milestones or information channels and how they are used to censor or promote ideas.

In his works, Muntadas uses photography, video, printed material, internet, installations and interventions in urban spaces. He has participated, and organizes seminars and exhibitions in institutions in Europe, North America, South America and Asia. Reina Sofia, Tate Gallery, MoMA and MAC are some of the museums that have works by the artist, who received prizes and scholarships from institutions in various countries.

Photos: Antoni Muntadas's personal collection