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Luis Camnitzer, A Museum is a School, 2009/2022, Vinyl, 3D postcard. Institute for Contemporary Art at VCU, Markel Center, A Museum is a School, (Mar 12, 2022 – Jan 1, 2023). Artwork © Luis Camnitzer. Photo: David Hale

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Luis Camnitzer, A Museum is a School, 2009/2022, Vinyl, 3D postcard. Institute for Contemporary Art at VCU, Markel Center, A Museum is a School, (Mar 12, 2022 – Jan 1, 2023). Artwork © Luis Camnitzer. Photo: David Hale

decorative shadow image decorative shadow image

Luis Camnitzer, A Museum is a School, 2009/2022, Vinyl, 3D postcard. Institute for Contemporary Art at VCU, Markel Center, A Museum is a School, (Mar 12, 2022 – Jan 1, 2023). Artwork © Luis Camnitzer. Photo: David Hale.

decorative shadow image decorative shadow image

Luis Camnitzer, A Museum is a School, 2009/2022, Vinyl, 3D postcard. Institute for Contemporary Art at VCU, Markel Center, A Museum is a School, (Mar 12, 2022 – Jan 1, 2023). Artwork © Luis Camnitzer. Photo: David Hale

decorative shadow image decorative shadow image

Luis Camnitzer, A Museum is a School, 2009/2022, Vinyl, 3D postcard. Institute for Contemporary Art at VCU, Markel Center, A Museum is a School, (Mar 12, 2022 – Jan 1, 2023). Artwork © Luis Camnitzer. Photo: David Hale.

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Luis Camnitzer: A Museum is a School

Mar 12, 2022 – Jan 1, 2023

OVERVIEW

What does it mean to work at the intersection of public education and contemporary art? For more than half a century, artist Luis Camnitzer has been pondering the same question. Working in printmaking, sculpture, language, and installations, Camnitzer’s work investigates how power is employed and can be challenged in society.

A Museum is a School (site-specific installation, 2009–present) is a conceptual work by artist Luis Camnitzer, created while he was working as an education curator at a museum. He and his team developed an interactive learning station at the museum. After reviewing the team’s ideas, the director scrapped their plans stating: “This is a museum, not a school.” Camnitzer resigned from his role shortly after and sent the director an image of the museum with the face of the building adorned with the statement, “The Museum is a school; the Artist learns to communicate; The Public learns to make connections.”

The title of the work invites us to reflect on the museum as a space for education. The subtext, “The artist learns to communicate, the public learns to make connections”, gives specific roles to artists and audiences, establishing them as colleagues in a collaborative process. A Museum is a School emphasizes art as a dynamic process rather than a product and the museum as a forum for exchange.

A Museum is a School is attributed to Luis Camnitzer as its copyright holder, but not as the author of an art work. The intention is that each institution establishes and becomes accountable to this contract made with the public.

ICA senior curator Sarah Rifky says, “The idea for hosting this work by Luis Camnitzer emerged spontaneously in a meeting with the ICA Communications team. A Museum is a School is a work that challenges traditional notions of authorship, and inverts the process of commissioning. I was excited to bring a work to the ICA that allows us to reflect on our mission and our values as an art institution to public education. The work is an opportunity to think with Camnitzer, a prolific artist, educator and theorist.”

 

Luis Camnitzer (b. 1937) is a German Uruguayan artist, writer and educator who has been living and working in New York since 1964. Camitzer studied at the Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes, Universidad de la República, Montevideo in 1953, and in 1957 he went on to study sculpture at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste, Munich in 1957. He was one of the three co-founders of the New York Graphic Workshop (1964–1970) with artists Liliana Porter and José Guillermo Castillo. The NYGW was dedicated to the democratization of art and its separation from the market. In 1971, he helped establish New York’s Museo Latinoamericano, and a splinter group, Movimiento de Independencia Cultural de Latino América (MICLA). Camnitzer’s work deals with systems of power, repression, pedagogical norms, and the deconstruction of familiar frameworks. His work is often humorous and politically charged. As a theorist, he has contributed to the field of conceptual art in Latin America; he is the author of New Art of Cuba (2003) and Conceptualism in Latin American Art (2007). His thesis on Latin American conceptual art is that it is not a style but a strategy that evolved independently from Western influence and draws on the nineteenth-century teachings of Simón Rodríguez, the philosopher best known for tutoring Simón Bolívar. A collection of Camnitzer’s writings on art, education and activism was published recently under the title One Number is Worth One Word (2020).

A Museum is a School is attributed to Luis Camnitzer as its copyright holder, but not as the author of an art work. The intention is that each institution establishes and becomes accountable to this contract made with the public.

Since 2009, the work has been shown at more than 20 arts institutions around the world.

Luis Camnitzer: A Museum is a School

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum New York, 2014. Gift of the artist in honor of Simón Rodriguez on the occasion of the Guggenheim UBS MAP Global Art Initiative.

Luis Camnitzer: A Museum is a School

El Museo del Barrio, 2011.

Luis Camnitzer: A Museum is a School

Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, 2011.

Luis Camnitzer: A Museum is a School

Museo de Arte Ponce, 2012

Luis Camnitzer: A Museum is a School

The Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery, 2011

PRESS

School is In: Luis Camnitzer’s “A Museum is a School” goes up at the ICA

Style Weekly

Feb 8, 2022

Luis Camnitzer’s “A Museum is a School” goes up at the ICA.