Contemporary Issues: Accessibility and Disability in Contemporary Art

Spring 2022

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Course Details

San Diego State University
School of Art + Design

This interdisciplinary course will explore the topics of accessibility and disability in contemporary art practice, history, and theory. Students will be familiarized with key writings, methods, and concepts of disability studies and apply them critically to topics circumscribing artistic, curatorial, and museological practices. Close readings and group discussion will introduce students to painting, sculpture, dance, installation, new media, performance, and other practices engaging disability. We will analyze artworks and institutions from critical aesthetic and intersectional frameworks, giving special attention to revealing how art and disability interrelate within broader contexts of ableist culture, political economy, public infrastructure, race, gender, sexuality, immigration, and decolonization.

The class will also apply these ideas to the upcoming Script/Rescript exhibition to be held at the San Diego State University Art Gallery from October 13-December 8, 2022, co-curated by Amanda Cachia and Bhavna Mehta. In this exhibition, artists use historical and contemporary medicalizing scripts of their own bodies to colorfully rescript – or rewrite – visual language attributed to individual conditions of disability. The exhibition will include the work of the following 10 disabled artists: Panteha Abareshi, Emily Barker, M Eifler, Sugandha Gupta, Sharona Franklin, Bhavna Mehta, Berenice Olmedo, Jaklin Romine, Katherine Sherwood, and Akiko Surai.