23.04.2011 /2:00 – 7:00 p.m.
Immigrant Movement International’s Headquarter

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Part 1. Definition of Useful Art and Introduction – Tania Bruguera

Part 2. Not an Alternative: Let It Out

Part 3. Mel Chin: Revival Field

Part 4. Rick Lowe: Project Row Houses

Part 5. Patrick Bernier and Olive Martin: Jurisprudence

Part 6. Pase Usted: Genera

Part 7. Discussion

The event, held in conjunction with the Useful Art Association, featured an introduction by Tania Bruguera, followed by a series of brief presentations with Mel Chin, Beka Economopoulos from Not An Alternative, Rick Lowe, Jorge Munguia from Pase Usted, and Patrick Bernier/Olive Martin followed by responses from Nato Thompson, Chief Curator at Creative Time; Tom Finkelpearl, Executive Director, Queens Museum of Art; Larissa Harris, Curator, Queens Museum of Art; and Gregory Sholette, Chair, MFA Studio Art Program, Queens College CUNY. Claire Bishop, Associate Professor of Art History, CUNY Graduate Center, representatives from local immigrant community organizations Make the Road, New York, and N.I.C.E. (New Immigrant Community Empowerment), and New York City Council Member Julissa Ferreras


2:00 PM

Definition – Introduction

by Tania Bruguera

2:05 PM

Examples – Presentation of specific works

Mel Chin: Revival Field
Santiago Cirugeda: Recetas Urbanas
Rick Lowe: Project Row Houses
Pase Usted: Genera
Patrick & Olive: Jurisprudence
Not an Alternative: Let It Out (A kleenex intervention organized with Greenpeace.)

3:00 PM

Clarification – Responders will ask for a particular aspect on the project presented
Nato Thompson
Tom Finkelpearl
Larissa Harris
Gregory Sholette

3:15 PM

Interrogation – Critically Addressing The Projects And The Notion Of Useful ArtClaire Bishop
Make The Road
N.I.C.E. (New Immigrant Community Empowerment)
NYC Council Member Julissa Ferreras

3:30 PM

Audience Interaction
Claire Bishop Moderates Q & A With Audience

3:50 PM


4:00 PM

World Café

A style of Discussion that breaks an audience into smaller groups to consider one question at a time with a Presenter and a Responder at each table. Leading a discussion with a small group of audience choose which table they would like to go to.

There will be three questions presented, each question will have 10 minutes for discussion. When time is up on one question, the audience members are free to switch to another table allowing them to have a brief discussion with multiple participants and audience members.

4:40 PM

Responders Report Back

5:00 PM

Drink And Dance


Patrick Bernier & Olive Martin have worked collaboratively for over a decade. Concerned with issues of migration and territory, they recognized an irony in the rapid expansion of copyright and intellectual property law in the digital era as well as the diminishing rights of immigrants and freedom of movement under French and EU laws.

Mel Chin‘s art is both analytical and poetic, and evades easy classification. Alchemy, botany, and ecology are but a few of the disciplines that intersect in his work. He inserts art into unlikely places, including destroyed homes, toxic landfills, and even popular television, investigating how art can provoke greater social
awareness and responsibility. Details of a current project can be seen online at Fundred.org.

Santiago Cirugeda is a spanish architect, founder of the office Recetas Urbanas which regularly creates projects playing with legality.

Rick Lowe is an artist, architect, urban designer, developer, businessman, and activist. In 1993, Lowe founded Project Row Houses, which turned 22 “shotgun” houses in the middle of Houston’s poorest neighborhoods into art galleries, workshop spaces, offices, and housing for single mothers.

Pase Usted is a non-profit organization that promotes change and development through ideas and the way we engage with today’s most relevant issues. The project promotes dialogue, discussions and proposals through 3 main platforms: thematic multidisciplinary forums, media, and support to innovative projects based in technology that seek to improve quality of life.

Not an Alternative is a hybrid arts collective and nonprofit organization whose mission aims to integrate art, activism and theory in order to affect popular understandings of events, symbols and history.

Works on display

– Adrian Melis, Vigilia-Nigth Watch
– Cesare Pietroiusti, Money Watching
– Ruben Santiago, Pre-existing condition x-y
– Ghana Think Thank, Give us your problem!
– Judi Werthein, Brinco


Claire Bishop, Assoc. Prof of Art History at the CUNY Graduate Center. She is an internationally acknowledged scholar of contemporary art and is widely considered to be an original thinker and creative interpreter of contemporary art.

New York Council Member Julissa Ferreras proudly serves Corona, East Elmhurst and parts of Jackson Heights-an area of Queens that is one of the most diversely populated areas in the country. She was Assistant Director of the Community Conciliation Network in Corona, and shortly thereafter the Beacon Director at P.S. 19, the nation’s most overcrowded school. Elected to the City Council in 2009, currently serves as Chair of the Women’s Issues Committee.

Tom Finkerpearl, Executive Director of The Queens Museum of Art. He has worked as a curator and deputy director at P.S.1, New York, and Director of the Percent for Art Program at the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. His new book, The Art of Social Cooperation is forthcoming from Duke University Press.

Larissa Harris, Curator at the Queens Museum of Art.  She was associate director of the Center for Advanced Visual Studies at MIT from 2004-2008 and is one half of a partnership called The Steins, which produces occasional, extremely brief exhibitions in basements in the Lower East Side.

Make the Road New York promotes economic justice, equity and opportunity for all New Yorkers through community and electoral organizing, strategic policy advocacy, leadership development, youth and adult education, and high quality legal and support services.

New Immigrant Community Empowerment (NICE) is a community-based, non-profit organization that works to ensure that new immigrants can build social, political and economic power in their communities and beyond. NICE envisions a world where all people -regardless of status- live and work with dignity and justice.

Nato Thompson, Chief Curator at Creative Time. He has also worked as the Curator at MASS MoCA. His writings have appeared in numerous publications including Art Journal, tema celeste, Parkett, Cabinet and The Journal of Aesthetics and Protest. The College Art Association awarded him for distinguished writing in Art Journal in 2004.

Gregg Scholette, Chair, MFA Studio Art Program at Queens College, CUNY. He is a New York-based artist, writer, and founding member of Political Art Documentation/Distribution (PAD/D: 1980-1988), and REPOhistory (1989-2000).His recent book Dark Matter: Art and Politics in the Age of Enterprise Culture was just published by Pluto Press.