2016, The Year of the Academy: Introducing MOTA and Returning to Black Mountain

A belated happy 2016 to you all! It has been a late start for Minus Plato, but it is set to be a busy year ahead, so do watch this space. In addition to my regular posts on Classics and Modern/Contemporary Art, throughout 2016 I will also be documenting two exciting projects that explore the relationship between ancient philosophy, art and the idea of the academy – ancient and modern.

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The first is called Myths of the Academy (MOTA) which is a multifaceted project that investigates the potential role for Plato’s myths in his dialogues for teaching philosophy in the ancient Academy as offering us a novel way to appreciate the role of the contemporary artist in the research university. Made possible by a Ronald and Deborah Ratner Distinguished Teaching Award, MOTA comprises a reading group, an exhibition, a two-part publication, a class project, guest lectures and a symposium. By bringing together four collaborative projects by eight artists and authors (Geoffrey Hilsabeck, Dani Leventhal, Brett Price, Liz Roberts, George Rush, Suzanne Silver, Ry Wharton and Carmen Winant) with the 700+ students of my Classical Mythology class (via their Myths Academy project), MOTA will interrogate how Plato’s myths’ potential to teach philosophy through artistic, image-making can be reflected back onto the figure of the artist within the pedagogic space of the university. While the reading group continues from last semester, and the class has already started (we’re reading Homer’s Odyssey as we speak), the exhibition will open April 4th in the Hopkins Hall Gallery here at Ohio State, with the symposium (in coordination with the OSU Department of Classics) on April 8th.

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The second project is developed around the exhibition Leap Before You Look: Black Mountain College 1933-1957 which will be on show at the Wexner Center for the Arts from September 17th. I will have the pleasure of working with the Wexner Center on certain public programming to coincide with the exhibition. In addition, I am currently planning to make the exhibition the pivotal case-study for a Philosophy class on Philosophical Problems in the Arts. Finally, and potentially the most exciting project, will be a co-taught Drawing class with artist (and MOTA participant) Suzanne Silver in the OSU Art Department on Plato and Drawing that attempts to pay homage and expand the first classes taught at Black Mountain by the founder and Classicist John Rice and the newly arrive artist Josef Albers.

All in all, I will be entering some uncharted territory and you can follow my progress on these projects (and much much more!) here on Minus Plato.

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