One question that arises about social-practice art is where the art (public engagement) begins, and where the social practice (education, therapy, catharsis for participants) ends. This question assumes that art is separate from life, an assumption that has been debated for at least the past century. But whether one subscribes to the idea that art is life, that it is separated by a sacred veil, or that it is authored anew by each viewer, if we assume that social practice can now be legitimately discussed as art, the challenge of its transmission remains. Alexandra Hammond (MFA AP15) reviewed “Five Stories with SWOON,” a presentation of a multi-platform project by Caledonia Curry (the artist and activist also known as Swoon) at the Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania, for The Brooklyn Rail. 

One question that arises about social-practice art is where the art (public engagement) begins, and where the social practice (education, therapy, catharsis for participants) ends. This question assumes that art is separate from life, an assumption that has been debated for at least the past century. But whether one subscribes to the idea that art is life, that it is separated by a sacred veil, or that it is authored anew by each viewer, if we assume that social practice can now be legitimately discussed as art, the challenge of its transmission remains.

Alexandra Hammond (MFA AP15) reviewed “Five Stories with SWOON,” a presentation of a multi-platform project by Caledonia Curry (the artist and activist also known as Swoon) at the Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania, for The Brooklyn Rail