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Exhibition Explores Authority, Learning, and Categorization
Paul Ramírez Jonas, "Album Fifty States Summits, Kansas", 2002. Performative photograph, 20.5 x 16.75 inches. Courtesy: The Artist and Alexander Gray Associates, NY.
ATLANTA, GA.- The Atlanta Contemporary Art Center is showing "Substitute Teacher", an exhibition co-curated by Regine Basha and Stuart Horodner, which includes twenty emerging and established artists whose works act as an alternative syllabus for art-life learning.

The participating artists are Lisa Anne Auerbach, Daniel Bozhkov, Luis Camnitzer, Brody Condon, Brian Dettmer, Andrea Fraser, Paul Ramírez Jonas, Nina Katchadourian, Glenn Ligon, Larry Miller, Jenny Perlin, Walid Raad/The Atlas Group, Pedro Reyes, Danielle Roney, Jay Rosenblatt, Mira Schor, Michael Smith, Joe Sola, Javier Téllez, and David Wojnarowicz.

What is a substitute teacher? Typically, it is a person who fills in for the regular teacher when he or she is unavailable because of illness or vacation or other personal reasons. For our purposes, a substitute teacher is any being, situation, or object that has the potential to impart knowledge.

Substitute Teacher is an exhibition which examines reversals of authority and alternative forms of understanding, experience, and curiosity. It acknowledges traditional subjects of study as well as the slippage of one discipline into another. Informed by the structures of the classroom and other potential sites of learning, (nature, city streets, places of worship, the internet, the home), Substitute Teacher brings together works in diverse media that become surrogate instructors. These works offer educational opportunities while challenging conditions of categorization, officialdom, and believability.

Much of the work in Substitute Teacher incorporates language that is appropriated, manipulated, or transcribed. Lisa Anne Auerbach, Luis Camnitzer, Andrea Fraser, Glenn Ligon, Larry Miller, Pedro Reyes, and Mira Schor each use text drawn from personal, historical, or institutional realms to create unique modes of public address.

Daniel Bozhkov, Nina Katchadourian, Walid Raad, Paul Ramírez Jonas, Danielle Roney, and Joe Sola are artists who exemplify a kind of “apprentice syndrome,” a phrase used by Bozhkov to suggest the ongoing acquisition of new data and skills through extensive research, travel, or training.

In photographs by Michael Smith and David Wojnarowicz, authority figures wear a public face that might hide private conditions of despair and uncertainty. In films and videos, Brody Condon, Jenny Perlin, Jay Rosenblatt, and Javier Téllez use documentaries, instructional footage and You Tube clips to construct distinctive narratives about drug experiences, twentieth-century dictators, and perceptual exercises.

For sculptor Brian Dettmer, encyclopedias and dictionaries are fertile raw materials. Through extensive acts of alteration, he renders these conventional repositories of information unusable in one way while simultaneously making them wondrous in another.

In recent years, numerous artists and institutions have attempted to address the role of education in their activities, challenging notions of audience, intention, and outcome.

The curators of this exhibition are engaged in the art world and academic dialogues about these issues, and their Substitute Teacher exhibition is an attempt to encourage visitors to assess and challenge their own wealth of knowledge while embarking on new journeys of discovery. The diverse range of works they have selected and their installation strategy argue for a constantly shifting situation of curiosity, appreciation, and transformation.

The Atlanta Contemporary Art Center | Substitute Teacher | Regine Basha | Stuart Horodner |

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