Mission One: Keeping Tabs on Big Brother


Our first mission is going to require a bit of courage and a bit of
discretion, but we selected it because it highlights some great
aspects of “revolutionary” public art, in that it both plays against
the status quo and participates in the world outside the artist’s

Here’s the mission: Find someone in a position of power such as a
police officer, company president, or university dean. Make him or
her the subject of an artistic study that makes him or her
uncomfortable. Keep in mind, you too may feel uncomfortable doing
this. You should think carefully about whether or not you want to ask
your subject for permission–great options exist whether you want to
or not. You could:
1. Find a cop standing around and stand about ten feet from him and sketch him. Let him notice you.
2. Tell your boss or academic adviser that you have to draw someone
for an art class you are taking and ask if you can quickly sketch them.
3. Eavesdrop on an authority figure having a conversation in a public
place and write something or make a work of art inspired by what was said.
4. Think of your own way to fulfill the assignment.

Part of this assignment is to get you thinking about how context is
*key* in public art. “The best public artist is aware of the unusual
nature of the site he’s chosen or the task he’s performing and seeks
to inform it through the artistic content.” – Jon Paul Nakatamo

Once you have completed the assignment, respond to the following
questions (feel free to share with us your answers or keep them to
1) How did this exercise make you feel? Uncomfortable? Guilty? Empowered?
2) How did the authority figure react to being the subject of your study?
2) How did the stretching of social norms in this assignment come
through in your art, either consciously or subconsciously?



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