Reading Room #30: Fred Dewey and Art as Experience
The third in a new series of Reading Rooms around the library of the American thinker and organiser Fred Dewey, a collective reading and discussion around John Dewey’s Art as Experience (1934)
“People are more willing to talk … when they’re sharing something deeply meaningful with each other. That’s why poetry becomes the foundation of a new kind of dialogue.” (Fred Dewey)
Dewey had a fierce commitment to creating public spaces for intellectual and political engagement. His home base was Los Angeles, but the last years of his life he spent in Brussels. In 2022 Dewey died unexpectedly. To ensure the continuation of his legacy, the Fred Dewey Legacy Project was initated, aiming to set up initiatives that extend Dewey’s work, as well as preserve his considerable library.
Summer 2023 artists Filip van Dingenen and Hélène Meyer re-installed part of Dewey’s extensive library. They are opening up his collection of books to artists and researchers from their studio home. One way to activate this library is Jubilee’s 2024 Reading Room program. This program performs a collective knowledge transfer – using the library as a situated research tool from which each Jubilee artist can select a title and propose it for a collective reading and discussion session.
Art as Experiences is a 1934 book by philosopher John Dewey, one of the leading early figures of the school of American Pragmatists and the great grandfather of Fred Dewey. The book elaborates Dewey’s thinking on aesthetics, and attempts to shift the understanding about the art process from its physical manifestations in the ‘expressive object’ to the process in its entirety, a process whose fundamental element is no longer the material ‘work of art’ but rather the development of an ‘experience’. Experience is something that personally affects one’s life, and by shifting the emphasis to experience he demonstrates the connections of art with everyday life. His reflections influenced different experimental art school programmes, amongst which Black Mountain college.
This reading room is proposed by Maximiliaan Royakkers
Calendar of Fred Dewey Reading Rooms
Each reading room takes place from 18-20h. Soup and bread will be provided. Locations are different each time
Address Reading Room #30
Rue Montenegro 127