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)
19/03/2024, 18-20:30h

“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

23 January: Reading Room #28: Fred Dewey and School of Public Life proposed by Filip Van Dingenen
13 February: Reading Room #29: Fred Dewey and The Ignorant Schoolmaster proposed by Clémentine Vaultier
19 March: Reading Room #30 proposed by Maximiliaan Royakkers
23 April: Reading Room #31: Fred Dewey and Walter Benjamin proposed by Vincent Meessen
21 May: Reading Room #32 proposed by Ciel Grommen, Maxiliaan Royakkers and Clémentine Vaultier (of the project Atlas of Ovens)
11 June: Reading Room #33 proposed by Louise de Bethune

Each reading room takes place from 18-20:30h. Soup and bread will be provided. Locations are different each time


Address Reading Room #30

Rue Montenegro 127
1190 Forest