January 28, 2016

Students Explore Artists’ Roles in Remaking Cities

Students in the fall 2015 course “The Arts of Urban Transition” have spent the past semester using texts and methods from history, theater and dance to examine artists and works of art as agents of change in New York City and Detroit. Taught by historian Aaron Shkuda, Professor of Dance Judith Hamera, and Princeton Arts Fellow Aaron Landsman, the course explored such topics as artist relationships and the impact of urban arts initiatives.

“We’re considering why New York and Detroit have had such divergent histories since deindustrialization, how artists have shaped the process of development, and how they have responded to some of the contradictions of the postindustrial city.”
— Aaron Shkuda

students view mural

Photo by Ryan Gedrich ’16; caption by Spencer Parts ’17

In the photo at left, Professor Judith Hamera explains part of Diego Rivera’s Detroit Industry fresco cycle to students during a visit to the Detroit Institute of Arts. The main panels of the fresco cycle, which is considered some of Rivera’s finest work, depict laborers at the Ford River Rouge plant. Hamera said it was one of the most influential works of art in her life.

Read and see more photographic highlights from the course trip to Detroit on the University homepage…

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