Whitney Biennial 2017

Solo en Inglès

Desks in a classroom

Chemi Rosado Seijo (b. 1973), installation view of Salón-Sala-Salón (Classroom/Gallery/Classroom), 2017. Educational collaboration with the Lower Manhattan Arts Academy and instructor Julie Roinos. Courtesy Embajada, San Juan. Photograph by Bill Orcutt

Narrator: For his contribution to the Biennial, Chemi Rosado-Seijo has swapped a gallery in the exhibition with a classroom in the Lower Manhattan Arts Academy. Eleventh-grade students will have their art classes here, and the works of Biennial artists Jessi Reaves and Sky Hopinka will be on view there. Rosado-Seijo was interested in creating a kind of displacement. By putting desks where you expect to see sculptures—and the other way around, the artist prompts us to reflect on our expectations of what schools and museums should be. Curator Christopher Lew.

Christopher Lew: Chemi has been working with the class and with their teacher, Julie Roinos to create a syllabus and kind of lesson plan for these different ideas that will tie into, not just the thematics of the Biennial, but Chemi’s own interest in working with different institutions or highlighting what does it mean to be at a school versus a museum, and literally how does one comport themselves within these different spaces?

One of the first things that they had done prior to moving, was actually to spend a class to discuss what constitutes a classroom, what do they need to physically move from their classroom downtown to the Museum? And the students actually helped make those decisions in terms of is it just the desks and the chairs, or is it actually posters and signage or their own artwork? What’s needed in order to have their own class and instruction, and to claim the space for themselves?