Dennis Oppenheim: Exhibition and Learning Lab

Dennis Oppenheim: A new pedagogy?
July 9th – August 9th Macy Gallery
Teachers College Columbia University

Pressure Piece #1  1970, 1:40 min, color, silent
© Dennis Oppenheim

The Art Cognition Laboratory is happy to launch its first experimental learning lab. Developed as a collaboration between Amy Oppenheim Dennis Openheim ~studio and Judith Burton, Ed.D for the Summer InStep program. The project seeks to stimulate a dynamic dialogue between students and the Tooth and Nail: Film and Video 1970-1974 works by Dennis Oppenheim. A cohort of experts from the fields of psychology, education, performance art, cognition science and behavioral studies, will mediate the process of disassembly and reconstruction by which abstract concepts such as personal risk, emotional intelligence, transference and transformation, embedded in the works are investigated. We are extremely grateful to Amy Oppenheim for bringing performance artist Maja Rajenovich, psychologist Steven Poser and artist and educator Duff Schwenninger, each of whom has deep personal knowledge of Dennis Oppenheim’s work, into the project.

We are also thankful for the participation of TC Alum  Dr. Janos Marton, Director of the Living Museum, an art asylum for mental patients, for providing a radical model of artistic collaboration. We have found a committed partner in Dr. Aurelie Athan, Program Coordinator of the Masters Program in the Department of Clinical Psychology at Teachers College. Chris Moffett, with a Ph.D in Philosophy of Education from TC also joins us to share his explorations of embodied aesthetic and the architectural dimensions of educational practices. Dr. Emily Raphael-Greenfield, Occupational Therapy Lecturer at Columbia University Medical Center will be lending her expertise in the areas of group dynamics, role-play and Executive Function. We would also like to thank Dr. Barbara Tversky for her support and guidance. Elected this year to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Dr. Tversky’s research illuminates the connections between creativity, imagination and the processes and mechanisms of the mind.

Extending out from the TC community, Dr. Stephen Poser, brings to the project extensive training in psychoanalysis, the creative process and deep personal knowledge of the work of the artist Dennis Oppenheim. We are also pleased for the participation of  Patricia Llosa, whose background in archaeology, art history, and the visual arts coalesces with her training as a Jungian analyst. A native of Peru, she is presently based in New York City. Visual artist Les Joynes, Ph.D, comes to us via his collaborative work with Chris Moffet and the Visiting Scholar and Scientist Program Department of Philosophy Teachers College Columbia University (2011-2012).

The InStep course, Critical Perspectives, around which this project has developed, was designed by TC Interdisciplinary doctoral candidate Andrea Kantrowitz . An experienced art educator, her research considers the relationship between drawing and cognition. She is currently a co-investigator in “Drawing across the Curriculum”, a research project funded by the National Art Education Foundation, that examines best practices in schools in Massachusetts, New York, South Carolina and Caracas, Venezuela. Designer of three international symposiums on Thinking Through Drawing, her approach to collaboration is the inspiration for this interdisciplinary forum.

Allison Faye, producer and curator of the project, is also a TC Interdisciplinary doctoral candidate. Her research, design and curatorial activities integrate understandings from art history, cognition research and, applied aesthetic practice.  She is the creator of Visual Concepting Strategies (VCS), an online learning tool designed to advance the integration of works of art from all cultures and periods into general systems and methods of teaching and learning. Her dissertation research at Teachers College, developed under the advisement of cognitive psychologist Barbara Tversky, seeks to examine the operational mechanisms of Comparison-based learning in order to find out if the visual comparison learning format modeled in the VCS program can enhance quality of interpretation and memory. Together with doctoral candidate Michael Swart, a large-scale quantitative research study has been designed to examine how different pairings of works of art effect interpretation and memory.


Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, July 9 – August 9, 2-5pm, have been conceptualized as open classroom sessions. Guests from within and outside of the TC community are welcome to join in the discussions, performances and actions that will be taking place in the Macy Gallery space in the afternoons.

Dennis Oppenheim: A new pedagogy? will be open to the public July 9-August 9 from 10-5pm. Opening event July 11 from 2-5pm. Tuesday and Thursdays from 2-5pm have been designed as open classrooms. Please see Sessions Page for a schedule. To register for an open classroom please contact: Allison Faye at [email protected].


4 Responses to

  1. Hi! Do you use Twitter? I’d like to follow you if that would be okay.
    I’m absolutely enjoying your blog and look forward
    to new posts.

  2. Hi, i’m Stephane Cardarelli from France. I think there are perhaps opportunities between us for a project of education website in France. How can i contact you ? Thanks you !

    • Allison Faye says:

      Greetings Stephane,
      Please excuse delayed response. My colleagues and I are developing a second iteration of the Tooth & Nail project and would be interested to know what was it about the project that interested you.

      Allison Faye
      [email protected]

  3. The idea of examining psychology, education, performance art, cognition science and behavioral studies is fascinating. It would make a great concept for a book. Additionally, the dissertation mentioned at the end would also make a great book concept.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.