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Rainer Ganahl, the Politics of Learning

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Wallach Art Gallery Features Rainer Ganahl, the Politics of Learning

Columbia University
New York City
Through December 10, 2005 

The Wallach Art Gallery is located on the 8th floor of Schermerhorn Hall. Gallery hours are Wednesday through Saturday, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. (closed November 23-26 for Thanksgiving). The exhibition is free and open to the public. 

The junction of art and education is the focus of the new art exhibition, titled "Please Teach Me"--Rainer Ganahl and the Politics of Learning, on display at the Wallach Art Gallery through December 10. The exhibition presents more than 200 conceptually based photographs, videos and projects by the noted Austrian-American artist, Rainer Ganah. This is the most comprehensive gathering to date in the United States of his work, some of which is being shown for the first time.

 For more than 10 years, Ganahl has been engaged in a subtle exploration of the points of overlap of art and learning, using a variety of media including photographs, videos, books, wall texts, and tapestries. Much of Ganahl's work falls into the following categories: Libraries, collections of scholarly books, intended to be perused by gallery visitors; Seminars and Lectures, where he attends and photographs seminars and lectures by leading scholars; Readings, where he photographs and/or videotapes invited participants as they analyze theoretical texts with him; Studies, portraits of himself as a learning machine, documenting his efforts to study new languages; and Dialogs, either interviews or collaborations outside educational institutions.

 Ganahl has had numerous solo exhibitions in Europe and New York and was selected as one of three Austrian representatives to the Venice Biennale in 1999.

 William Kaizen, a Columbia University doctoral candidate in art history, is the curator of the Wallach Art Gallery exhibition and primary author of the exhibition catalogue, which provides a comprehensive overview and a scholarly exploration of the artist's work. In her introduction to the catalogue, Professor Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak discusses her personal connection to Ganahl. She sees in his work an answer to Marx's question "who will educate the educators?" Kaizen's essay takes up the politics of Rainer Ganahl's claim that education is art's "abhorred other" and discusses the means through which the artist creates possibilities for both art and knowledge production. A color plate section with commentary by the artist includes more than 400 images that document Ganahl's varied artistic practices during the past decade. Two additional contributions by the artist --  Marx and again Marx: Antonio Negri interviewed by Rainer Ganahl and A Portable Library for Columbia University -- expand the understanding of his practice.

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