Context as Material: A Conversation with Jon Rubin
by Joshua Reiman
Socially engaged art considers site, history, and the public as equals, the artist's vision working in concert with the audience's reality. Jon Rubin has been a defining force in this arena, creating and blurring boundaries within a very young practice that carries huge implications. Taking on multiple platforms for public engagement, his projects, including Conflict Kitchen, The Lovasik Estate Sale, and The Speech of the Swans, mine various global communities through an exploration of current socio-political issues.
Generally, contextual (social) practice is hyper-complicated and operates on multiple levels of grassroots organizing. Rubin's work, in particular, is thoughtfully catalyzing. His projects have raised important questions and bridged diverging communities by cultivating relationships between people, places, cultures, and contexts. If you are at all interested in artistic expression that questions authority and brings people together, I strongly recommend reading what Rubin has to say and then getting involved.
...see the entire article in the print version of May's Sculpture magazine.