This Exhibition Has Ended

January 21, 2017
July 30, 2017
In the Gold and Picket Family Video Galleries, Floor 2L

This exhibition is a follow-up to the 2016 Cornell Council for the Arts (CCA) Biennial that, by focusing on art and empathy, looked at feeling as form. Instead of displaying a finished project, Empathy Academy will function more as a laboratory, in which process is privileged. 

Through the analysis and exhibition of objects and a team-based development of a sequence of interventions, students will conduct an investigation toward the creation of a meaningful and forward-looking interface between critical practices and institutional collecting. 

Intending to lead to emergent, social forms of contemporary art, the exhibition will include Rirkrit Tiravanija’s 84-foot long print, Untitled 2008–11 (the map of the land of feeling) I–III, one of the few objects the artist—known for being among the first to practice so-called relational art—has produced. Identified with projects that combine daily life and creative practice, he has cooked meals for exhibitions around the world, representing his fundamental interest in bringing people together. Martha Rosler’s 1975 video work, Semiotics of the Kitchen, a great influence on Tiravanija’s practice, will be screened. 

Ernesto Neto is also known for the construction of social space in his work. In immersive sculptural installations he invites viewers into an all-encompassing sensorial experience. Neto’s wall-size “drawing” Colors, Cultures, Knots, and Time illustrates global connectivity, engendering empathy for the other. 

Matthew “Levee” Chavez harnesses the power of communication as he invites people to write their thoughts, reactions, and hopes in this anxious time. A continuation of his Subway Therapy installation, where thousands of sticky notes were left at Union Square Station in New York City, will be part of Empathy Academy


The exhibition was reconceived by the students in the course "Empathy Academy: Social Practice and the Problem of Objects" (ART 3799) in response to the works by previously on view. The students’ participatory installation, What is left is felt, informed by their study of institutional collecting and exhibition strategies, was a crowd-sourced still life of red items was created through visitor participation. 


This exhibition was organized in conjunction with a course supported in part by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, team-taught by Andrea Inselmann, curator of modern and contemporary art & photography at the Johnson Museum, and Stephanie Owens, visiting assistant professor of art and director of the Cornell Council for the Arts.