The Immaterialization of Art Education’s Labor: Disciplined-Based Knowledge Production and the 1965 Penn State Seminar

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This paper situates the 1965 Penn State Seminar within the post-industrial turn in the United States and examines how the emerging disciplinary framework for art education that reconfigured the content of art curricula from manual activities to cognitive capacities reflected the changing landscape of work in the American society. Drawing from Maurizio Lazzarato’s concept of immaterial labor, I propose that the 1965 Seminar helped to set new criteria for art education’s labor that put the emphasis on immaterial practices of art education. I focus specifically on two sets of criteria: one proposed by art educator Manuel Barkan and the other articulated by Allan Kaprow, the only artist who was invited to speak in the seminar. I suggest that they both, in their own ways, made it possible to imagine the outcomes of art education beyond its manifestations as therapeutic and/or self-expressive objects and turn it into a social and economic relation that ensured the need for art education in a society where the very nature of work was changing.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTransdisciplinary Inquiry, Practice, and Possibilities in Art Education
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings from The Penn State Seminar @50
PublisherPennsylvania State University Libraries Open Publishing
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2019
MoE publication typeD3 Professional conference proceedings
EventPenn State Seminar in Art Education @50 Conference: Transdisciplinary Inquiry, Practice, and Possibilities - The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, United States
Duration: 1 Apr 20163 Apr 2016


ConferencePenn State Seminar in Art Education @50 Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityUniversity Park
Internet address


  • immaterial labor
  • art education
  • Allan Kaprow
  • Manuel Barkan


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