Jun 20 2017 — Aug 10 2017


Part of Tania Bruguera: Talking to Power / Hablándole al Poder

Summer School. YBCA Style.

This summer, join renowned political artist Tania Bruguera in exploring how art can be used as a tool for social and political change. The Escuela de Arte Útil convenes in YBCA’s gallery-turned-classroom, where students will learn about the creation of “useful art” from Bruguera, influential guest instructors, and the Bay Area artists and organizations already practicing arte útil in our community.

Classes are held Tuesday-Thursday, Jun 20 – Aug 10, from 4-8PM. Free with gallery admission, classes can be joined on a drop-in basis (no advance registration available). Can’t make class? Keynote lectures will be live streamed & archived on YBCA’s Facebook page.

See the full syllabus below.

Keynote lectures by guest instructors: Weekly on Tuesdays, Jun 20 – Aug 10, 6–8PM.
Watch livestream videos of our lectures»

How to participate

Drop-in to YBCA’s galleries for lectures that interest you. Planning to come more than once? Consider becoming a YBCA member to get free, unlimited gallery entrance.
Join now»


Whether through self-organized groups, individual initiatives, or the rise of user-generated content, people are developing new methods and social formations to deal with issues that were once the domain of the state. These initiatives are not isolated incidents, but also part of an art history that has been neglected, yet shapes our contemporary world. This class will focus on the concept of Arte Útil, which roughly translates into English as “useful art,” while also suggesting that art can be a tool or device. Studying the shifting role of contemporary art, the class will consider factors of the practice of Arte Útil such as institutional self-criticism, active hyperrealism, a-legality, reforming capital, beneficial outcomes, sustainability, intersection with other disciplines, and modes of creative collaboration. We will have weekly guest lectures and case study presentations, as well as access to ongoing Arte Útil projects in the Bay Area.

Class Schedule

(Subject to change)

WEEK 1 Jun 20–22: Introduction to Arte Útil
Instructor: Tania Bruguera

WEEK 2 Jun 27–29: Institutional Self-Criticism
Instructor: Alistair Hudson

WEEK 3* Jul 5–8: Active Hyperrealism
Instructor: Debt Collective
Bay Area arte útil practitioner: Karissa McKelvey of Strike Debt Bay Area
*schedule altered for July 4 holiday. Lecture will be given
Wed, Jul 5, 6–8PM

WEEK 4 Jul 11–13: Reforming Capital
Instructor: Jeanne van Heeswijk
Bay Area arte útil practitioner: Fieldfaring (Ted Purves and Susanne Cockrell)

WEEK 5 Jul 18–20: A-legality
Instructor: WochenKlausur

WEEK 6 Jul 25–27: Sustainable Outcomes
Instructor: Rick Lowe
Bay Area arte útil practitioner: The Anti-Eviction Mapping Project

WEEK 7 Aug 1–3: Usership
Instructor: Tania Bruguera
Bay Area arte útil practitioner: Bonnie Ora Sherk

WEEK 8 Aug 8–10: Conclusion
Individual project presentation

See full class syllabus»


Escuela de Arte Útil, a commissioned art project for the exhibition Tania Bruguera: Talking to Power / Hablándole al Poder, is organized by Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, in collaboration with California College of the Arts, San Francisco Art Institute, the University of California, Berkeley, San Francisco State University, Asociación de Arte Útil, and YBCA Fellows.

Tania Bruguera: Talking to Power / Hablándole al Poder is organized by Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and curated by Lucía Sanromán, director of visual arts, and Susie Kantor, curatorial associate. The exhibition is supported, in part, by the Alvarez Family Foundation and The Growlery. Additional support provided by Changing the Ratio: Female Artists at YBCA Circle of Advisors Berit Ashla, Rekha Patel, and Catalina Ruiz-Healy.

YBCA Exhibitions 16–17 are made possible in part by:
Mike Wilkins and Sheila Duignan, Meridee Moore and Kevin King, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, and The Creative Ventures Council.

Free First Tuesdays underwritten by Directors Forum Members.

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts is grateful to the City of San Francisco for its ongoing support.

Lead Image: Courtesy Asociación de Arte Útil