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Questions of Practice: Visual Artist Jeanne van Heeswijk on the City as Subject

In conjunction with the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s large-scale project, Philadelphia Assembled, we spoke to artist Jeanne van Heeswijk about how she thinks of a city and its residents in the context of her work. “The city is my working space…it’s not something in which I place my work, but it is the working space itself,” she says. While working on Philadelphia Assembled, van Heeswijk says she spoke to over 350 people and collected their ideas about what makes Philadelphia the city it is. “I’m always very interested not so much in the physical infrastructure of a city, but in the emotional, relational tissue of a city.”

With Center support, the Philadelphia Museum of Art collaborated with van Heeswijk and a group of local artists and community members to present Philadelphia Assembled, an expansive project that combines art, performance, and civic engagement to reflect on Philadelphia’s urban fabric. The culminating exhibition is on view through December 10, 2017.Watch van Heeswijk discuss collective authorship.>>

Jeanne van Heeswijk is an artist whose work centers on the complex relationship between public space and urban renewal. Her work has been featured in publications and exhibitions worldwide, including the Liverpool, Shanghai, and Venice biennials. She is the recipient of the Curry Stone Prize for Social Design Pioneers, and the inaugural Keith Haring Fellowship in Art and Activism at Bard College.