Zine of the Endowed Chair

DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSIONS IS MARCH 1, 2016! to what? to the Tepper zine, produced at the behest of Kara Walker, Tepper Chair in Visual Arts.

The purpose of this magazine is to expand on the myriad ways you, as artists, inappropriately  occupy, repurpose and call in to question the societal norms of our built environment.

We talk about architecture knowing that Ghettos exist, official black spots in the social landscape, occupied by the elderly or poor, managed by the state, designed by committee according to a common template. Often, in major cities like New York we think of unpretty tower blocks whose footprint bends the ordinary street grid, diverting the flow of traffic.  We tend to recognize hazard prevention design solutions such as bullet proof glass or steel grids over windows, safety officers in corridors and lately a program called “Omnipresence”  a round the clock police presence featuring giant mercury-vapor work lamps rendering near daylight conditions all night.  This is not architecture in the pure modernist sense, although many of todays housing solutions were borne out of early modern experiments with mass production and repetition.  Instead NY housing authorities design solutions are crime prevention writ large- which to my mind serve as a reminder to all city dwellers, especially in the ‘projects’, that our bodies are not safe and our homes are not our own.  This is the architecture for bodies under siege. 

Cut to Antoine Yates, who in 2003 was discovered to have been raising a 500 lb. tiger in a tiny NYCHA tower block-the Drew Hamilton Houses in Harlem.  What a wonderful undermining of a purely functional, highly oppressive space! What a bold endeavor, born out of Antoine’s stated love of animals, his desire to express care toward his fellow beings and to build his own nature preserve as it were, within his own confines. What happened to Antoine and to Ming is the stuff of tabloid fascination. I consider Antoine Yates to be an architect, a changer of space.

Way back at the start of the school year I put out an ambitious prompt on the Tepper Chair Blog to the Rutgers MFA’s and Thesis students. http://art.rutgers.edu/tepper/index.php/2015/10/14/the-anti-architecture/

I wanted each of you to consider the problem of architectural resistance.  What I mean by that is perhaps up to you, but the idea embraces locations and structures  and actions that actively misuse, undermine and draw attention to oppressive structures in civic space.   Resisters to spacial organization have taken the form of cults, militias, religious separatists, political activists, gangs, hippie communes, drug cartels, secret societies, land artists and the like. In myriad ways outlaw groups have devised deviant spaces to perform their illegal activities.  Likewise, land art projects like Michael Heizer’s unfinished “City”  draw our attention to monumental interventions on the land, to the intersection between sculpture and architecture, to work thats functional, magical, privileged and impoverished. Whereas destroyed structures like the bunker constructed by the Philadelphia Black militant group MOVE, highlight a combustible relationship between political self-determination and civic order.

At a casual November tea some of the students and faculty discussed the Western construction of Nature as a Wilderness meant to be conquered, and openly wondered who has access to that idea of the land, and who actively participates in this myth, who is allowed (and by extension, who is prevented) by society to bend the land to one’s will?

We also discussed the lack of cultural diversity within the practice and theory of architecture-  which to me opens up the playing field, instead of focusing on the lack of richness, lets consider this an opportunity for us to consider who and how ordinary people practice architecture in daily life.

Our Magazine, as yet untitled, is yours to bend as far as it will go, in response to this prompt.  It will exist in two forms, first as a loosely boxed original for the Mason Gross School of Art collection, and as a printed edition (number to be determined) for the broader community including Rutgers and beyond. With special focus on schools of architecture, civic planning and environmental studies. The Tepper Magazine will feature an essay by me and will be presented alongside my school wide lecture this spring on April 19th.

We are accepting one page submissions- open to Visual Arts MFA’s and the BFA thesis students and Faculty.

The format of the final publication will be tabloid: 8.5″ x 11″ pages that opens into 11″ x 17″ spreads.

Submission guidelines:

• Image, text, or object which can be photographed and formatted on a single 8.5″ x 11″ sheet.

• Color or black and white.

• Must be physically dropped off in the Tepper Zine Box by the mailboxes in the Visual Arts Office at 33 Livingston Avenue.

• Must be accompanied by submission form:

Your Full Name:

Class Year or Position:

Title of Work:

Year Produced:


Also please notate the correct orientation.

Your work will not be returned to you, consider this before submitting a precious family heirloom.


If you have any questions please contact Senior Administrative Assistant Cassandra Oliveras: coliveras@masongross.rutgers.edu

NYPD officer repelling down the side of the Drew Hamilton Houses in Harlem, to tranquilize a 500lb tiger that was living there.
NYPD officer rappelling down the side of the Drew Hamilton Houses in Harlem, in order to tranquilize a 500 lb tiger that was living there.
Antoine Yates and Ming, the Harlem tiger
Antoine Yates and Ming, his Harlem raised tiger

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