Collaborative Bodhisattva Detail from Durham Get Together Celebration, 2008

Lecture: Brett Cook

March 18, 2009
6pm Reception, 6:30pm Lecture
Brett Cook
Steinberg Auditorium


Brett Cook integrates his diverse training in art, education, social sciences, and contemplative traditions to create a spectrum of objects and experiences that transcend classification in any singular discipline. He engages in both individual and collaborative processes of expression to promote community and celebrate the interconnectedness of all things. His lecture is titled, "Collaborative Aesthetics: A Dialogue about Community and Soul."

Cook’s solo practice includes fabricating engaging art works that honor the best of humanity in all of us. At other times, he may not make any objects while working with large groups of people. Through mindful interpersonal dialogue, the conceptual co-development of a protocol, or a contemplative curriculum, he facilitates collective creativity and builds environments where other people will make things, whether they be objects, ideas, or new ways of being.

Concurrent with a practice manifested in public projects since 1984, Cook’s work has been shown at museums and galleries since 1991. His public works have been executed in the United States from California to Maine, and internationally in Brazil, Barbados, and Mexico. He has engaged in community-based projects focusing on such diverse subjects as spirituality, poets and intellectuals, politics, wellness, and place. Cook connects his work to exceptionally wide audiences using participatory ethnographic strategies, progressive educational pedagogy, and community organizing. His art has been recognized and included in exhibitions at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery and Anacostia Museum; galleries in New York, Chicago, Boston, and San Francisco; and universities in Arizona, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Michigan, and Ohio.

His work in museums and galleries takes on a variety of skillfully crafted forms, with a recurrent emphasis on painting, drawing, and photography. He frequently documents moments of radical, exploratory growth through elaborate installations that make intimately personal experiences universally accessible. Exhibitions of his work regularly include participatory public projects installations, using a wide variety of media to model the stories of transformation that occur through social collaboration.

Visit Brett Cook's website for more information.