Beginning in 1968, the University of California, Irvine, was host to an experiment in intercultural exchange and artistic and social scientific learning through practice. Located on the edges of William Pereira’s California Brutalist campus, the Farm was a space for craftspeople from Guatemala, Mexico, and Samoa to demonstrate their skills; a laboratory for new methods in education and research; and an unexpected countercultural gathering site. Learning by Doing at the Farm reflects upon this unusual experiment, which brought together Cold War politics, modern development, and indigenous peoples drawn into the strange intellectual and cultural circumstances of 1960s California. Through previously unexhibited photographs, archival documentation, original artwork, and a curator’s essay, this exhibition offers a glimpse of various actors’ dreams of what the Farm could become and the collaborations that actually unfolded there.
Learning by Doing at the Farm was on display in the Outreach Gallery at the UCI Contemporary Arts Center from June 14th to July 26th, 2012. This history is now the subject of a book edited by Robert Kett and Anna Kryczka entitled Learning by Doing at the Farm: Craft, Science, and Counterculture in Modern California published by Soberscove Press with support from the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts (2014).
Made possible by a grant from the University of California Institute for
Research in the Arts. Part of UCI’s 50-to-50 Anniversary event.