ALBERTO AGUILAR / ALEX COHEN
I teach painting and drawing at Harold Washington College but I use it as a way to teach other things as well. In one class a while back I had a student like no other. He had a lot of playful energy and would constantly interrupt the class, especially when I would give painting demonstrations. I liked his disruptions and played off his energy. One day he was jumping over stuff in the classroom so I thought it would be funny if he jumped over me as I gave a demo. We had to do a several takes (kicked my head a few times) but he eventually cleared me. We formed a life-long bond and still make work together. Just this past year at Expo Chicago we did a performance together where we set up a table with cotton balls on it and bananas underneath and chairs for people to rest and eat a banana. As people gathered to eat their fruit or figure out what its meaning was, we would come running out of nowhere and both jump over the table, one after the other. My relationship with him is an extraordinary exchange. It’s one that you rarely come across in teaching, but when you do it’s great and generates work on both ends. I taught him how to take play and interruption and make it into art and he taught me how to jump over things.