Mike Nourse, a co-founder of the Chicago Art Department, has reconciled his love-hate relationship with iPhones by creating a five-week art class around the phone, reports the New York Times. Despite his mixed feelings about Apple’s phone–its ubiquity, its utility, and its ability to extinguish conversation–he said the course was an obvious vehicle for the art department, an all-volunteer organization that describes itself as "dedicated to cultivating new voices, ideas, and practices in contemporary art." "We’ve always been rooted in accessible art," Nourse said. "The idea that people could create art with something in their pocket–that seemed like something we needed to tackle." The iPhone class has eight students. Each is responsible for producing a project for a public exhibition titled "iPhone Therefore iArt." To create a kind of high-tech cross-cultural exchange, Nourse has also solicited work from a number of relatively well-known iPhone artists, including Susan Murtaugh, a classically trained portraitist who was recently commissioned to "paint" portraits of five members of a corporation’s executive board. Nourse is not the first to teach an iPhone art class, and Murtaugh is not the first to use a touch-screen device to break into mainstream art. The artist Jorge Colombo used his iPhone and its $5 Brushes application to create a New York City streetscape for the June 1 cover of The New Yorker magazine. While Colombo’s cover demonstrated the medium’s commercial potential, it was not enough to convince some artists and intellectuals of its legitimacy. Many members of the Chicago Art Department say this kind of hand-wringing has accompanied every defining moment in the evolution of art…

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