Suicide Solution

Posted · 4 Comments

Boris Groys presented a keynote address called “The Museum as Gesamkunstwerk” to kick off a daylong conference, “Exhibit A: Authorship on Display,” that explored historical and contemporary approaches to organizing exhibitions. His accent made it difficult for me to concentrate, and he repeatedly chuckled at what seemed like minor disciplinary quibbles between he and other theorists. He relayed that, according to the nineteenth-century composer Richard Wagner, “the artist of the future must be radically indifferent” and boldly claimed that “dictatorship is a curatorial project” and documentation of it supplies nostalgia for the ephemeral event.

Spectacular Vernacular

Posted · Add Comment

“In fifty to one hundred years,” Brian Droitcour said during his lecture on “Vernacular Criticism” at the New Museum of Contemporary Art, “the exhibition review might become a sonnet.” The arts of literature and theater were certainly on his mind, as he began his talk by reciting two of his cheeky Yelp reviews on venerated New York art institutions—the Frick Collection and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum—from memory for a full auditorium.

Closed until Further Notice

Posted · 1 Comment

For over two weeks this month, the museums of the Smithsonian Institution, the National Gallery of Art, and other national memorials, parks, and zoos closed their doors and locked their gates because the United States Congress shut down the federal government. The National Museum of Serbia has been closed for fourteen years, the artist Saša Tkačenko told a small group that gathered for a salon at the International Studio and Curatorial Program in Brooklyn. And the Museum of Contemporary Art has been shuttered for six years.

The Emaciated Spectator

Posted · Add Comment

What is an audience? Anyone and anything, really: concert ticket holders, participants in a political rally, a random gathering of passersby. A filmmaker or playwright certainly wants to fill theater seats, and an author aspires to place on a best-seller and/or best-of list. An art dealer seeks both wealthy collectors and gallery foot traffic, and an artist desires the respect of fellow artists or the attention of a powerful curator.

Art after Institutions after Art

Posted · Add Comment

For the final panel of the Museum as Hub Conference, called “Institutions after Art,” the moderator, Taraneh Fazeli, education associate at the New Museum, wanted to explore institutional programming, alliances, content, context, and power dynamics, not just the status of structures that support artists. The Museum as Hub has supported exhibitions as a coproducer. What else can noncuratorial departments, independent groups, and nonprofit organizations do?

Institutionalized

Posted · 3 Comments

“Networked Institutions/Institutionalized Networks” sought to shed light on the dynamics of collaboration among institutions—now considered a common way of working in the art and museum worlds—that may have become obscured. Should networks increase an individual’s productivity? Is a network altruistic? Can schemata such as Alfred H. Barr Jr.’s famous diagram of the evolution of modern art, the research-based work of Mark Lombardi, and the politically oriented wall drawings of Dan Perjovschi be considered networks?

Toward a Strategic Regionalism

Posted · 3 Comments

According to Annie Fletcher, curator at the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, the professor Irit Rogoff once wrote that “you can’t have a position without a location.” A location, Fletcher explained further, can be psychic, historical, and sexual. Despite this expanded denotation, geography and its larger concept, proximity, nevertheless remains a perceived obstacle that needs to be overcome. The second panel for the Museum as Hub Conference, “Choosing Your Neighbors,” aimed to cover partnerships among institutions from across the globe and to address concerns of provincialism.

How Does It Feel to Feel?

Posted · 3 Comments

A focus on inventive educational programming in art museums is decades old, as Michelle Jubin has brought to light in her essay “Museum Education and the Pedagogic Turn,” but the recent intensive focus on it—especially in relation to curatorial authorship, relational aesthetics, and social practice—has produced a new class of cultural workers that focus on the intersections of art, learning, technology, and the public.

Contemporary Histories of the Historical Contemporary

Posted · Add Comment

This panel celebrated and promoted the release of a new anthology called Contemporary Art: 1989 to the Present (2013), edited by the event’s moderators, the art historians Alexander Dumbadze and Suzanne Hudson. Published by Wiley-Blackwell, Contemporary Art: 1989 to the Present is a collection of short essays by critics, curators, historians, theorists, and collectives on discursive themes such as biennials, participation, and activism, with three essays on each topic. The contributors—four of whom spoke on the panel—are names familiar to anyone who regularly reads Artforum, October, and related cultural journals.

Affective Technologies

Posted · Add Comment

The Kitchen invited Hal Foster, a historian, critic, and professor of art at Princeton University, to discuss his two recently published books. After an introduction by Tim Griffin, director and chief curator of the venerable institution, the soft-spoken Foster established the evening’s agenda: he would read from the books before being joined by Griffin (and then the audience) for a Q&A. The following narrative draws from both parts.

 

IN TERMS OF

Reviews of lectures, panels, interviews, conferences, and other live speaking engagements in the visual arts.

 
Funding for In Term Of has been provided by the Arts Writers Grant Program.