The semester is now in full swing here at MA Curatorial Practice and I have a great deal to tell you about. Forgive this long note, but there’s much to say.
Of course, the big news is our international summit, "Curatorial Activism and the Politics of Shock." Here is what it is about and who is coming, as announced on Art & Education and Hyperallergic:
On November 18, 2017, we will present a day-long international summit I have organized concerning curatorial activism in light of the rise of nationalism and radical conservatism, and their programmatic attacks on civil rights, environmental protections, scientific research, and free speech, as well as the reduction and rescinding of cultural funds to suppress diverse expression. How must we think about the programs and publics of institutions, both locally and globally, under these political conditions? How can institutions define, present, and perform an ethics or, more pointedly, a polemics in reaction? And if they seek to be polemical, how can they do this within the strictures of governments and commercial powers? In fact, the question must be asked: What is their autonomy and what is their complicity? What can curators within institutions and outside of them do in response to the radical shift now altering our possibilities as individuals, citizens, artists, thinkers, and producers of a (once) liberal culture? And therefore, what is to be done in terms of resistance, sanctuary, and counter-forms of advocacy in the specific political and cultural situations that we work and live in as the 21st century unfolds in ways echoing fascisms of nearly a century ago, hatreds hundreds of years old, and technologies still advancing toward mechanisms of massive fraud and new formations of surveillance?
These are the subjects of curatorial activism that face the politics of shock today, and some of the world’s leading curators and thinkers about museums and exhibitions will gather in New York for a public reading and discussion of manifestos and declarative talks written specially on these topics for this extraordinary event.
Confirmed speakers are currently: Defne Ayas, Director, Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam; Ute Meta Bauer, Director, NTU Centre for Contemporary Art, Singapore; Nicolas Bourriaud, Director, La Panacée, Montpellier; Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, Director, Castello di Rivoli and GAM, Turin; Sofía Hernandez Chong Cuy, Curator of Contemporary Art, Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, New York; Joshua Decter, independent curator and writer, New York; Clémentine Deliss, independent curator, Berlin; former Director, Weltkulturen Museum, Frankfurt; Elena Filipovic, Director, Kunsthalle Basel; Boris Groys, Global Distinguished Professor of Russian and Slavic Studies, New York University, and Senior Research Fellow, Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design; Hou Hanru, Artistic Director, MAXXI, Rome; María Belén Sáez de Ibarra, Director of Cultural Heritage and Director, Museum of Art, National University of Colombia; Maria Lind, Director, Tensta Konsthall, Stockholm; Antonia Majaca, curator and researcher, IZK Institute for Contemporary Art, Graz University of Technology; Chus Martinez, Head of the Institute of Art, FHNW Academy of Art and Design, Basel; Gabi Ngcobo, founding member, NGO (Nothing Gets Organised), Johannesburg, and Curator, 10th Berlin Biennale; Hans Ulrich Obrist, Artistic Director, Serpentine Gallery, London; Jack Persekian, independent curator, Jerusalem, and former Director and Head Curator, The Palestinian Museum, Birzeit; Pi Li, Senior Curator, M+, Hong Kong; Terry Smith, Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Contemporary Art History and Theory, Department of the History of Art and Architecture, University of Pittsburgh, and Professor in the Division of Philosophy, Art and Critical Theory at the European Graduate School, Saas-Fee; Mick Wilson, Director, Valand Academy, University of Gothenburg; and Tirdad Zolghadr, artistic director, Sommerakademie, Paul Klee Zentrum, Bern, and Associate Curator, KW Institute, Berlin. Moderators for the panel conversations during the day include Adrienne Edwards, Curator, Performa, New York, and Visual Arts Curator at Large, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Brian Kuan Wood, Founding Editor, e-flux journal, and Director of Research, SVA MA Curatorial Practice, New York.
The summit will take place at the SVA Theatre, 333 West 23rd Street, New York, New York, on Saturday, November 18, 2017, from 10 am to 5 pm. To see all the details about the summit and to register for it, click here. The summit is free and open to the public.
But this isn’t our only news. I’m delighted to say that our most recent graduates from the program have in the last few months accepted curatorial positions at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Art in General, New York; Independent Curators International, New York; e-flux, New York; the Inter-American Development Bank, Washington, DC; and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. This is a remarkable level of success and proves that our program is highly valued in the professional art world, that our graduates are showing that the knowledge they gained in the program and the worldwide contacts they made here are paying off in the most direct and important way: jobs.
Our students who finished the first year, joined me in Kassel for the opening of documenta, where we had wonderful meetings to discuss the exhibition with two of its curators, Hendrik Folkerts and Dieter Roelstraete, along with three of the world’s leading curators: Clémentine Deliss, Hou Hanru, and Maria Lind. Then they had their summer internships across Europe, Latin America, and the US with extraordinary mentors, including, in fact, Maria and Hanru, along with Nicolas Bourriaud in Montpellier, José Roca in Bogotá, Gabriele Horn in Berlin, Leeza Ahmady and Hitomi Iwasaki in New York, and Rebecca Senf in Tucson.
Other news: Brian Kuan Wood, who is a member of our faculty and is a founding editor of e-flux journal, one of the world’s leading intellectual journals in the field of art, is joining us as our Director of Research. Brian will work with me on programming, research, and academic issues. He brings brilliant thinking and a global network of curators and artists, and I’m thrilled to have him join us.
I’m also thrilled to announce three new faculty members this year. Lumi Tan, a curator at The Kitchen, is teaching our case study seminar on curating performance art. Roddy Schrock, the director of Eyebeam, will teach the case study seminar on curating digital media. And Mia Locks, a leading independent curator who co-curated the most recent Whitney Biennial, will lead our exhibition practicum.
And last, we are now accepting applications for fulltime students and for part-time students under certain conditions. Now is the time to start thinking about applying. For more information about the program and applying, click here.
Steven Henry Madoff
Chair, MA Curatorial Practice