Category Archives: Events

Events that may be of interest and pertinence to the class.

Reflections on Public Programming 3.22.2014

I looked back to the Zotero for the course to find articles about the discourse surrounding public programming, but could not find any resources to help me contextualize my own reflections, so I delved deeper into Terry Smith’s “Thinking Contemporary Curating”. In the last chapter, “The Infrastructural”, I found some important points that he brings up that I think are worth mentioning here.

He writes, “ The institution is now not just the museum but a whole industry that has grown up around exhibition making’..So has its need to activate infrastructure”. I think what Smith is saying here is that it is important to find ways to utilize other physical spaces, buildings, structures (i.e. infrastructure) to further activate the exhibition. Obviously, this is something that has become an integral part of curating today which is why from the start of the exhibition making public programming was structured then further developed for our class.

However, I take caution when he says that exhibition making has become an entire industry. The implication it has become an industry implies the manufacturing of goods and production. Because of this it is important to create programming around an exhibit that also transcends the infrastructure of an art space or learning institute. Smith write about, Paula Marincola’s provocation: “Can we ever get beyond the essential conservatism of displaying works of art in conventional, dedicated spaces?’ resonates through the exhibitionary complex, shaking the presumption of each kind of venue that it is a special domain for art. When we move inside these structures to the kinds of exhibitions that curators regularly stage, a widespread contemporary impulse is voiced by Obrist’s regular refrain: ‘We must experiment with ways beyond objects’ (250).

How one may be able to do this is through diverse public programming. I was able to attend some of the earlier public programming events. The first event I attended was the panel discussion we held before the exhibit opening, “Celebrating Contemporary Guatemalan Art: Conversations with Artists & Curators”.

I was happy that at this event we were able to have speakers like Jessica Kaire who was exhibiting a piece in our exhibition and artist Terike Haapoja in direct discussion with curators. The discussion between artist and curator is important because of the ever changing relationship between the two and art and art production today. I was a little confused by Jamie Permuth’s position on the panel, or rather the interaction on the panel with him. He is a Guatemalan artist making contemporary art, many times with Guatemala as it’s subject matter. However, at one point during the discussion it seemed to me as though he indicated that perhaps he would not call what happened in Guatemala a genocide, or at least that he likes to distance his work from this association. My interpretation could most certainly be wrong, but I think that this would have been a great opportunity for someone on the panel to further explore and or clarify this positioning with him and the public since our exhibit takes resurfacing invisible injustices as one of it’s main curatorial threads.

I was unable to attend the performance pieces and wish that I was able to, but with a 6 day work week it was just not possible. These programs are important to our overall public programming strategy because they respond to Marincola’s provocation that I mentioned before, “Can we ever get beyond the essential conservatism of displaying works of art in conventional, dedicated spaces?”. I think that with programs like the Walk Exchange and Regina Galindo’s performance in New York we can in some small ways do this. In these instances the public programming was actually public- outside The New School and the exhibition space, which in and of itself makes a different sort of impact.

I am really looking forward to the public programming on Saturday surrounding New Masculinities because I feel that this event is poised to create continuing, ongoing, important, and divergent conversations about our exhibit. I cannot speak for the other events that I was not able to attend, but I think this event will create more critical thinking and reflection on the actual exhibit that is needed.


Opening Reflections

Unfortunately, on short notice this week I was not able to visit the gallery with a friend to engage in a discussion.  I will try to do this later on this week, I definitely see the merit in doing this to understand our “museography” because there are some particular items I am curious about and how they are translated by a public that is more distanced from this project than the class and I.  My main question is how the public interacts with the timeline and projected piece in the hallway.  I wonder if it is blatantly obvious that this is a part of our exhibit, particularly the projection as it is located farthest from the entrance to the exhibit.  At the same time, it engages students who naturally flow through the building and are aware that there are often shows exhibited in the space, which I have witnessed with past exhibits and with ours.

I also have some questions that may seem obvious, but have not thought about until the opening. In general, I am curious about how the public at large engages with our exhibit, meaning outside of The New School Community.  The location of our exhibit in the Aronson Gallery is a great location and the window looking in is welcoming and inviting to the public.  However, access to the public in reality seems somewhat limited.  In order to gain access to the exhibit students have to use their ID cards to first enter the building.  I understand why this security check is in place, but also wonder what effect this has on the outside public coming to visit the gallery.  I would think it would be an immediate deterrent and have some logistical questions about whether and how the security guards allow the public into the gallery (especially when there are not specific events going, like the grand opening).

Before the exhibit was installed, I wrote that a major curatorial consideration would be not only how we tell the story of Guatemala after the Genocide, but how we could guarantee that certain projects voices weren’t heard more than others.  This is where the O’Neill reading was particularly helpful, especially his idea of “The Exhibition as Form”, which focuses specifically with group exhibitions, like ours.  I think we were able to address this issue which was difficult- the challenge of having a cohesive exhibition that allowed the works to still speak their individual stories, but would need to hear more feedback from the audience and how the artists who presented work felt that they were understood.

O’Neill’s categorization of spaces within the exhibit as being either background, foreground, and middle ground was helpful to me in understanding our group exhibit.  The background is the structure/architecture of the space, this area was easier to figure out. I mentioned the hallway and window structures before.  I think the window structure was especially helpful and crucial to ensuring that more projects were able to be shown in the foreground and not fall by the wayside.  Pointing the microphones to the street, as if poised to ask a question was a great way to give this piece a more of a headlining position .  If the window was a wall, this piece would be relegated to the farthest corner from the entrance and may have gotten less traffic.

I am interested to observe the public interact with the exhibit and will reflect more when I engage a friend about the exhibit. what do they

Post-Exhibition Reflection

Upon arriving at the exhibition opening I was struck by how minimal, muted and sparse the space seemed. It was airy and each piece was more or less thoughtfully laid out. Given the gravity of the subject matter, and the sheer number of artists being represented, I expected the exhibit to feel more chaotic and populated. The overall layout was palatable, almost unassuming and the placement of each piece felt purposeful. If I were to offer any criticism concerning the “museography” of the exhibition, it would mostly concern the language/writing of the placards and the timeline, which was overdone and poorly designed. In addition to the strange color combinations, which were distracting and aesthetically off-putting, there was far too much information on the timeline without the necessary context to properly situate the content. If the timeline were to be redone, I would have it heavily stripped and make sure that the language presented was meaningful; illustrating quality over merely sheer quantity.

Regarding the setup, “The Metamorphosis of Devaluation,” felt incredibly contrived and confused despite our best efforts to bring integrity and authenticity to the work. The receipts were pinned as flippantly to the sidewall as one would place memos on a corkboard in a conference room and the quality of all the prints in the entire exhibition was blatantly poor. There was a craft (DIY) element to how things were presented which, depending on taste, could be perceived as either charming or cheap. To improve the presentation of The Metamorphosis of Devaluation, I would actually take the whole project down and completely reconstruct the concept. This would obviously mean that the entire design and delivery would be different. The other work that I was equally unmoved by in terms of both its visual layout and labeling was the “Cliff Writing” by Yasmin Hage. I do not think there is a lot of clarity of thought behind this project and its manifestation was a sincere stretch to me. The intent to illustrate “ancient text in classic Mayan language,” had potential, however, unfortunately the project as a whole simply fell flat.

Alternatively, I did think that Sitio-Sena’s work was well displayed and I could immediately see the work and thought that went into the project. That said, I wasn’t really taken by it and rather immediately thought about the incredible work I have seen being done with encoded textiles and “coded stories” by other artists. Sitio-Sena reminded me of the work of Guillermo Bert, however, his artistic voice has far more presence and intentionality behind it. Bert designs hand-woven, large-scale tapestries, which, combine contemporary bar codes, indigenous design methods, and the stories of native peoples in order to both celebrate and revive traditional art forms. Guillermo’s work is both clear and incredibly layered and his production seamlessly conveys the intricate histories of indigenous weavers in Southern Chile. Sitio-Sena was successful in its depiction of a collaborative art project, but I personally failed to see the analogy between what happened with African slaves and the Underground Railroad in The United States and current migration between the U.S. and Guatemala. I found this element of Sitio-Sena to be incredibly problematic in myriad ways.

Lastly, two works that I did find compelling were K’ak’ Mul (Nuevamente. Otra Vez)/ K’ak’ Mul (Once More, Again) and Quema. Although very literal, Quenma was visually beautiful and displayed a vulnerability which, I found refreshing, compared to other pieces in Guatemala Despues. It alluded to other historic cases of persecution, censorship and book burning, therefore, it was memorable to me. Moreover, K’ak’ Mul was independently powerful, however, I’m afraid that given its placement, most people fail to take note of it. The piece was a modestly constructed video clip that showed the commemoration of activities conducted at the peak of Mt. Alaska, where a massacre of protesters took place in 2012. These two pieces provoked me on both an intellectual and emotional level, however as a whole and given the thematic nature of the artworks, the exhibition fell short. No one narrative was coherently crafted and as a result, I think a lot of value became lost in translation. Once I left and crossed the street, almost immediately, I stopped thinking about what I had just seen.

New Territories

Specters of Communism: Contemporary Russian Art

Feb 6, 2015, 6:00 pm to Mar 28, 2015, 8:00 pm
The James Gallery

– See more at:

Curated by Boris Groys, Professor of Russian and Slavic Studies, New York University.

Join us for the opening reception on Friday, February 6, 6-8pm.

In contemporary Russia, where official political and cultural attitudes have become increasingly conservative, a new generation of Russian artists continue the critical tradition of the Russian Left and utopianism of the Russian avant-garde. Taking up this desire to change reality by means of art, they explore ideals of equality and social justice, radical politics, secularism and internationalism, without forgetting the long history of post-revolutionary violence. Guest curated by Boris Groys and held at both the James Gallery and e-flux exhibition space downtown, this exhibition includes the works of artists from Moscow, St. Petersburg, and New York.

This exhibition is organized in collaboration with e-flux, where art by Anton Ginzburg, Pussy Riot, and Arseny Zhilyaev is on view.

Opening at e-flux: Tue, Feb 10, 6-8pm
8pm: Anton Vidokle, The Communist Revolution Was Caused By The Sun

e-flux location of the exhibition on view: Wed, Feb 11 – Sat, Mar 28
311 East Broadway

PLAYING WITH FIRE: Political Interventions, Dissident Acts, and Mischievous Actions

PLAYING WITH FIRE: Political Interventions, Dissident Acts, and Mischievous Actions

September 6, 2014 – February 7, 2015

Tracing the founding of El Museo del Barrio by Raphael Montañez Ortíz at the end of the 60s, an era of social unrest and radical activism in the United States as well as throughout the Americas, the works in this exhibition target colonialism, imperialism, urban neglect, and cultural hegemony with a vast array of weapons, including irreverence and humor. The artists confront the status quo with a wide range of disarming conceptual strategies and aesthetic detonators. The fire that surfaces in some of the artworks points to an equally dangerous and alluring element that consumes and transforms, one that must be handled with care.

Playing with Fire: Political Interventions, Dissident Acts, and Mischievous Actions purposely welcomes impolite, undomesticated, rebellious, hilarious, and even sacrilegious discourses and gestures that stick out their tongues at oppressive systems and push for the re-politicization of society and the art space.

PARTICIPATING ARTISTS: ADAL, Manuel Acevedo, Maris Bustamante, Nao Bustamante, Papo Colo, Abigail DeVille, Alejandro Diaz, Adonis Flores, Ester Hernández, Javier Hinojosa (b. 1956, México, D.F.) with the collaboration of Melquiades Herrera (Mexico, D.F., 1949-2003), Jessica Kairé, Carlos Jesus Martinez Dominguez, Ricardo Miranda Zúñiga, Carlos Ortíz, Pedro Pietri, Jesús Natalio Puras Penzo (APECO), Quintín Rivera Toro, Juan Sánchez.

The exhibition, as part of El Museo’s Carmen Ana Unanue gallery is guest curated by multi-disciplinary artist Nicolás Dumit Estévez.


Film Preview & Talk: Zona Intervenida // Colectivo Andén
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
ICI Curatorial Hub

401 Broadway, Suite 1620
Nitin Sawhney speaks about his upcoming documentary Zona Intervenida, co-produced with the Andén Collective in Guatemala, with a limited sneak preview of the work-in-progress film. He will also briefly discuss his emerging curatorial research project, Guatemala Después.

About Zona Intervenida
The film is an artistic exploration of the historic memory of violence, civil war and apathy in Guatemala. It follows a collective of young artists who use dance, performance, and poetry to intervene in a former train station in Quetzaltenango, which was converted to a military base during the worst atrocities of the war. Through movement, music, seeds and spoken word, the artists seek to activate and transform the dark memories of the space, while engaging public imagination and bringing light to Guatemala’s silenced past.

More about the project:

View the trailer HERE.
This event is a free limited-engagement screening. To attend, please RSVP to withZONA in the subject line.

Beat Nation: When contemporary and traditional are no longer a binary opposition

 BN_install_29.tif BN_install_28.tif

Images from the Museum of Contemporary Art of Montreal

It is widely known that over the centuries the image of the indigenous people has been constructed from a Eurocentric point of view. Whether in Latin America, in Europe, or in the U.S., the aborigines are typically associated with ideas of tradition and subjugation, often perceived as naïve or even weak, as an ancient group whose existence in present times seems anachronistic.

Aborigine artistic practices are equally affected by these ideas. The category of indigenous art is a very impermeable one, at least from the hegemonic discourses. For many, the phrase “contemporary indigenous art” is just a contradiction. Surprisingly –for them- aborigine art can be contemporary in more than one way.

First, there is the time frame: Every artistic practice that exists in this time is somehow contemporary. That is kind of obvious, and while there are many indigenous individuals producing any kind of artistic pieces at the moment –and that is something that worth highlighting-, this is not the sense of contemporaneity I want to focus on.

Then, there are two other possible ways of understanding the label “contemporary indigenous art”: One that perceives it as aborigine artists using the contemporary, new forms of art (street art, performance art, video art, conceptual art…); and other that considers how aborigine art has for long evidenced some conditions that now are attributed to contemporary times (fragmentation, multiplicity, its ludic and ephemeral character…). Both of them are very interesting approaches that deserve a closer look, and I want to use the Beat Nation: Art, Hip Hop, and Aboriginal Culture exhibition, -showcased in Canada last year- to illustrate my point from now on.

Beat Nation was born in 2006 as a website based gallery, and in the summer of 2013 opened as an art exhibition “…featuring more than two dozen artists using beats, graffiti, humor and politics to challenge stereotypes, the exhibit coincides with the growth of Idle No More, an indigenous political movement in Canada.” (Sommerstein, ¶2)

At first glance, Beat Nation is indigenous art as it showcases aborigine artists practicing all kinds of contemporary art forms.

Now, I want to bring up a term that Oswald de Andrade coined in 1928, and that is mentioned in the article Against Latin American Art written by Gerardo Mosquera, to define a process of appropriation of a dominant culture, when referring to Latin American contemporary art: anthropophagy.

One might be tempted to identify this exhibition as an act of anthropophagy, as a way for indigenous culture to adapt to new times in order to survive. In fact, Beat Nation showed a phenomenon much more complex than that.

It happens that the principles of hip hop, of performance, of breakdance, and even of graffiti have somehow been long embedded in Canadian indigenous cultures -and in indigenous culture worldwide: The human body as center of some  rituals, the idea of taking over public spaces with painting, the circular perception of time (the beat); these are all aborigine ideas and practices. So, could we say that in Beat Nation indigenous artists where appropriating of a dominant culture? Who is appropriating whom? What is traditional and what is contemporary in this exhibition? What belongs to the dominant culture and what to the dominated?

Néstor García Canclini, an Argentinian communication theorist, coined another term that seems much more suitable for this case: Cultural hybridization. In the article Against Latin American Art, Mosquera quotes Canclini: “[Cultural hybridization is] not the synonymous of fusion without contradiction; it rather help[s] to show peculiar forms of conflict generated in recent intercultural dynamics that have taken place in Latin America [and the world], amid the decadence of national projects of modernization.” (p.15)

Even though this concept does not gives us all the answers to the previous questions, it certainly seems a much more appropriate lens with which to read Beat Nation‘s exhibition, and to comprehend the complexity of he tensions and interplay between contemporary art and indigenous art in Canada, Latin America, and across the globe.

Bonus Content: Here is a video of  the exhibition.


Mosquera, Gerardo (w.d.). Against Latin American Art. Contemporary Art in Latin America. Artworld, Black Dog Publishing.

Sommerstein, David (2014). Hip hop’s Aboriginal Connection. Recovered in September 17, 2014, through the link:

Musée D’Art Contemporain De Montréal. Beat Nation: Art, Hip Hop, and Aboriginal Culture. Recovered in September 17, 2014, through the link:

The GIDEST, Krzysztof Wodiczko and his interrogative design

The brand new Graduate Institute for Design, Ethnography & Social Thought (GIDEST) is opening its doors at The New School with a series of interesting seminars from its faculty fellows and other relevant guests. While checking its schedule, I noticed that one of the sessions can be of particular interest for the class:

“Krzysztof WodiczkoProfessor in Residence of Art, Design, and the Public Domain at the Graduate School of Design at Harvard, is world-renowned for his pioneering, large-scale video projections on landmark architecture and public monuments that explore the relationships between art, democracy, war, trauma, and healing. His practice, Interrogative Design, combines art and technology to highlight marginal social communities and add legitimacy to cultural issues that are often given little design attention. ” (From GIDEST website)

We reviewed part of his work during our first class, I believe. His seminar will be on Friday, October 10, from 11:00am to 1:00pm in the GIDEST Lab at 411, 63 Fifth Avenue. For all GIDEST seminars, the speakers will upload in advance on the website some relevant readings that will serve as a starting point for the discussions.

Hope to see you all there.


Krzysztof Wodiczko, Tijuana Projection, 2001.
Public projection of live images and sound at the Centro Cultural de Tijuana, as part of
InSite 2000. Image from website