Johanna Burton and Gideon Lester
Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College | Annandale-on-Hudson, NY
Choreography was an experimental curatorial venture that aimed to position dance in relation to art and art to dance without collapsing their useful differences. Utilizing a cross-platform construction, Choreography comprised new commissions by artists who identify dance as part of their larger artistic practice and emphasize what is particular to dance in order to more specifically consider discussions as they occur across mediums.
EN MAS': CARNIVAL 21st CENTURY STYLE
Claire Tancons and Krista A. Thompson
Contemporary Arts Center | New Orleans, LA
En Mas: Carnival 21st Century Style explored the intersections between contemporary art and historical masquerade in the Caribbean and its diaspora. The project, comprising a series of performances and video-based exhibitions took place over the course of two years across eight different communities in the United States, the Caribbean, Canada, and the United Kingdom that have vibrant masquerade traditions.
COVERT OPERATIONS: INVESTIGATING THE KNOWN UNKNOWNS
Claire C. Carter
Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art | Scottsdale, AZ
Covert Operations presented works by approximately 15 multi-disciplinary visual artists and collaboratives that earnestly undertook the weighty responsibility of making the invisible visible to the rest of us. The rich, conceptual themes in Covert Operations included secrecy and disclosure, violence, power, subterfuge, surveillance, territory, geography and the visible versus the hidden.
GREEN ACRES: ARTISTS FARMING FIELDS, GREENHOUSES AND ABANDONED LOTS
Contemporary Arts Center | Cincinnati, OH
In the past 40 years, artists have played a significant role in creating a greater awareness of the importance of local, fresh produce. To this end, artists have adopted farming skills so as to facilitate community actions, inspire local identities, foster self-reliance, improve food quality, and demonstrate sustainable farming practices. These acts, whether of resistance, empowerment and/or genuine pleasure on the part of artists and participants alike offer viable alternatives to the standard corporate farms upon which we depend. Green Acres combined an indoor exhibition of historically-significant extant works, including the refabrication of Newton and Helen Harrison's Survival Series (1970 - 1973), with six in situ outdoor sculptures on view during the 2012 growing season, by international artists whose works address farming.
IN THE HOLOCENE: ART AS SPECULATIVE SCIENCE
MIT List Visual Arts Center | Cambridge, MA
This exhibit explored how contemporary art acts as a form of inquiry into the nature of our physical world. Reflecting a developing turn towards objects and away from language, the exhibition proposed how contemporary art contributes to the ongoing development of human knowledge through the insights of the eye and hand. From Joseph Beuy's lemon-powered light bulb, the effects of magnetism in the films of Joao Maria Gusmao & Pedro Paiva, and the subtle change of temperature, sound and scent in the work of Koo Jeong-A, the exhibition showed what contemporary artists reveal about our understanding of the world.
Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art | Winston-Salem, NC
The medium of paper is a fragile vehicle-carrying immense anthropological weight of written thought, but acutely vulnerable to the forces of travel, climate, and time. This endangered status accelerates in an increasingly digitized and environmentally conscious society, where the "paperless economy" is turning said material into antiquity and the abject. Yet even as paper struggles against its extinction, moving into and out of the archives at once, artists around the world are venerating its precarious empire. Paperless celebrated these refugees from of the information age, presenting theatrical elegies to the pariah of so-called "progress."
FEAST: RADICAL HOSPITALITY AND CONTEMPORARY ART
The Smart Museum of Art, University of Chicago | Chicago, IL
Stephanie Smith, director of collections and exhibitions and curator of contemporary art at the Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago, was awarded the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation for Feast: Radical Hospitality and Contemporary Art, which mounted in early 2011. Feast examines contemporary art in which the art of gathering together for a meal becomes a forum for as well as a form of critical aesthetic engagement. The exhibition includes commissions of new public art projects presented outside the museum, as well as a broader art historical survey of artist-orchestrated meals throughout the 20th century. To read Stephanie Smith's curatorial research blog documenting her global travels, meals and research for Feast, please click here.
HOW MANY BILLBOARDS? ART IN STEAD
Kimberli Meyer, Lisa Henry, Nizan Shaked and Gloria Sutton
MAK Center for Art and Architecture | Los Angeles, CA
Kimberli Meyer, director of the MAK Center for Art and Architecture with a team of curators including Lisa Henry, Nizan Shaked and Gloria Sutton was awarded the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation to mount How Many Billboards? in the spring of 2010. The large outdoor exhibition of commissioned billboards highlighted the legacies of California conceptually-oriented art. Dealing explicitly with the intersection of media, public space and conceptual practice in art, the public exhibition emphasized the living history of a major legacy in California of Conceptual Art, and the remarkable range and diversity of the artists it has, and continues, to influence. The artists were commissioned to contribute a new artwork that responded to the specificity of the billboard as media. The show also examined the influences of popular culture on conceptualism, and the synthesis of these movements in California.
MATERIAL WORLD: PAINTING AND SCULPTURE AS ENVIRONMENT
MASS MoCA | North Adams, MA
Susan Cross, a visual arts curator at MASS MoCA, was awarded $135,000 by the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation for Material World: Painting and Sculpture as Environment to be mounted in the spring of 2010. For an exhibition inspired by MASS MoCA's own unique buildings, the museum invited ten artists to create environments that responded to, altered or transformed the existing galleries. Each of the artists worked in a humble material from paper to cardboard to Styrofoam and explored the formal, plastic and spatial potential of their various mediums. Transforming architecture into art and art into architecture, the exhibition was an engaging visual and physical experience that looked at various ways artists are approaching painting and sculpture as environment.
CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts | San Francisco, CA
Against the background of an increasingly professionalized art world, Amateurs was the first major exhibition to survey recent artworks in which amateurism is embraced as a critical aesthetic strategy and a mode of production. Favored by conceptual artists and earlier by modernist vanguards, an aesthetic of amateurism has long served as a means for deflating models of academic and market-driven art. The artists in this exhibition elaborated on this tradition, embracing amateurism as a means for questioning basic assumptions about authorship, expertise, the relationship between artist and audience, and the contingency of cultural values. In all of their work, we also encountered notions of the amateur as someone willing to explore areas that are ignored by more expert practitioners, and whose approach is noteworthy for its willingness to depart from established technical, formal, and conceptual standards. And whereas in the past the amateur was often valued as a figure of purity, amateur culture was celebrated here for its disruptive impurity, its accidental or inappropriate mixing of different genres, aesthetics, and symbolic codes.
ARTE NO ES VIDA: ACTIONS BY ARTISTS OF THE AMERICAS 1960-2000
El Museo del Barrio | New York, NY
Arte No Es Vida examined the vast array of performative actions produced by Caribbean, Latino and Latin American artists over the last half-century. By gathering film, video and photographic documentation; tests, costumes, and props; key artworks intrinsic to significant works; as well as by re-creating select pieces, the exhibit explored both the interconnections of these artists to the canonical Western history of performance art, as well as their different and specific trajectories. Arte No Es Vida (which in Spanish means "Art is not equal to life") contextualized these activities against their particular geo-political and cultural environment. At the same time, overall thematic constellations included: political and social critique; embrace of spirituality, myth, and ritual; and an undercurrent, which questions Latino identity vs. cultural/artistic dominance.
BLACK IS, BLACK AIN'T
The Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago | Chicago, IL
Black Is, Black Ain't built upon the dialogue initiated by exhibitions in the past 15 years that have explored the cultural production of race. Black Is, Black Ain't will register a shift in the rhetoric of race from an earlier emphasis on inclusion, a la multiculturalism, to the current moment where race, just as it is readily acknowledged as a social construct and therefore seemingly capable of being relinquished, is also reified to the extent that one could just as easily speak of a blackness without blacks. The exhibition included black and non-black artists whose works specifically address race with the goal of using the artists to highlight the construction and deconstruction of a racial identity.
REALITY BITES: MAKING AVANT-GARDE ART IN POST-WALL GERMANY
Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum at Washington University | St. Louis, MO
The exhibition brought into focus the interdependence of art and the social, economic, and political worlds since the fall of the Berlin Wall in November of 1989 and the subsequent unification of the two Germanys in October of 1990. Exploring how a new generation of visual artists has dealt, both directly and indirectly, with the effects of unification, Reality Bites was organized around three themes: national identity, globalization and collective trauma. The artworks explored how video, photography, installation, assemblage, paintings, and drawings executed in the first decade of the new Germany mediated as well as contributed to the political, geographical and cultural transformation of the transitional time for the new country.
STREET ART, STREET LIFE
Bronx Museum of the Arts | Bronx, NY
The exhibition examined the street as subject matter, venue and source of inspiration for contemporary artists and photographers from the late 1950s to the present. Through works by more than 30 major and emerging artists, Street Art, Street Life included street photography; documentation of performance, events and artworks presented in the street; works using material from the street; and examples of street culture.
SKIN TIGHT: THE SENSIBILITY OF THE FLESH
Museum of Contemporary Art | Chicago, IL
This show worked to portray art and fashion as two fields that influence and react to one another. The show explored the work of innovative contemporary designers who use clothes to probe the cultural construction of the physical identity, challenging the perception and presentation of the self. The exhibition included garments, shoes, photographs, video, and installations designed by a group of international designers in order to articulate the combined lifestyles of the industrial with the technological and the spatial with the functional.
THE PAST IN REVERSE: CONTEMPORARY ART OF EAST ASIA
San Diego Museum of Art | San Diego, CA
A multifaceted exhibition that showcased artists who combine traditional materials and practices of Asia with contemporary approaches to expressing internal realities such as the poetic states of silence, meditation, nature and the dynamic between presence and absence. The curator selected approximately sixteen artists for the exhibition who were on the cutting edge of their fields in their respective countries, and who utilized modern and traditional technologies to create art.
DOWN THE GARDEN PATH: THE ARTIST'S GARDEN AFTER MODERNISM
Queens Museum of Art | Queens, NY
The exhibit traced the history of contemporary artist gardens while showing how artists use gardens as a vehicle to explore topics such as history, ecology and philosophy. There was a garden installation that consisted of five commissioned artist gardens and as well as a museum exhibition. The museum installation encompassed an international group of artists, who use the garden as a vehicle to comment on global issues, such as: the absence of modernity and failed utopia, death, memory, and myth; and art and science.
Baltimore Museum of Art | Baltimore, MD
This show focused on the ways artists have tried to challenge, subvert, and question the creation of value for art through its production. The exhibit featured commissioned works from performing and visual artists.
ART AND HEALING: RITUAL AND TRANSFORMATION
The Institute of Contemporary Art | Boston, MA
An interactive collaborative exhibit that combined work over the past decade and present day to explore the roles of ritual, narrative, metaphor and movement to promote healing. One component was held at the museum with an exhibit that includes 14 artists working in various visual and performance mediums. A second component was a commissioned performance piece at the Children's Hospital of Boston. The final part was an educational/therapeutic one that placed teens with mental illness in an after-school media program in which their progress was monitored and evaluated.
OUTER AND INNER SPACE: A VIDEO EXHIBITION IN THREE PARTS
Virginia Museum of Fine Arts | Richmond, VA
This exhibit featured three recent video installations displayed in comparison to video art from the past three decades to show the maturity and development of the video art field. The theme of the video installations focused on contrasting the reality of the mind with physical reality. Each of the recent videos was an individualized part of the exhibit and was viewed with 10 single-channel videos from earlier decades.
Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania | Philadelphia, PA
The first U.S. based thematic exhibition that brought together an international group of ten young artists whose work focused on the utilitarian aspects of artwork and the aesthetic aspects of industrially designed products. The pieces in the exhibit ranged from six and nine-foot square throw pillows to billboards to a life-size inhabitable compact self-contained living unit
FAITH: THE IMPACT OF JUDEO-CHRISTIAN RELIGION ON ART AT THE MILLENNIUM
Christian Eckart, Osvaldo Romberg and Harry Philbrick
The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum | Ridgefield, CT
The exhibition, which also incorporated off-site installations at three local churches and a synagogue, explored the ways in which contemporary artists examine and interpret the Jewish and Christian traditions. The works amassed were in a full range of media, and together illustrated the complexity of religious beliefs at the end of the millennium.
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