Artist Doug Aitken and MOCA Director Philippe Vergne engage in conversation to launch Doug Aitken: Electric Earth, the artist’s largest survey to date, which opens to the public Sunday, May 28.

For this special presentation, Aitken and Vergne discuss Aitken’s uniquely immersive aesthetic; the work’s relationship to 20th-century avant-garde art, cinema, and experimental music; the nature of creativity in the 21st century; the possibilities for artmaking within our ever-mobile, ever-changing, image-based contemporary world; and other ideas central to the artist and the exhibition. Within this conversational context, Aitken will also introduce the filmic documentation of Underwater Pavilions, his ambitious, large-scale installation produced by Parley for the Oceans and presented in partnership with The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles as well as of his most recent project, Mirage. Mirage is an artwork that distills the recognizable structure of a house into the essence of its form and allows it to reflect, merge with, and disappear into the landscape. 

Many Hats/One Head - The Accidental Curator

Epiphanies happen but do not last. One of the functions of art is to preserve such moments of revelation in order that we may savour and study their many dimensions, as James Joyce demonstrated. The history of art is a fabric of epiphanies woven by many hands; the present tense of art is the outer edge of that work in progress. At any point in the process that edge may be ragged and uneven, and the pattern in formation disturbing and hard to discern, reflecting the difficulty of making art in troubled times. We are living in just such times. Robert Storr, Think with the Senses – Feel with the Mind. Art in the Present Tense, exhibition catalogue for the 52nd Venice Biennale, 2007

Robert Storr is a painter who supported himself by sheetrocking, carpentry, and house painting, along with occasional art writing, when in 1990, with only an MFA in studio art, Storr was picked out of the chorus line by the newly appointed Kirk Varnedoe, Chief Curator of Painting and Sculpture at The Museum of Modern Art in New York, to be a curator in that same department. What followed was an eventful twelve-year run at MoMA, with his tenure ending as Senior Curator. Then there was a stint as the first Rosalie Solow Professor of Modern Art at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, as well as the overall directorship of the 2007 Venice Biennale, making Storr the first and, thus far, only US-born curator chosen for this role in the 112-year-old exhibition. All of this was followed by the deanship of the Yale University School of Art.

Still a professor of painting at Yale, for this Tuesday Evenings presentation Storr talks about learning on the job as a way of life during a period of extraordinarily complex, rapid, and far-flung changes in the "art world" -- now a polycentric, culturally diverse, and ever-morphing economic and politic alternate reality -- as well as the abiding values that draw people to art and into an "art community" primarily inhabited by makers of various kinds.

Robert Storr lives and works in New York. In addition to his posts at The Museum of Modern Art, New York University, Yale University School of Art, and his role as director of the 52nd Venice Biennale, Storr has curated and published catalogues for numerous exhibitions, including monographic shows on Elizabeth Murray, Gerhard Richter, Tony Smith, and Robert Ryman. In April 2016 Storr was awarded the insignia of Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French Ambassador to the US. As a renowned author and critic, he has been a contributing editor at Art in America since 1981 and regularly contributes to exhibition catalogues and art publications such as ArtForum, Frieze, Parkett, Corriere della Sera (Milan), and Art Press. His most recent publication, Intimate Geometries: The Work and Life of Louise Bourgeois, was released on February 15, 2017.

A video recording of this lectures will be available on the Modern's Youtube.

The Meantime: Before Digital, After Analogue
No matter what its imagery has been about—autobiography, ancestry, race, all those things that comprise memory and its inexorable corollary, the passage of time—the art of Annette Lawrence has always been, in some respects, a practice, a concerted making of circles, squares, grids, and spirals. Joel Weinstein, “Mixed-media Artist Has a Line on the Ethereal,” Dallas Morning News, May 27, 2000

Annette Lawrence works with text and information, often in response to physical space and time. Her practice is grounded in autobiography, counting, recording, charting, and layering quiet notations of everyday life. Her subjects of inquiry range from body cycles to ancestor portraits, music lessons, and unsolicited mail. Lawrence’s recent work engages time and accumulation through 25 years of journal-keeping. Her recent graphite drawings are circular grids based on charts made while digitizing handwritten journals. There is a clear sense of the amount of writing over the years, though not so much of what is written. Fueled by personal ambivalence about how much to reveal and how much to withhold, the drawings give a dynamic macro view of the activity of journaling over time while maintaining the inherent privacy of the writing. Notations of the presence or absence of an entry become data visualized in patterns that share resonance with pre-Columbian calendars, celestial charts, woven baskets, tubes, spheres, and discs.

For this Tuesday Evenings presentation, Lawrence reflects on being born toward the end of the analogue age, coming of age as the digital age developed, and maturing in the full-blown digital age as she shares observations concerning how the materiality of the information system that shapes one’s youth informs the ways in which one interacts with new information systems, as well as noting aspects of living in the transition between them.

Annette Lawrence, originally from New York, lives and works in Denton, Texas, where she is Professor of Studio Art in the College of Visual Arts and Design at the University of North Texas. Her work has been widely exhibited and is held in museums and private collections, including the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Dallas Museum of Art; Rachofsky Collection, Dallas; ArtPace, San Antonio; and Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art, Austin, and was included in the 1997 Biennial Exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Lawrence received the 2015 Moss/Chumley Award from the Meadows Museum and the 2009 Otis and Velma Davis Dozier Travel Award from the Dallas Museum of Art.

A video recording of this lectures will be available on the Modern's Youtube.

Life is so much more important than art, but then art’s importance comes when it’s a tool for life—when it makes life more available for us.” Richard Tuttle for Art21, Richard Tuttle: Staying Contemporary, episode #237, July 22, 2016

Richard Tuttle, often identified as a critical figure in the evolution of Conceptual and Minimalist art, has throughout his long and industrious career created a particularly varied body of work that actually eludes historical or stylistic categorization. Tuttle’s conviction to the contemporary, rather than the past or future, makes his every move unpredictable and as such, rejuvenating. It is understandable that his influence, while allusive, has been sought by every generation since his pioneering 1975 solo exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art curated by Marcia Tucker, who later founded the New Museum.

For this Tuesday Evenings presentation, Richard Tuttle discusses new work as seen in a few recent exhibitions, including Richard Tuttle: The Critical Edge at The Met Fifth Avenue; Richard Tuttle: 26 at Pace Gallery; Richard Tuttle at de Hallen Haarlem in the Netherlands; and Richard Tuttle: to The Night Sky of Lima at Museo de Arte de Lima. This new work, like that of the past, reflects the artist’s commitment to materials, his poetic approach to making art, and ultimately his faith in the fragility and beauty of the world.

Richard Tuttle, living and working in Mount Desert, Maine; Abiquiu, New Mexico; and New York, has been the subject of numerous major solo exhibitions, including a major traveling retrospective organized by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in 2005. In 2014, he exhibited in the Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall and, simultaneously, London’s Whitechapel Gallery presented Richard Tuttle: I Don’t Know. The Weave of Textile Language. Tuttle’s work has been featured in renowned international group exhibitions, including several Venice Biennales and Documenta exhibitions. He was the Artist in Residence at the Getty Research Institute in 2012/2013. In 2016 to 2017 he has had the above mentioned solo exhibitions in addition to several group exhibitions from New York to Edinburgh.

 

Places of a Present Past is filled with an archaeological ethic, metaphorically digging down, both spatially and psychologically in the depths of transnational grief. Noah Simblist, Places of a Present Past

Noah Simblist, a curator, writer, and artist, presents “Places of a Present Past: The Historiographical Impulse in Art Practice.” In this context, the artists that Simblist discusses act as historians. However, these artist-as-historians are “less interested in the truth than the way we feel through the legacies of past traumas. They reveal the oblique ways that we repress historical trauma, burying it in the very sites of their origin,” says Simblist. His talk focuses on a publication that he edited, Places of a Present Past, which brings together three exhibitions showcasing the work of video and new media artists working internationally that were presented at SMU’s Pollock Gallery in 2014, curated by Simblist and the Pollock Gallery’s 2014 curatorial fellow, Sally Frater. These exhibitions shared a common theme: addressing the traces of trauma on particular sites and paying close attention to the lasting impacts of war. The exhibitions explored in the publication include Jin-me Yoon’s Extended Temporalities; the group show Where Are You From?, which included artworks by Aissa Deebi, Kamal Aljafari, and Dor Guez recounting the story of the Israeli occupation of Palestine; and the Sarah Morris film 1972.

Noah Simblist is Chair and Associate Professor of Art at SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts. His artwork has been shown internationally; he has curated, co-curated, and co-produced exhibitions and events, including, most recently, New Cities Future Ruins in Dallas in 2016; and he has contributed to Art Journal, Modern Painters, Art Papers, Terremoto, Art Lies, Art Pulse, Art21, and other publications. He has contributed to and edited publications, including Beyond the Aesthetic and the Anti-Aesthetic and Public Servants: Art and the Crisis of the Common Good, and is in the process of editing a volume about Tania Bruguera’s The Francis Effect, a project co-produced by the Guggenheim Museum, the Santa Monica Museum of Art, and SMU.

A video recording of this lectures will be available on the Modern's Youtube.

Being the Opposite

We can discuss Orchard as a possible answer to the question about collective and critical art practice today. Establishing a space for different relations between art and the social is political in my understanding. I am not saying that this is the only way in which the political needs to be enacted, but it is one possibility, and Orchard was a concrete and functioning example. Ulrike Müller, in “An Idea-Driven Social Space,” by Andrea Geyer and Ulrike Müller, Grey Room 35, Spring 2009

Rhea Anastas, an art historian, critic, and curator, is a cofounder of Orchard, a twelve-person artist-run gallery on New York’s Lower East Side. For this Tuesday Evenings presentation, “Being the Opposite,” Anastas introduces the projects of this co-operative gallery, which had a predetermined lifespan (2005–08) and became the embodiment of a certain strain of critical artistic discourse, and she discusses relationships between Orchard’s work and her newest writing.

Rhea Anastas is based in Los Angeles, where she is Associate Professor in the Art Department at the University of California, Irvine. Anastas’s books include Dan Graham: Works 1965–2000, coedited with Marianne Brouwer and published by Richter Verlag, and Witness to Her Art: Art and Writings by Adrian Piper, Mona Hatoum, Cady Noland, Jenny Holzer, Kara Walker, Daniela Rossell and Eau de Cologne, coedited with Michael Brenson and published by Bard College. Her most recent publication, Double Bind, is a book-length dialogue co-written with artist Leigh Ledare. She is editor of a forthcoming book of writings that captures the artist’s voice in dialogues, essays, scripts, statements, and letters by Orchard’s cofounders and the wider community who co-created the exhibitions and public discourse of the gallery.

A video recording of this lectures will be available on the Modern's Youtube.

The most conceptually compelling work of art in the Guggenheim’s But a Storm Is Blowing from Paradise: Contemporary Art of the Middle East and North Africa is also its least visible. Debriefing Session II by Public Movement, a research-driven Israeli collaborative, takes the form of a secret, one-on-one meeting between a Public Movement agent and a participating audience member. Risa Puleo, “A Pair of Performances Exposes the Politics of How Museums Operate,” Hyperallergic, September 28, 2016

Alhena Katsof, Director of Strategy and Protocol for the Israeli performance research group Public Movement, focuses on recent projects with Public Movement, including Debriefing Session II, 2015, and the durational exhibition National Collection, 2015, while touching on other aspects of her work as an independent curator and writer. Reflecting on her collaboration with Dana Yahalomi, Director of Public Movement, Katsof presents a selection of projects that address art and politics in public space. By discussing the ways in which exhibition histories are part of civic choreography, she investigates the relationship between cultural institutions, social ritual, and the nation-state. Drawing on her background within the field of curatorial studies, Katsof examines the participatory nature of politics and, in particular, Public Movement’s recent body of research about Modern art made in Palestine before 1948.

With diverse interests and profound passion as an independent curator, Alhena Katsof has organized exhibitions and performances at White Columns, Andrew Kreps Gallery, Regina Rex, and with Lucie Fontaine. In 2017, she is co-curating the first US-based film commission by the artist duo Pauline Boudry / Renate Lorenz, which will premiere during a solo exhibition at Participant Inc. and travel to the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston. She co-authored the book Solution 263: Double Agent, as part of the Solution Series edited by Ingo Neirmann and published by Sternberg Press (2015), and her writing has appeared in a variety of notable magazines and books, including the upcoming anthology The Artist As Curator, edited by Elena Filipovic and published by Mousse Publishing. In addition to curating and writing, Katsof is a faculty member at the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College.
Photo credit: Public Movement, National Collection, Tel Aviv Museum of Art. Photo by Oz Moalem

A video recording of this lectures will be available on the Modern's Youtube.

Why Does Fred Sandback’s Work Make Me Want to Be Ridiculous?

Sandback was willing to risk his sculptures being nothing at all, and so he was able to create works of art that feel relevant to everything. Adam Lerner on Fred Sandback

Adam Lerner, Director and Chief Animator of the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, opens this Tuesday Evenings season with “Why Does Fred Sandback’s Work Make Me Want to Be Ridiculous?” Believing that institutions can easily lose their connection to the soul of art, Lerner discusses his unconventional approach to keeping the sacred impulse alive. His talk addresses why he brings magicians, go-go dancers, assorted livestock, and other unexpected elements into the walls of the museum alongside serious exhibitions of contemporary art.

Throughout his career, Lerner has curated numerous exhibitions and projects with contemporary artists, such as Barnaby Furnas, Liam Gillick, and Christian Marclay, as well as showcasing the nontraditional talents of astrobiologists, shamans, and pigeoneers, among others. In her 2012 New York Times article “Puppies, Paintings and Philosophers,” Carol Kino states that Lerner’s work to engage audiences is “reshaping what has become a stale model for a contemporary art museum.” Included in Lerner’s many projects is the exhibition Fred Sandback, co-curated with Nora Burnett Abrams at the MCA Denver, which becomes a point of reference for this Tuesday Evenings presentation.

A video recording of this lectures will be available on the Modern's Youtube.

Since the beginning of her career in the mid-1980s, Lorna Simpson has been well known for her conceptual photographs and videos that challenge historical and preconceived views of racial and sexual identity. The artist will speak on the occasion of FOCUS: Lorna Simpson, the first museum exhibition to feature the artist’s large-scale acrylic, ink, and silkscreened paintings.

A video recording of this lectures will be available on the Modern's Youtube.

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