A Curatorial Residency in New York: Week 3
On Thursday I went to a talk at ICI (Independent Curators International) which explored the development of ‘An Exhibition in 3 Acts: Foreshock, Liminal, Replica‘, led by artist/curator Aline Shkurovich, in conversation with artists Natalia Porter and Alva CalyMayor. It was a great talk and for me, one really interesting distinction Aline made early on in this talk, was her position as an artist. Introduced as a curator, Aline explained how she saw her curatorial practice as an extension of her practice as an artist. I describe this as interesting as I often find myself unsure as to how I should define my practice. More and more I consider myself to be a curator, however some projects I undertake or initiate, including Breakfast Club, are extensions which perhaps don’t quite fit this label. Maybe this doesn’t matter, but it was great to hear Aline commit to saying that she was an artist who explored curatorial practice. Perhaps I work the other way around.
I’m starting here as this week was the week I hosted temporary outposts of Breakfast Club. To work backwards, Breakfast Club began in Cardiff over two years ago, initiated whilst I was artist in residence in the Warp Library, at g39. Breakfast Club began as an informal event for an institution and community to meet, eat together and talk together. Happily, it still takes place most weeks and I have also continued to find breakfast club a useful tool in facilitating informal forums for discussion. On Thursday I hosted an edition of Breakfast Club at Residency Unlimited‘s communal work space in Brooklyn, which we shared with about 50 people and on Saturday Breakfast Club travelled to Flux Factory‘s kitchen, which we shared with about 20 people. I was keen to host these breakfasts as I find the proposition of an open, communal meal to be a dynamic space that has so much potential for conversation, which we might not otherwise encounter. These breakfasts were attended by both artists taking part in residency programmes and artists local to the city, curators, producers and writers. It was a lot of fun and hopefully, the beginnings of something.
Alongside Breakfast Club, this past week I have also been visiting arts organisations which focus on supporting early career artists. As part of my residency with RU I was put in touch with Artists Alliance Inc and CUE Art Foundation. On Wednesday I met with Jodi Waynberg, Executive Director of Artists Alliance, which aims to support and exhibit the work of underrepresented and emerging artists and curators, and invite the public to directly engage with contemporary art. AAI does this though four principle programmes, including their three and six month studio programmes and Cuchifritos Gallery + Project Space, located inside Essex Street Market. It was great to speak with Jodi and our discussion explored ideas on and around curatorial practice, future programming developments within AAI and also the value of a permanent gallery space like Cuchifritos, within a market space connected to the local community of the Lower East Side.
This week has also seen the opening of ‘Propaganda News Machine: Constructing Multiple Realities in the Media‘ curated by The Creative Association of Curators TOK, current Flux Residents. TOK is curatorial collective based in St Petersburg, founded by Anna Bitkina and Maria Veits in 2010 as a platform for conducting interdisciplinary projects in the fields of contemporary art, design and social sciences. I also joined a Flux field trip to Artist Space to visit the exhibition 91020000: Cameron Rowland and on Sunday, I made the trip to Dia:Beacon. I’m a big fan of the day trip and taking the Metro-North train out of the city, along the Hudson River, upstate to Beacon, was so nice. Dia:Beacon presents Dia Art Foundation’s collection from the 1960s to the present, in addition to special exhibitions, and new commissions. To see works by such artists as Dan Flavin, Michael Heizer, Robert Irwin, Fred Sandback and Sol LeWitt, in single-artist, site-related presentations, within galleries designed specifically for the presentation of one artist’s work, was super inspiring.
I’ll be posting my last blog from New York next week, but in the meantime I’ll continue posting photos on Instagram. This residency has been made possible with a grant from Wales Arts International and the Jane Phillips Travel & Research Bursary, administered by Mission Gallery.