A Curatorial Residency in New York: Week 1
One of the best things about being a part of a residency programme like Flux Factory and Residency Unlimited, is that that when you arrive in a city like New York, a city you haven’t been to before full of 8.5 million people, you are welcomed by a community. A really great community.
At Flux there is a changing community of creative collaborators, some from New York, and others, like me, from elsewhere and in the city only temporarily. When I arrived on Monday 1st February, I got to Flux during the weekly meeting, an opportunity for current Fluxers to get together over food and share news, residency updates, exhibition programming and details of events. One upcoming exhibition, which I’m sad to miss but grateful to learn about, is the Fung Wah Biennial co-curated by Flux resident Will Owen. In March 2016 a group of 24 US-based and international artists will create site-specific works for three Chinatown bus routes in the North-Eastern United States. During trips to Boston, Philadelphia, and Baltimore, artists will share performances, projections, sound-works, web-based projects, and other social interventions.
Also new to Flux that Monday was artist Elizabeth Wieser and as we talked about practice, art and the things between, we soon found interesting crossovers in our work. Elli creates site-specific sculptures and architectural interventions, working also with drawing, collage and film to explore relationships between people and the spaces they inhabit. As I am particularly interested in artists working with temporary and mobile architectures, it was a nice coincidence to arrive on the same day. This is one of those other great things about international residency programmes – they pull people together who might otherwise not meet and in that mix of people and practice, you find the potential for conversation, and sometimes collaboration.
On Wednesday I started my residency with RU, meeting all the current Residents over breakfast before beginning studio/laptop visits with RU artists Roman Štětina, Aleksandra Chaushova, Anne Siirtola, Peter Depelchin, Roslisham Ismail (aka Ise) and Elizabeth Zvonar. Formal studio/laptop visits are quite new to me – I felt sort of like a dentist, staying in one room whilst each artist was called forward to share their practice with me. In the role of the curator, I listened and every now and then I hopefully shared something worth hearing. It was a privilege to be a part of these conversations, and I hope to continue a dialogue with several of the artists.
In parallel to studio visits arranged through RU, I’m also beginning to independently arrange studio visits, which is how I came to meet with artist Francis Cape. I emailed Francis last year after coming across his book We Sit Together: Utopian Benches from the Shakers to the Separatists of Zoar, finding it by chance in a bookshop in Oxford. It was so interesting to learn more about Francis’ practice, current thinking and also, the whereabouts of the benches. Alongside all of this, I’ve also of course been out walking, exploring the city and visiting art institutions like MOMA PS1, Sculpture Centre and the Guggenheim. There are so many great shows open at the moment and I was fortunate to just catch the Frank Stella retrospective and Rachel Rose’s new work ‘Everything and More’ at the Whitney. I’ll be posting another blog next week, but in the meantime I’ll keep posting photos on Instagram.