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Art Criticism and the Pandemic

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Paul Mellon Centre

16 Bedford Square

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WC1B 3JA

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This set of events is organised in collaboration with Chris McCormack (Associate Editor) at Art Monthly, the UK’s leading magazine of contemporary visual art. It brings together a range of art critics to discuss the implications of current conditions for their work and the broader field of art criticism. Two live research -lunch events across two -days will consider how the structures of a globalised art world have been interrupted or changed in 2020 and whether, in the context of renewed activism, the art world is addressing problems of inequity and injustice in its own order.

The events will include contributions by speakers and panel discussion, in addition to questions from attendees.

Session 1: Resetting the Global Thursday 9th July, 12.00-14.00 (GMTBST)

Several months into a devastating pandemic, the globalised art world has been grounded and changed. Exhibition models and curatorial pursuits including the ‘Bblockbuster’, the Bbiennial and the art fair, are left in limbo. Are the restricted conditions of movement for many in the western world fostering alternative forms of practice, display and exchange? This event aims to glimpse possibilities for renewal beyond existing globalised systems. It will look for signs of a decolonial art world. Speakers will address a wide-ranging set of issues and raise questions of ecological imperative, use of technology and the new status of art, for consideration and discussion.

Speakers include (listed alphabetically):

Khairani Barokka (Researcher-in-Residence and Research Fellow at UAL's Decolonising Arts Institute), ‘ Resetting" Extraction and Ableist, Colonial Pandemic Manifestations’

David Dibosa (Reader in Museology, University of the Arts London), 'In the Crosswinds of Crisis'

Bárbara Rodríguez Muñoz (Curator and Wwriter), The Land of Healing’

Speaker Biographies:

Khairani Barokka is an Indonesian writer, artist, and translator in London, whose work has been presented extensively, in fifteen countries. She was Modern Poetry in Translation’s Inaugural Poet-In-Residence, and is Researcher-in-Residence and Research Fellow at UAL's Decolonising Arts Institute. Among Okka’s honours, she was an NYU Tisch Departmental Fellow and a UNFPA Indonesian Young Leader Driving Social Change for arts practice and research. Okka is co-editor of Stairs and Whispers: D/deaf and Disabled Poets Write Back (Nine Arches), author-illustrator of Indigenous Species (Tilted Axis; Vietnamese translation published by AJAR Press), and author of debut poetry collection Rope (Nine Arches Press). Among recent exhibitions were Annah: Nomenclature (ICA) and Selected Annahs (SALTS Basel; Artforum Must-See).

David Dibosa is co-author of Post-Critical Museology: Theory and Practice in the Art Museum (Routledge). He trained as a curator, after receiving his first degree from Girton College, Cambridge. He was awarded his PhD in Art History from Goldsmiths College, University of London. He is currently Reader in Museology at University of the Arts London, where he leads the MA in Curating and Collections.

David is a Trustee of the Whitechapel Art Gallery and a Member of Advisory Boards for Tate Britain and the Paul Mellon Centre.

David’s television appearances include BBC 1’s Big Painting Challenge, in which he was a judge. He is also currently a presenter for Art on the BBC, showing on BBC 4.

Bárbara Rodríguez Muñoz is Exhibitions Curator at Wellcome Collection and Guest Editor for the forthcoming Documents of Contemporary Art: HEALTH (Co-published by The MIT Press / Whitechapel Gallery, September 2020). Her exhibitions include ‘This is a Voice’ (2016), ‘Bedlam’ (co-curated with Mike Jay, 2017), ‘Ayurvedic Man’ and ‘Jo Spence and Oreet Ashery: Misbehaving Bodies’ (co-curated with George Vasey, 2019–20). She has written for Afterall, Concreta, Les Laboratoires d’Aubervilliers, MARG and Mousse Publishing.

Session 2: Whose Body? Friday 10th July, 12.00–-14.00 (GMTBST)

We are witness to how structural inequity has exacerbated the effects of the pandemic including for people in poverty, for keyworkers, for women and for non-white people. Using the frame of the art world, this event queries whose body is cared for and whose is ignored? It will turn to the current visibility of long-term racial injustices and the momentum of the Black Lives Matter movement. It will ask how art practice and writing can foster care and healing, renewal and health in the light of the pandemic.

Speakers include (listed alphabetically):

Larne Abse-Gogarty (Lecturer, History and Theory of Art, the Slade School of Fine Art), Figures / Bodies / Painting’

Juliet Jacques (Writer/Filmmaker), ‘Bodies That Matter?’

Robert McRuer (Professor of English, George Washington University), ‘Disability Art on Lockdown’

Neo Sinoxolo Musangi (Independent Queer Feminist) Regarding Black Insistence’

Marina Vishmidt (Lecturer, Goldsmiths, University of London), Producing the Vulnerable Body in a Biopolitical Crisis’

Speaker Biographies:

Larne Abse Gogarty is a Lecturer in History and Theory of Art at the Slade School of Fine Art, University College London. Previous to this, she was the Terra Foundation for American Art Postdoctoral Fellow at the Institut für Kunst- und Bildgeschichte Humboldt Universität zu Berlin. She recently completed her first book, entitled Usable Pasts: Social Practice and State Formation in American Art, forthcoming with the Historical Materialism book series. She has also begun a second book, forthcoming with Sternberg Press, which will be a collection of essays on contemporary art and politics. Larne regularly writes criticism for Art Monthly and has recently published essays in Third Text, and the Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte.

Juliet Jacques is a writer and filmmaker based in London. She has published two books, most recently Trans: A Memoir (Verso, 2015), which was runner-up in the Polari First LGBT Book Award in 2016. Her short fiction and essays have been included in several anthologies, and her journalism and criticism has been published in Granta, Sight & Sound, Frieze, tThe Guardian, tThe London Review of Books and many other places. She has made two short films: Approach/Withdraw (2016) with artist Ker Wallwork, and You Will Be Free (2017), both of which have screened in galleries and festivals across Europe. In summer 2018, she was Artist in Residence at the Izolyatsia cultural platform in Kyiv. She hosts the political arts podcast Suite (212), and teaches at the Royal College of Art and elsewhere.

Robert McRuer is Professor of English at George Washington University, where he teaches disability studies, queer theory, and critical theory more generally. He is the author, most recently of Crip Times: Disability, Globalization, and Resistance (NYU, 2018), which focuses on the UK and examines the ways in which disability is an undertheorized component of a global austerity politics. He is also the author of Crip Theory: Cultural Signs of Queerness and Disability (NYU, 2006), as well as numerous other books and articles. With Anna Mollow, he is co-editor of Sex and Disability (Duke, 2012), and with David Bolt, the general co-editor of the six-volume series A Cultural History of Disability (Bloomsury, 2020), which includes volumes from antiquity to the modern age.

Neo Sinoxolo Musangi is an independent queer feminist whose work-life is in art, academia and creative writing.

Between 2013 and early 2017, Neo was the Humanities Research Fellow at the British Institute in Eastern Africa (BIEA), Kenya. Before then, Neo had quit a Doctoral Fellowship at the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research (WISER) at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. They now work as a maker of things- who writes about art when they cannot make it. They also double up as a part-time lecturer in Gender Studies at St. Lawrence University, Kenya Program and is currently working on a collection of essays titled, Public Sex: Failure and Postcolonial Mediocrity in the Biographical Archive.

Neo lives in Kajiado, Kenya with their three Maasai Shepherd Ddog-children: Kabelo, Rotimi and Lerato.

Marina Vishmidt is a writer, editor and educator. Her work has appeared in South Atlantic Quarterly, Ephemera, Afterall, Journal of Cultural Economy, Australian Feminist Studies, and Radical Philosophy, among others, as well as a number of edited volumes. She is the co-author of Reproducing Autonomy (with Kerstin Stakemeier) (Mute, 2016), and the author of Speculation as a Mode of Production: Forms of Value Subjectivity in Art and Capital (Brill 2018 / Haymarket 2019). She is one of the organisers of the Centre for Philosophy and Critical Thought at Goldsmiths, a member of the Marxism in Culture collective and is on the board of the New Perspectives on the Critical Theory of Society series (Bloomsbury Academic). She publishes and participates in academic and non-academic contexts, on topics related to the political economies of art and labour, social reproduction, and philosophy.

Co-organiser:

Chris McCormack is a writer and associate editor of Art Monthly and programmer of ‘The Producers’, a series of talks in collaboration with the magazine and Newcastle University. He was commissioning editor of ON&BY Andy Warhol (MIT/Whitechapel), project editor of Talking Art 2 (Ridinghouse) and has contributed numerous essays and texts for catalogues, including James Richards’s Requests and Antisongs, Richard Healy’s Lubricants and Literature, the MIT/Whitechapel anthology Moving Image and HOME’s Transactions of Desire. His research into vocal development was published as part of James Richards’s Welsh Pavilion in Venice, Voce di testa, he also curated the exhibition and edited the book Anarchic sSexual dDesires of pPlain uUnmarried sSchoolteachers.

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16 Bedford Square

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WC1B 3JA

United Kingdom

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