What Should Art Institutions Do Now?
Monday, December 3, 2018
6 to 8pm
Can an art institution go from being an object of critique to a site for organizing? How can art institutions be better? In celebration of Paper Monument’s new group-authored publication, As Radical, As Mother, As Salad, As Shelter: What Should Art Institutions Do Now?, curators Regine Basha, Larissa Harris, and Kemi Ilesanmi discussed the shifting politics of contemporary art institutions. The conversation was moderated by Paper Monument co-editor Roger White.
Since the 1990s, Regine Basha has curated for contemporary art institutions and independently produced projects for private and public spaces, nationally and internationally. Her exhibitions, public projects, essays, and consulting work is chronicled on bashaprojects.com. Basha’s inventive approach often has her working closely with artists to consider the very specific context and format for the development of new work. This has taken the form of dinner projects with Michael Rakowitz, sound installations in public spaces, a massive exhibition in a heritage building in the Bronx, and episodic radio shows. Most recently, she was part of the curatorial team to organize the commemoration of the fiftieth anniversary of Billy Kluver and Robert Rauschenberg’s 9 evenings, held at Fridman Gallery, New York. Basha is a graduate of the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College. She sits on the board of Art Matters and on the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Artist-in-Residence program. Basha is also producer of the online archive Tuning Baghdad. She is currently the Residency Director of Pioneer Works.
Larissa Harris is a Curator at the Queens Museum, where she has organized such exhibitions as Red Lines Housing Crisis Learning Center with Damon Rich and the Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP) (2009); The Curse of Bigness (2010); the first US museum show of Sung Hwan Kim (2011); a new work with Pedro Reyes, The People’s United Nations (pUN) (2013); and a thirty-year retrospective of performance group Los Angeles Poverty Department (LAPD) (2014). She co-organized 13 Most Wanted Men: Andy Warhol and the 1964 World’s Fair with Nicholas Chambers at the Andy Warhol Museum, which opened at QM on the fiftieth anniversary of the Fair. With critic Patti Phillips, she organized the first survey of the work of Mierle Laderman Ukeles (2016). Currently, with the help of a research grant from the Warhol Foundation, she’s working on an exhibition on the intersection of artists and real estate with critic Chloe Wyma for Fall 2019. In addition, she helped initiate an artist residency in Corona, Queens whose first long-term resident was Tania Bruguera. Harris also oversees the studio program at the Queens Museum, which provides studios and a biannual exhibition to eight international artists, and produces exhibitions at QM with guest curators, ranging from a show about the Ramones (2015) to Never Built New York, which surveyed 150 years of unbuilt urban plans (2017).
Kemi Ilesanmi is the Executive Director of the Laundromat Project, which brings art, artists, and arts programming into everyday spaces to amplify the creativity that already exists within communities. With nearly two decades experience in the cultural arena, she is inspired by the immense possibilities for joy and justice at the intersection of arts and community. Prior to joining the LP, she was Director of Grants and Services at Creative Capital Foundation, where she supported the work of American artists making adventurous new work. From 1998–2004, she was Visual Arts Curator at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. While there, she organized several exhibitions, including The Squared Circle: Boxing in Contemporary Art, and ran the museum’s visual arts residency program. In 2015, she was appointed by the Mayor of New York City to the Cultural Affairs Advisory Commission, and in 2017, she was honored by the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She also serves on the boards of the Joan Mitchell Foundation, the Broad Room, and Naturally Occurring Cultural Districts New York (NOCD-NY). She is a graduate of Smith College, New York University, and Coro Leadership New York.
Roger White is a painter, writer, and the co-editor of Paper Monument. His work is represented by the Rachel Uffner Gallery in New York and Grice Bench in Los Angeles. He is the author of The Contemporaries (Bloomsbury, 2015), and his writing on art has appeared in n+1, ArtReview, the New York Times Book Review, and The Brooklyn Rail.
Paper Monument is a non-profit art press intent on presenting smart, serious writing that is accessible to a wide audience. Based in Brooklyn, NY, Paper Monument is published by the n+1 Foundation and designed by Wkshps.